by Desiree Villena
Ways to “manifest your dream life” can be found all over the internet, but there’s definitely some truth to the idea that clearly defining your goals will help you get out and achieve them. For writers, journaling can also be a great way to keep track of ideas or deadlines, which can prove crucial in the journey to self-publishing or getting a book deal!
Perhaps even more crucially, we writers all face the dreaded prospect of writer’s block every now and then. Luckily, there are a whole host of ways journaling can be used to boost creativity and help you finish that manuscript you may or may not have been avoiding for a little too long. Without further ado, here are five reasons to take up journaling as a creative writer!
1. To stay organized
First and foremost, you can use your journal to make to-do lists. This way you won’t have to store them in your head, which can help preserve brainpower for creative writing projects. It might sound silly, but you’ll be amazed how much more productive you can be when you’re not worrying about logistical issues and can focus on “deeper” work!
Journaling, and bullet journaling specifically, can be used to keep track of your deadlines, ideas, and upcoming tasks. Once this becomes second nature, you’ll find yourself worrying much less about what’s coming up next or what you might have missed — leaving more energy to stay focused on the present and actually writing your book.
2. To put yourself in the best headspace
Journaling can be viewed as a form of meditation and has been proven to provide great mental health benefits, ranging from a better mood to an improved memory. It’s just one of many ways to take care of yourself when you’re under any kind of stress or pressure, which is often the case when writing a book. Doing what you can to take care of your mind and body will put you in a good mental space for writing, helping you unlock your creativity.
Testing other habits around your journaling can also help you find the best conditions for you to write in. You might explore whether you prefer writing in the morning or the evening, or if you like cozying up on your own couch vs. using a coffee shop as a designated workspace. Trying these first with your journaling practice will make it smooth sailing when you want to get into the right headspace for any of your other creative writing projects.
3. To make writing a consistent practice
Journaling daily will automatically make writing a consistent practice, which in turn will help you write faster and to a higher standard. In the short term, setting the intention of writing every day should provide a motivation boost and get those creative juices flowing. In the longer term, a consistent writing practice will help you refine your voice and create a style that is unique to you. Once you’ve established this, you’ll find it much easier to get into your writing zone.
It’ll also help you get used to writing with complete freedom and without censoring yourself, allowing you to explore any thoughts or feelings that may arise. This is vital to escaping writer’s block, as you’ll feel more comfortable writing about any ideas you have rather than filtering out the ones that don’t feel “good enough” at first glance.
4. To define your goals and make decisions
If you’ve reached a stage where you’re looking to publish your book, journaling can allow you to work through all of the decisions you’ll be making. Defining your big-picture goals in your journal, as mentioned, can help you actualize them.
Or, to back up a little bit, you can use your journal to gather your thoughts on your story itself. This may be especially useful if you’re neck-deep in your plot but aren’t sure what should happen next, or what the ending should be! You can use your journal to explore various paths and figure out what would work best for the story you’re trying to tell. And if you get a little lost while writing, you’ll have this handy roadmap to help get yourself back on track.
5. To have a little fun!
Though journaling is great for staying organized and building good habits, don’t forget to also use it as a space for inspiration and experimentation! For example, if you’re writing a children’s book, you might read some of the best children’s books that are already out there and track your opinions. What did you like? What didn’t work so well? What would you like to implement in your own work?
Remember, journaling doesn’t have to take the stereotypical style of long-form daily diary entries, like those of Anne Frank or Samuel Pepys. You could use writing prompts or write gratitude lists, or even draw doodles to illustrate your day. You could even try out new styles of writing with no external pressure — give poetry a go, or try and write some of your dialogue like a screenplay! If it helps, you can think of your journal as a book of rough drafts. Write in the ways you’ve been scared to try out before; no one else will see it if you don’t want to share it!
Has loneliness due to the Covid crisis interfered with your life? Do you feel you don’t talk to people anymore or they don’t talk to you? Try journaling to help combat your loneliness. It really doesn’t matter what your issue is; if you want to overcome it, you can find a way to use journaling to help. You can set up a particular type of journal like a gratitude journal to help yourself become more thankful for what you do have, and you can also keep a bullet journal and set goals to overcome the loneliness you’re experiencing if more social connections will do it. The possibilities are truly endless.
Let’s look in more detail at how journaling can help combat loneliness.
Allows You to Explore Your Thoughts and Feelings
Journaling can help to simply focus on writing expressively your thoughts and feelings surrounding the loneliness that you are feeling. If you can write about each part of your feelings, and when you first noticed them, you may identify the core cause of the feelings. When you do that, you can develop a plan to solve the problem.
Gives You a Way to Express Your Thoughts and Feelings
Writing is a time-honored way of expressing thoughts and feelings safely. You never have to let anyone read it. You can write it down in the form of letters to people, or to yourself, or even to someone you don’t know that you keep for yourself when you’re done but completed to get it out in the light to study by you.
Provides a Way to Understand Your Thoughts and Feelings
Sometimes you may not even know what you are feeling. It can be hard to understand and express what we feel even to ourselves. But when you focus on writing it down, it can help you understand everything in a new way from a new direction that you may not have considered.
Helps Foster Social Connections
It might seem like a strange notion to consider, but writing can even help you foster social connections. The main reason is that as you read through what you’ve written, you’re going to discover ways to overcome your situation to find the healthy social connections you need.
Helps You See the Big Picture More Easily
Looking back at the things you’ve written over time about any topic can provide insight into the situation that you never saw coming. That’s because having the journal to look back on provides a way to see the bigger picture. You may feel super-lonely today, but it’s still less than yesterday, which lets you know it’s going to get even better from here.
Provides a Means to Understand and Organize Your Thoughts
Writing things down, especially when you choose a particular method like the bullet journal, will help you get your thoughts down in an organized and useful way. When your thoughts are a jumble, you might not see the real point but when they’re organized, it makes all the difference. For example, in writing it all down, you may realize that your loneliness is really due to being with the wrong partner who does not value you.
You’ll Sharpen Your Observation Skills
Once you start writing regularly and it’s become a habit, something amazing will happen. Your observation skills will be sharper, and you’ll have an easier time coming up with descriptive and expressive words to use in your journal. This is going to lead to even more breakthroughs due to having more clarity.
Focuses Your Gratitude Skills
Something funny happens when writing in a journal, even if it’s not specifically a gratitude journal per se. What happens is that as you’re writing (even if you’re upset), you’ll become calmer – especially when you read it back. You’ll become grateful for what you do have that is positive in your life, even if it’s simply the ability to breathe in and out today.
If you want to combat loneliness, consider writing about and exploring why you feel lonely. You also should remember to read the definition of “loneliness” to ensure that this is what you are really experiencing. No one ever needs to be lonely, even when they are alone, if they know how to work through their thoughts and feelings. Journaling can help with that.
Try some of these writing prompts from this site: https://wanderersway.com/blogs/wanderers-way/10-powerful-journaling-prompts-for-loneliness
If you missed any part of this 7 article series on this blog it starts with number one: https://katherineesoto-author.com/index.php/2021/05/11/how-to-get-started-writing-a-journal-part-1-in-a-series/
Author Interview with Katherine E. Soto Author: Jordan P. Barnes
1. What is the first book that made you cry? Where the Red Fern Grows.
2. What is your writing Kryptonite? As a newer author, I am keenly aware that I need to read more, though this is not to be confused with me not being well read. I grew up in a family of avid readers, with a vast library at my disposal that my father had assimilated over a twenty-plus year career traveling the world in the Navy. As a child, my brothers and I could always stay up past our bedtime, but only if we were reading, and I read constantly throughout high school and college. My reading picked up more when I was homeless because it was the only entertainment I could afford. However, as life has picked up, and with our new baby Logan here, it is hard to set aside the time needed to read, especially when I am writing. I squeeze in reading when I can, and am grateful for audiobooks, but know that I can do better.
3. Who is one author you are friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? Glen Dahlgren, author of The Child of Chaos! Glen and I found each other via social media as we both self-published our debut books within months of each other. Beyond our friendship, I have turned to Glen to bounce ideas off of him, and we exchange ideas, successes and failures in an effort to constantly improve our craft and sales. I look up to Glen and his writing style, and though we write in very different genres, have found his input to be invaluable.
4. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? “Jordan, you have a predisposition to addictive tendencies that will induce a world of hurt upon you if left unchecked. Get help for your binge drinking, tell your brother Jonathan he will die at age 36 from alcoholism is things continue, and stay away drugs.”
5. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? After publishing One Hit Away, I found myself motivated me to write with vigor and purpose. The response was more rewarding than I could have hoped for, and when I realized how far and wide a message of hope can travel, I made the life-changing decision to quit my day job and pursue my dream of writing full time. I finally understand what it means to love what you do.
6. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? If you have not made any money, dream about it? I went through a couple of editors before I finally found Jessey Mills, and we connected in a way that went beyond the standard professional relationship between writer + editor. Not only did I receive critical developmental, line and copy editing services one would expect, but Jessey taught me a ton about craft and technique. I found my voice working with him, and believe that it was only as a team that One Hit Away won the 2020s Best Book of the Year Award from Indies Today.
7. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? In Hawai`i, it is customary for each family to have an Amakua, or Family Protector. It could be a Gecko (Mo`o) or type of Bird (`Iwa). Our Amakua is the Octopus (Tako), which is fitting because they are adaptable, able to squeeze out of tough situations and can hide in the smallest of crevices.
8. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Currently, I have a serialized book titled 12 RULES TO DIE BY: A HEROIN ADDICT’S TAKE ON LIFE IN LONG-TERM RECOVERY that will be available only on Kindle Vella, however I intend to add more episodes to increase the “rules” to twenty-five. I am also 90% complete with my current WIP BRIDGETOWN, which is a novel based in a syringe exchange in Portland, OR. The plot follows a team of Harm Reduction advocates as they scramble to save lives during a mass-overdose event, and I can’t wait to drop it.
9. Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction? A lot of craft books (King’s ON WRITING, Brody’s SAVE THE CAT!) have made me realize there is a meaning to the madness, so through studying the design and execution of story, I dissect plot points, pacing, story arcs and character developments when reading. (Side note: The thing is, I never aspired to be a writer—I just felt like I had a story to tell. I actually failed English in High School which hopefully goes to show that passion and motivation can take anyone where they want to be.) Back to the craft books. The thing is, they tend to sap a bit of magic from the experience, but as an author who is committed to being successful at making writing my full-time career, I do what I can to learn from the greats, take what I can and leave the rest.
10. How do you select the names of your characters? For my memoir, I was fortunate enough that nearly every character in my book signed a legal “permission to use name and likeness release” form. Because all but one individual allowed me to use their name, there wasn’t much room for interpretation. As for my current WIP, tentatively titled BRIDGETOWN, I had the pleasure of choosing names as I saw fit. A few just rolled off the tongue, while other characters were named after friends. Then, as a token of my appreciation, I allowed some contributors to my book the option to name a character as they saw fit. I felt like it was the least I could do since so many industry professionals were freely giving of their time and expertise.
11. What is your favorite childhood book? Easiest question ever . . . Treasure Island!
At the age of 24, Jordan Barnes woke up next to a lifeless body, rifled through his dead friend’s pockets for any remaining heroin and went right back to using. Strung out and homeless during the supposed best years of his life, there was no clear way out of the Opioid Crisis ravaging the streets of Portland, Oregon. But though Jordan had long accepted his fate, his parents still held out hope, and would do everything in their power to get him the help he so desperately needed. After a harrowing journey that proves the life of an addict will always get worse, never better, Jordan found himself at the gates of Sand Island, Hawaii’s most notorious two-year inpatient treatment facility. He soon discovers that though his heart was in the right place, the hardest battle of his life was yet to come. One Hit Away is his arduous and unlikely true story of recovery, rehabilitation and redemption
Jordan P. Barnes is a grateful alcoholic & addict in recovery and Sand Island Treatment Center is his home group. When he’s not sharing his experience, strength and hope through writing or talking story, he enjoys bodysurfing and gardening. Jordan resides in beautiful Kailua, Hawaiʻi with his lovely wife Chelsea and son Logan. He has been sober from all mind-and-mood-altering substances since August 29th, 2011. Jordan is an B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree, and his debut book, One Hit Away: A Memoir of Recovery, won 2020s “Best Book of the Year” award from www.IndiesToday.com and was a finalist in the 15th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.
A Word Cloud for Fun
Article 6 in Series.
This article is a self help article and is no way medical advice.
Keeping any type of journal will help with improving any mental health issues. However, if you really want to tackle a specific problem you’re having, it will help to determine the right type of journal to keep. Keeping a particular kind of journal may work best for your issue.
* Boosts Your Mood – If you really want to boost your mood, keeping a gratitude journal is where it’s at. All you have to do is once a day, preferably before bed, write down what you’re grateful for today. It might not seem like much but it’s very powerful for going to sleep, thinking positively about your life.
* Increases Your Sense of Well-Being – As you write out your thoughts, you’ll start seeing issues from a new angle just because you’re opening your mind to think about it. This is going to make you feel more capable of dealing with whatever happens.
* Lessens Symptoms of Depression – Understand that depression is something different from sadness, and that you likely need a counselor. Writing it all down can make it seem less horrific so that you can feel better. Plus, you can look back at days you thought life was “over” and see better days after.
* Reduces Anxiety – The problem with anxiety is that it was designed to help us get away from immediate danger. It triggers the “fight or flight” response. If each time you have that anxious feeling you choose to write in your journal how you are feeling and why, you’ll start to control it better.
* Lowers Avoidance Behaviors – Many people who have mental health issues practice avoidance behaviors such as not going to places that cause them anxiety, or not doing the things they need to do due to how they feel. When you write it out, it helps you get the feelings out but do the thing anyway.
* You’ll Sleep Better – Pouring your heart out into a journal is a great way to get things off your chest. However, for sleep, go to the gratitude journal and write down what you’re thankful for today and go to sleep thinking of that.
* Makes You a Kinder Person – Exploring your own emotional state and accepting your own feelings while you work through what makes you who you are in your journal is going to make you naturally more empathetic to others too. Letting go of judgment for self improves your thoughts for others also.
* Improves Your Memory – This is almost a situation where you want to say “duh” but it has to be said. Writing down things helps you remember them because you can go back and read it, but also because the act of writing something down enables you to recall it.
One thing that can really help you make your journaling work is to learn how to keep one effectively. Make some journaling rules, do it every day to create a habit, and keep it private unless you decide to let your therapist see it or you decide to use it to help others. This is for you and only you for the most part.
Article 5 in a series
Any type of journal that you keep can be beneficial. It doesn’t matter if it’s just to document your life or to work through problems – you can use a journal to do it all. From tracking your projects to documenting vacation to overcoming anxiety, a journal will work for you if you pick the right type and make journaling a ritual.
* Find the Right Medium for You – For some people, that’s pen and paper. Many experts claim that’s the best way because of its simplicity. However, you have to do what works for you, and what works for you is what you will do daily. If you make it too hard, you won’t do it.
* Turn Journaling Daily into a Habit – To be most effective, journaling must go on for a long time. It’s a long-term strategy to improve your life and not something that is going to have any effect overnight. For this reason, ritualize your journaling so that it becomes a daily habit.
* Set Up a Comfy Journaling Spot – Find a good space you can journal in each day, one which is relaxing and without stress. Some people like to keep their journal by their bedside so that each night when they get into bed, they can quickly write in their journals.
* Choose the Right Style of Journal for Your Needs – The type of journal you want to keep depends on how you plan to use it. You may want to track a project, in which case you’ll need a project journal. If you want to simply document your life, you’d want a classic journal.
* Use Your Journal to Work Through Life and Reach Goals – Don’t just write in the journal; actively seek to improve something in your life – whether it’s the thoughts which drive your feelings or improving your actions so that you experience more success.
* Consider Using More Than Writing to Document Your Life – You don’t need to just use text. You can use images, pictures, tickets, and other memories inside your journal too. Sometimes a few pictures and mementos mean more than anything you can write to help you remember.
* Read and Reflect Occasionally – Take at least a few minutes to re-read parts of your journal. Once you’ve kept it for a year, it’s fun to go back and read the same day from last year to find out what’s different now and what’s the same and why.
* Keep Your Journal Secure – You don’t want to worry about anyone getting into your private business when you’re not around, so keep it hidden. If it’s on your computer, keep it password protected.
If you know why you want to journal, it’ll be easier to figure out which type of journal you need to keep to make your journaling more effective. Sometimes you just want to document your life, while other times you want to work through something difficult. It really depends on your goals and the point of the journal.
Part 4 in a series of articles
Journaling can help you achieve your goals because it will force you to think about them, consider the why and how, and delve deeper into the situation so that you can examine all sides of it. Read on to find out how journaling can help.
* It Forces You to Write Down Your Goals – When you start a journal, it basically is a way to force yourself to document your goals. Whether you write them down on paper or you use technology to get it all down doesn’t matter. Once they’re written, they are ready to tackle.
* It Makes You Consider Why and How – As you enter data into your journal, you’ll be forced to face the why and how of your goal. This is especially true if you write down a goal and focus on it in your journal.
* It Enables You to Examine the Opportunities and Threats – When you are focused on goal making with your journal, you’ll also explore opportunities and threats coming your way due to your goals. It helps you avoid roadblocks in advance.
* It Makes You Develop Steps for Success Based on Your Goals – When you see it written down, you’ll want to notice and pull out any steps you’ve developed in your journal and put them in your calendar for scheduling.
* It Helps You Improve Goal Setting and Achievement – Each time you intentionally set goals, define steps to achieve the goals, and perform them, you are setting yourself up for being able to improve your skills.
* It Provides Accountability – Even if no one else is reading your journal, a private journal can help you become accountable to yourself. If you develop the habit of looking at your journal each day and put something else in there each day, it’ll work great for helping you become more accountable.
* It Provides a Permanent Record – Having a permanent record of the things you’ve done in your life, whether it’s personal or work, is a beautiful thing. Hardly anyone has a perfect memory, so you’ll maintain the lessons learned better with the record to look back at.
* It May Be Inspirational – Depending on the journal, you might even be able to take the information inside and compile it into a real book for others to read to inspire them. You might also take from it steps for your success for a project and turn it into a course to inspire someone else.
Journaling is an excellent way to work toward achieving all your goals. It will even help you make better goals because the process of entering facts in your journal will cause you to see them in a more logical way that is more useful.
Jotham Austin’s, II Interview
- What is the first book that made you cry? I don’t remember crying while reading a book. But I have been emotional after reading a book. The book that comes to mind is Mira Grant’s (Seanan McGuire) “Feed”. No spoilers but I was so upset at what happened to a character (darlings were killed) that I refused to read the rest of the trilogy right away. I did eventually finish the trilogy and Seanan is a wonderful writer.
- What is your writing Kryptonite? I don’t think I have a writing Kryptonite. Maybe that’s my Kryptonite. LOL
- Who is one author are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I’d say a group of friends, The Highland Writers Group. We meet every Saturday to read and critique each other’s work. Also, support and motivation to keep writing.
- If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? If I could go back to when I moved to Boulder, CO in 2001, I’d have told myself to make time to keep writing. Focusing on my career and family I stopped writing for almost 9 years. I didn’t get started writing again until my life was slowed down after tearing my Achilles Tendon in 2010.
- How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? I think the process of going through multiple rounds of editing and working with the editors to keep chiseling the rough edges into fine polished details, have made me a better writer. Also, as I write I think more about the marketing side. Writing the Synopsis, Pitches, Audience, Newsletter, Mailing lists, Etc.
- What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? If you have not made any money, dream about it? The best money I spent was a developmental edit and line edit from a professional editor before signing with my publisher. It was like taking a refresher English class and being reminded of how the Oxford Comma, EM dashes, etc works. LOL. I probably will not do this for every book, but it was helpful as I shook the rust off. Second best money is going to a writer’s conference and networking—I look forward to post COVID and going to more.
- As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? I have always loved turtles and elephants. Both are thoughtful and patient in their actions.
- How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? I have 3 unpublished books—the first novel I ever wrote and is locked away, “Pretty Small Things”. I have a WIP,” Wake me Slowly From This”, I was working on edits when the pandemic hit, and since this is a post-pandemic sci-fi novel, I couldn’t work on it mentally. And the third novel is The Cost of Us, a cyberpunk techno-thriller, and it’s almost at the stage of querying. Unfinished novels would be a dozen or so, and they range between a synopsis/outline and 30k words.
- Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction? I think discovering Octavia Butler showed me that there was a place for a black science fiction writer in the genre.
- How do you select the names of your characters? I select names by googling baby names a lot. I try to avoid using names of friends, but it happens (in my romance novella and debut novel I realized minor characters were unintentionally named after good friends). Also, I love names that can be used for a male or female character or have unique spellings.
- What is your favorite childhood book? Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends”
Jotham Austin, II lives in Chicagoland with his wife and two sons. He has his PhD in Botany, and can be found taking electron micrographs of cells at The University of Chicago. When Jotham is not in the lab or writing, he splits his free time between gardening, woodworking, and home-brewing.
What if you had the memories of 110 people stuffed into your brain? How would you know who you really are?
The passengers of flight 2164 all lose their memories except Brian; he not only maintains his own memories, but gains everyone else’s that was on the plane.
As Brian begins remembering the other passenger’s lives, and soon finds himself unable to separate his memories from theirs. Intense flashbacks, disjointed personalities and often violent outbursts puts a strain on Brian’s relationship with his fiancée, Brenda.
They will have to trust the neuroscientist, Marci, whose experimental technology could restore Brian’s memories, and the life Brenda and Brian once had. As Brenda and Marci race against time to untangle Brian’s memories from those of the other passengers, they discover secrets Brian hid about his past.
Brenda will have to decide if some memories are best forgotten, and can she still love who Brian really is?
Katherine E. Soto’s Review of this Book
Will You Still Love Me if I Become Someone Else?
Book Review written by Katherine E Soto
A man comes home from a trip and begins acting different. Turns out he does not have amnesia like the other people who were on his airplane. Instead, he has all his memories plus theirs stuffed into his brain. How does this happen? Science is involved, of course.
Alex is a scientist for a nano-technology company who studies the brain and memory. There is a lab accident that no one is aware of. Instead of gaining a superpower, he acquires a wicked set of memories that set him off into his own adventures. His wife is pulled into the mix up in his mind as he turns into other people while he lives with her. To top it off she’s newly pregnant when this all starts.
This book is an interesting romp into how people think and how memory affects humans. The author takes time to explain there are two parts to memory- one part is full of how to do things, the other is full of memories of who you did them with. In this book the second type of memory is affecting the people on the airliner. They become similar to zombies; they can live but have no memory of their lives. The author brings the story through the confusion Alex and his wife, Leslie, have by telling their stories of the Event and after the Event. He also tells the story of Alex’s partner Marci, who is Alex’s ex-wife. No love is lost between the wife and ex-wife, but they must work together to help Marci solve the memory puzzle.
The author weaves the confusing pieces of the puzzle of Alex’s life into the pieces of the nanotechnology mistake with the relationships the characters are dealing with. This book is an excellent read and leaves you thinking about the world you live in. Do you truly know your loved ones? Is love a memory that can be faded or erased in someone’s memories? Follow Alex, Leslie and Marci as they try to solve the entanglements in which they find themselves. This book is a page turner to the end.
Follow Jotham Austin, II across the internet:
Book order Link: https://books2read.com/Jotham
When you begin journaling it will likely occur to you that having more than one type of journal might be the best way to keep everything organized better. When you have more than one type of journal, you can simply go to the specific journal to work on one issue at a time or keep something organized so you can make better decisions.
1. Bullet Journals – This type of journal is useful for anyone who has lots of to-do lists, loves using a pen and paper, and who enjoys goal tracking. Your journal should have a table of contents that you create as you add to the journal so you can find things. You’ll use symbols, colors, and lines to make your bullet journal. You should be able to understand at a glance what’s on the page.
2. Vision Journals – You may have heard of vision boards and this is essentially it, except it’s a journal that helps lead you to your vision. The way it works is that you set up the journal to have only one goal per page. Then you can write words, add pictures, or draw something that enables you to make plans to reach that goal. When you do reach the goal, be sure to go back and add the date of achievement.
3. Line a Day Journals – Basically this journal is what it’s called – you write down only one line a day. You will simply write in the journal a short line about what you did that day. It should be only a sentence or two at the most, and should not take up that much space in your journal. Some people like using a calendar and a pen for this.
4. Classic Journal – This is simply a diary, and you can write whatever you want in it every day. It can be long, short, or you can skip days if you want to. The classic journal is just like the diary that you kept as a child. You write whatever you want in it daily.
5. Prayer Journal – This is a particular type of journal where you essentially act like your diary or journal is your higher power. Write God your prayers instead of saying them. Write them down so you remember them and can look back on them.
6. Dream Journal – Some people really like tracking their dreams because they believe that dreams provide signs for life. If you want to track your dreams, you have to train yourself to write in your dream journal every morning while you still remember the dream. Write about the dream and then research what it means and write about that too.
7. Food Journal – Write down everything you eat every day. Some people like to include the calorie contents and so forth. It can also help to write down why you eat it, how you felt about eating it, and things like that.
8. Travel Journal – A wonderful way to remember your travels is to keep a travel journal. Some people like making one for each trip so that it’s easier to remember. You can write your thoughts in your journal, but you can also attach tickets, pics, and memories.
9. Gratitude Journal – This is just what it sounds like. It’s a journal where you record each day what you’re thankful for and grateful for. Nothing can be negative in this journal because it’s designed to help you think more positively.
10. Project Journal – This is a handy journal to keep, especially for anyone who regularly works on projects. Keeping a journal of each project you work on that records actions taken, results, and data, will help you improve every project but will also help you look back on this one with excitement.
If you want to journal to help work through a problem, keeping specific journals for different things is an effective way to go about it. It’s also a great way to store your thoughts and memories for the future in a more organized and useful manner.
Part 2 in a Series.
The way to ensure that journaling works for you is to do it long term. Long-term journaling gives you more insight into your life because you’ll be able to look to the past, present, and even the future (sort of) to get answers in your life. But first, you have to do it. And you need to do it daily to make it a habit. Let’s review a few tips for making journaling part of your daily routine.
Make It Easy – Don’t make it a huge deal, and it’ll be simpler to get done. For example, it’s easier to use a notebook and paper than a computer for most people. You can have the book in your bag or on your bedside table or wherever you plan to write in it.
Choose a Time That Works – The best times to do it are early morning, first thing, or the last thing before you go to bed. However, that might not work for some people. If you know a better time, do it. For example, some people like journaling while on lunch at work in the park. It’s up to you.
Get a Drink and Eat a Snack – You don’t want to have any excuses or extraneous thoughts while you’re writing in your journal. Make sure you’re fed and hydrated.
Create a Comfortable and Assessable Space – It’s easier to get into your thoughts if you’re comfortable and not thinking about how bad your tailbone hurts or your wrist hurts. Some people like using a desk, some a comfy easy chair, others their bed.
Combine It with Something Else You Enjoy Doing – If you enjoy cleaning the house, then reading in your clean house with the windows open and the breeze flowing in, why not journal at that moment? If it’s a daily thing, add journaling to it, and it’ll create a habit fast.
Add Some Relaxing Music to Set the Mood – Now it’s true that some people prefer silence, so that’s fine if you do. But consider trying some music that doesn’t have words and that is relaxing, to help you gather your thoughts and say calm and focused.
Use a Particular Type of Journal – For some people, using a style of journaling like bullet journaling, prayer journaling, project journaling, and more, works better since it defines some rules for entry.
Consider Using Journaling Prompts – You can also find journaling prompts online for any type of journal you want to use.
Reward Yourself – When you have been diligent for a month writing in your journal, take some time to read what you wrote, then reward yourself for doing it. You might buy some colored pens or some scrapbooking materials so you can add some definition and interest to your journal.
To truly experience the full benefits of journaling, it needs to be done most days, which is why you need to find a way to incorporate journaling into your everyday life. The best way to accomplish this is to make it easy and turn it into a habit.