I journal every day.
Well, almost, I miss a day here and there, sometimes I miss a week, then feel all funky about it… Alright… I journal most days. Most of em. I aim for daily though.
And it’s not always easy and sometimes it’s clunky. Sometimes I barely write a page, and others I get fully into it and before I know it I’ve filled 14 pages and could probably write more… but what do you write?!
The short, vague answer is “anything you damn well please”
It’s your book, your journal, your thoughts… so write whatever the hell you want. But that’s not always helpful, so here are a few ideas of what you could write if you so wish…
A manifesto/Statement of intent – I write these on the first page of my new journals. It’s something to start the book off, gets me over the “fear” of what to write, or having nothing to write, or not wanting to “spoil” a new book… it’s strange but common. So I found the way around it by writing a mini-manifesto of sorts, it changes each time but usually goes along the lines of “Herein lie the thoughts, ideas, pearls of wisdom and general BS that roams around my mind. It’s where my crap sits alongside my genius. I won’t hold back, and I will always trust that what is written here is what I need to write in the moment and I will always be better off for it.” something like that… or
“ooohhh, new book, scary! I don’t wanna write in it, but here I am writing in it, so I suppose I’m over it already… huh!”
Gripes – All the shit that pissing you off and weighing on you. Write it out, let it go. I did this for years. I remember once throwing a notepad at my then partner cos he asked what was wrong… I’d been awake until the early hours unleashing everything I was holding onto that I’d not said out loud. Afterwards, I felt better about it (and not just cos I’d thrown a book at him)
Letter to your future/past/present self – Read: An Apology This one can be therapeutic in a way I didn’t even imagine. There’s an undeniable power over writing a letter to your younger self. Maybe you’re thanking them, forgiving them, or like in my example, you’re apologising to them. When you’re writing to your future self it can really help you decide and get clear on what you want. And if you write a letter as your future self to your current self then it’s kinda trippy, but you manage to find answers to questions you didn’t even know you had! Be warned: there may be emotions involved that you didn’t expect.
Ideas and plans – Whatever the big idea is, the goal, the vision, the dream… write it out. Go into detail, allow yourself the freedom to roam and explore and live into this big life that isn’t quite your reality, but you would love it to be. Allow yourself to escape, to let loose and be carefree and explore whatever there is you can imagine for your life.
Affirmations – Write out a whole list of awesome things that you are and/or have in your life. Things you want but don’t yet have, but write them as though they’re already real. I’m in great shape | I earn £xxx per year easily | I’m in a great relationship | I find xyz so easy | My life is awesome | I live in my dream house | I’m happily married to Hugh Jackman … you get the idea. You write it out and you keep writing all the things you want – OK, marrying Hugh Jackman is probably off the cards, he’s already very happily married, but you write this stuff out as though it’s done. You learn to feel into it, and then you start to live into it.
Whatever else is on your mind – Yep. You can just do a good old fashioned brain dump. Pen, paper, write… get it all out. It can be a grocery list, a to-do list, a rambling about the neighbours mowing the lawn at 6 am (who even does that?!) and you just write until you’re done.
This is obviously not an exhaustive list. You can use your journal for whatever you want, you could even have different journals for different things! I know plenty of people who do, however, I just dump everything in one and then move on (I’ve tried the multi-journal thing, it ended up a big ol’ mess)
You figure out what works best for you, and then you set to it. Journaling is a crazy, almost magical, tool to use in life. You can use it to track as well as plan, and you can bring your greatest fantasies and dreams to life before they’re here in the physical world. Write enough and eventually, you’ll realise those gripes and things that were weighing you down are no longer on your mind – you will literally forget some of them as soon as they’re released onto paper! And some of your most “far out of reach” dreams start to become closer and more real. All because you take the time to explore.
That’s why I truly believe that life is a script of your own writing. I fully trust and believe that writing things out creates more than just words on a page. It creates space in our minds and our hearts, and it helps us find paths we maybe wouldn’t have come across before had we not started writing.
I know for me personally, I’ve started with a niggle, a recurring thought or that I couldn’t get past, and once I started writing the whole world opened up and I could see how to make it real.
I know that when I’ve explored the things that have been bugging me that I’ve found a solution, and the big huge problems have become nothing more than a minor inconvenience.
I’ve got over it. I’ve moved on. I’ve crafted something better for myself.
And you can do it too…
I even have the perfect book for you to get started with 😉