How to Get the Most Out of Journaling
I’ve been a lifelong journaler. In fact, I still have my journals from when I was nine and every journal I’ve ever written in since. I have goal journals, dream journals, scrapbook and art journals, and spirituality journals, too. So you could say I know a thing or two about writing your way to self-discovery.
Throughout Ditch the Bitch Stigma: Embrace Your Inner Badass there are “Go Deeper” sections with journal prompts, and in the Bitch Stigma Library you’ll find lots of downloadable journal pages and worksheets.
Below, you’ll find my favorite tips to get the most out of your journaling experience.
- Journaling is a habit, and like any habit, you need to do it often enough for it to become second nature. Make space for it in your life. You don’t need that much time -- even 5-10 minutes goes a long way. You can even set a daily reminder alarm on your phone so you don’t forget.
- Some folks find it helpful to write at a set time every day, like in the morning with your tea or coffee, or at night before you go to bed. And if writing every day isn’t feasible for you, that’s ok! Write when the mood strikes or when you have some extra time or emotional bandwidth. There’s no single “right” way to journal.
- Use a pen you like to write with. It may seem silly or small, but I actually look forward to using my pens (office supply nerd here!) and that can help tip the scales for whether I actually journal or not that day.
- Try to do “stream of consciousness” writing, meaning that you don’t edit as you go and you let your hand write exactly what your mind thinks. You’re not trying to win any awards with this kind of writing; it’s for your own self-reflection and knowledge. So let your thoughts go and do your best to let go of your judgment of them.
- If you’re writing about an experience, you don’t have to write every detail down. Keep it simple and focus on the most relevant elements to reflect on.
- Use whatever medium you’re most likely to actually use. So if it’s a note in your phone, great! If you want to use a luxe leather bound notebook, that’s great too! Frankly though, when a journal is too expensive and fancy-shmancy, it can be tough to make yourself mar it with imperfect writing (even though that’s the point!). Remember, the most important thing is that the medium makes it easier and more inviting for you to write.
- Even better, use a guided journal. I have a Ditch the Bitch Stigma companion workbook that will be released in January 2020 -- join the dedicated mailing list here to receive an announcement when it’s ready (nothing else gets sent to that list).
- The written word isn’t the only way to express yourself! I’m a big fan of getting the old magazine collages out and adding scraps of bits and pieces of my life into my paper journals, even if they aren’t technically “art” journals. If you have a digital diary instead, insert photos or screenshots to give it more visual interest.
- Even if you use paper journals, start a note on your phone where you can capture stray thoughts which you can elaborate on when you have more time and focus. Or use voice-to-text to record yourself responding to journal prompts or random thoughts if you can’t carry your physical journal with you everywhere.
Remember, you aren’t writing this for anyone else, you’re writing it for yourself!