JT: Finding the Right Time

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I would be lying if I said that I write consistently every day. I don’t, and I’ve also failed at trying to get up extra early to do a bit of journaling before work. I’m a night owl who has the unfortunate luck of working a normal eight-to-five. That said, for some, writing first thing in the morning does have some benefit. In her The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron encourages artists (of all kinds) to take up a routine of writing morning pages, or, three pages of stream-of-consciousness/data-dump writing. The goal of this is to help clear the mind and prepare it to face the day. Open up the creative channels that might be otherwise blocked by all the worries we carry around.

I tried this way, and realized that as a night owl, evening journaling works best for me. By evening, I feel like I have plenty to say. (I keep a notepad in my bag to write down potential topics, just in case I need help starting.) After I’ve written my two pages (not three, in my case), I find myself in a quieter state. I’ve noticed that I even sleep better.

So, I encourage you to try writing during different times in your day, see which one best fits your schedule and nature. You can try writing three pages, or, like me, two pages back and front.

What time do you feel fits you best?

***

If you’d like to connect, please reach out at my contact page, or on instagram (@introvertinflux)!

JT: Sometimes It’s Ugly Up There

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Even with more than ten years of practice, I still freeze before the blank page. I still have those moments where I let my inner critic whisper in my ear: do you even have anything good to say? The truth is, no, I don’t. Not always. Putting pen to paper doesn’t mean that you’ll only write down the good moments, or the good thoughts. Sometimes, it’s ugly up there and writing it all down helps us void out the bad blood and pus we’ve been carrying around. But, before reaching the point of healing, we must sharpen a blade, sterilize it, and reopen the wound.

It’s as fun as it sounds.

The good thing is that, once you get the words down, you never have to go back and read them again. Not unless you want to. I’ve got a box of notebooks in my mother’s basement, and I can tell you now that I’ve gone back and read none of them. That’s because the notebooks served their purpose. They helped me process and break free of whatever had been trapping me at the time. And, if you’re worried about someone finding them, you can go one step further and destroy them when you’re done. Light a fire and send all that ugliness away in a cloud of ash and smoke.

Or, you can just use a shredder.

Prompts to consider:

  • What’s something you regret?
  • What words would you say to someone who really hurt you?
  • What are some of your worst fears?
  • Write about the skeletons in your closet.

Well, have a good rest of the week. Let me know if you’ve got any other prompt ideas!

Introducing: Journaling Thoughts

Hello everyone! Welcome to the start of a series on journaling, called Journaling Thoughts. In it, I will cover a wide range of topics surrounding journaling, from tools of the trade to tips on how to get started. Even a few lessons I learned along the way. Journaling has been one of the most helpful habits I’ve implemented in my life, and I’ve been doing it for over a decade now. Ten years of trying to make sense of the world, and myself.

That said, I still struggle with the practice every day. There’s this constant war between myself and my inner critic. (That villain that likes to plant doubt like others plant carrots in spring.)  You can even call it “journaling anxiety”. But, that’s okay. With time, I’ve learned to win more than a few battles.

When I first started journaling for reals, I was a senior in high school. I wrote in large composition notebooks, filled pages upon pages with thoughts on recent video games, transcribed lines from favorite books, pasted in the wrappers from favorite snacks, and even wrote the occasional entry on how I wanted to leave home and explore somewhere new. Then, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for college, just before 2010. There, I downsized to A5 size notebooks, where I would paste in old assignments I was proud of, or conversations I had with friends or classmates on Facebook.  (I even pasted in the chat lines from the first time I was ever asked out.) I collected words and instances like a mad person, but, in essence, I was trying to comprehend the world around me. I was compiling everything that seemed a part of me into one place, creating a written collage of my life. And it was only after gathering so much that I realized how little some things mattered, or how important other things were. (Often, I lamented what I had lost.)

Now, I’ve gotten to writing in pocket sized Leuchtturm1917 notebooks. They’re slightly larger than a pocket Moleskine (roughly 3.5 x 6 inches), and have nicer archival quality paper. (Better yet, fountain pen friendly paper.) They fit nicely in any bag, right next to my keys and pepper spray. (Okay, just kidding on the pepper spray.) I rarely paste things in anymore, and I put a bit more thought into what I transcribe.

If I had to narrow it down, I would say that the biggest benefits from journaling have been learning how to distinguish the necessary from the unnecessary. How to value what I have, in the moment, and how to ignore all the background noise. That, and the comfort of knowing I have a safe space to be myself.

If you’ve been thinking of starting a journal, but just haven’t gotten around to it, I encourage you to do so. Even if it’s just one line a day. And even if you already keep one (or three), and still hit certain roadblocks, please share them in the comments section below. What have you learned from your practice, or, what do you hope to learn?

***

Photo by Alexandra Fuller on Unsplash

If you’d like to connect, please reach out at my contact page here!