Keeping a Journal

“In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself.”

~ Susan Sontag

There are many ways to keep a journal. You can keep a daily log of your activities, document what goes on in your family, write down personal feelings or impressions, or keep a list of your blessings in a gratitude journal.

In the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, she explains a method of journaling called Morning Pages and describes it as first thought writing. You simply write the first thought that comes into your mind. The rules are: you must write without questioning, judging or editing. It is suggested that you use a spiral notebook, schedule a specific time to write each day and brain dump until you fill three full pages. It usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes. Write as fast as you can. Don’t even dot your i’s or cross your t’s until you come back and read what you’ve written. Allow your subconscious mind to think any thought that bubbles to the surface. Sometimes right in the middle of writing, your brain will say something like, “I’m wearing a blue shirt today. I look good in blue.” Write that down. There is no wrong way to do this. It’s a wonderful way to get what’s rattling around inside your head, out on paper where you can look at it. You could sit down at your computer and type everything you’re thinking and feeling. You may lose track of the time and end up typing for hours. This brain dump will help bring order to your jumbled thoughts. Allow all your toxic feelings to be expressed, without judging them or feeling guilty. You may even try typing a few letters to people that you don’t intend to send. Somehow this is very therapeutic.

Other than purging toxic feelings, another benefit is that after one of these first thought writing sessions, you have more clarity about what your next steps should be to move forward in your life. Try it. There are many ways to document your existence. You don’t have to be a great writer to be great at keeping a journal.

After being a stay at home mom for 23 years, I found myself single and in need of providing for my children. The court-ordered amount for child support & alimony hadn’t been coming in, and I was in danger of losing my home. I started working a part-time job to make ends meet. For nine months finances were extremely tight. By the time things settled down each evening it was too late at night to call and talk things through with a friend.

One evening I decided to sit down at my computer and start typing all the things I could do that could bring in money. I brainstormed until I had come up with seven different ways to increase my income or reduce my outgo. From there I came up with an action plan.

I also decided to write in my journal every day to acknowledge the Lord’s hand in my life and to document my progress. It was remarkable! Because I was recording every step of my financial journey, I recognized tiny miracles and saw abundance all around me! Journaling helped me pause during an extremely difficult time in my life, to clear my head and strategize instead of being paralyzed with worry and fear.