Flipping through my files to find the Benefits of Journaling for a talk I'm giving Wednesday on Navigating the Mid-Life Transition, at the Pointe Claire Library I found these tips I use in my writing classes:
Pick a time and place: Find a Quiet Place to do Daily Journaling
Write at home or somewhere else, as long as it is comfortable, with space for privacy and time without interruption. Find a time that works for you – first thing in the morning is often easiest, before the day gets too busy. Or just before bedtime. There is no ‘right time’ except the one that fits your schedule. If we don’t claim this time, it won’t happen. A few guidelines I found in Janet Conner's wonderful book Writing down your soul, Janet Conner website : Show Up, Open Up, Listen up and Follow Up.
Start Each Journal Entry With a Date
This will make a difference, especially if you go back and read them later. Dates help pinpoint events.
Write one Word or One Line
Write one word that describes your day. Write one line that sums up something that happened. Write about how you feel today, what your body is feeling. Describe the view from your window. Or the bird that just hopped into view. I dare you to write just one line.
Let it Go
No need to censor yourself; put the editor on the back burner. Write as it comes, without correcting grammar or punctuation. Look for the free flow, and use a timer for five minutes or ten minutes and keep your hand moving on the page even if you think you have nothing to say. (A little trick I learned from Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones http://nataliegoldberg.com/.
Be as Creative as Possible and Take Risks
Remember that nothing in this journal needs to be "finished" or complete. You can jot down drawing ideas, compositions, bits of dialogue, a story plot, a poem or quotes you love. The idea is to get the juices flowing! There is no censor, no rules, no worries about grammar, and we write quickly so the editor doesn’t chime in.
Write what you’re afraid to say, write the taboos and silences that don’t get spoken. Write what your heart really aches to say to someone but can’t. Write like there’s nobody watching. Tell the inner critic to take a break for five.
Let your Journal be the launch pad
Use coloured pencils to draw in symbols and images. Add colour to express your feelings. Let your dreams come into your journal. Keep it beside your bed so you can write them down before they disappear (sometimes you’ll remember them if you get up to go pee in the middle of the night, keep a pen handy). Paste things in your journal, pictures you cut out of magazines, photos, stickers, piece of textile you love the feel of, things you love.
Visit Planet Sark to see examples of zany playful creativity and journaling. http://planetsark.com/
Journal writing can help you to:
Learn to pay attention to the ordinary details of your life, observing & collecting beauty.
Gain perspective on where you are, where you’ve been and where you’re going
Develop a stronger sense of who you are, what matters and counts
Become your own best friend: cultivate loving kindness for yourself.
Listen in to your women’s wisdom or Intuition, and dialogue with the inner voice.
NOTE: If you are worried about someone reading your journal, find a way to lock up your journal, put it in the glove compartment of your car, write at a library, shred the pages you are worried about; make it safe and private.