Keeping a journal is a type of creative practice, or a creative habit, that happens to be my number one tool as an artist and creative entrepreneur.
But facing the blank page, even the blank page in a new journal, can be intimidating. We wonder what to write, how to write, and whether or not it’s really useful. Especially if we’ve got a fancy or expensive journal with nice paper and a beautiful cover.
So my first tip is:
1. Start Journaling with a Plain, Cheap, Notebook.
Those spiral bound single subject notebooks are perfect for journaling. Because you haven’t invested a lot in it pricewise, it’s easier to “mess it up”, and “not have anything important to say”.
I put quotes around those phrases because these are the common problems that my students share with me when it comes to keeping a journal.
2. Use Your Journal to Practice Showing Up for Yourself
You don’t have to journal every single day to get the benefits.
Committing to a daily practice before you’ve really begun can be a recipe for not doing anything it all. The project will seem too big, too daunting.
Instead, decide to begin afresh each time you go to your journal.
The idea is to simply begin, and then keep making small beginnings, over and over again, until your journaling practice feels easy and natural.
One thing I’ve learned as an artist and writer is that successful follow though on creative projects is a matter of beginning, over and over again.
There is no beginning too small.
— Henry David Thoreau said that.
If you struggle with keeping up your journaling, or with completing a journal, turn it around. Make your journaling a process and practice about beginning. See what happens.
Follow through and continuation are really nothing more than a series of small beginnings. Keeping a journal is a simple way to practice showing up for yourself.
3. Use Prompts to Start Your Journal Writing
Using a prompt is a great way to begin a journal entry. And no matter how long you’ve been journaling, prompts can work as a kind to crowbar to get at deeper truths—especially when we write quickly, as fast as we can move our pen.
Our minds love to solve problems. When we give it a prompt to respond to, both our conscious and unconscious mind are activated to search for the “answers” to the questions that the prompts evoke.
Here’s a prompt you can use in your journal:
When it comes to keeping a journal… – then choose one of these add-on’s – I’m wondering/ I’d like to / I’m worried about / I struggle with…
(write your response, stream-of-conscious-style, until you fill one page).
Get More Journal Writing Prompts in The 30 Day Journal Workshop
Come on over to my studio in Mexico (via video!) where I’ll show you how to journal with intention and focus as we create two different kinds of handmade journals. It all happens in The 30 Day Journal Project Workshop, designed for experienced and brand new journalers alike!
Also, Magic Book, a self-paced, online journaling course, brings youa whole YEAR of lessons. 12 in all, one lesson for each month. PLUS – your purchase includes a free membership inside Creative Journey Studio, our brand new clubhouse for creativity. So you can meet and mingle with others who are learning to keep journals as a creative practice.
My question for you:
When it comes to journaling, what questions do YOU have? If you did the journaling prompt, above, feel free to share that! I am here to help.
Please share in the comments.