Think of journalling like backing up an extremely important hard drive, but instead of backing up family photos or legal documents, you are backing up your thoughts.
My counsellors and mentors growing up would all say it; “do you have a journal? Write about your feelings.” I had never been one to express emotions through writing though, so my reaction often had a negative undertone. The idea of writing “Dear Diary,” before bed every night sounded cheesy and was definitely not a priority of mine.
It wasn’t until I read Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon during the summer of 2017 that I understood what all of my counsellors had been telling me for years. Kleon’s book explained it really well; being in front of a digital screen every day is killing our art and is not enough to motivate our creativity. Our bodies are craving more tactile experiences.
Journalling means something different to everyone. Since starting, it has benefitted me in a number of ways, many of which I'm sure I still don't know. What I do know though, is that for me, keeping a journal is not about writing on a lined notebook a step-by-step guide about my day (although if that’s how you would like to journal - DO IT!). It is about having a 100% safe space for your eyes only, where you are able to be fully expressive in whichever way you feel, which can vary from moment to moment.
I have written some benefits, as well as some tips and tricks to help you get started if you're thinking about keeping a notebook.
- Self-reflection and personal growth.
- Freedom to create whatever you want, whenever you want.
- Having a clearer mind.
- Find and developing creativity.
- Observing your subconscious.
Things to journal about when getting started:
- Plans and to-do lists.
- Song lyrics and quotes you like.
- Questions you have that you want to look up later.
- Funny things you see walking down the street.
- Things you'd like to remember for future you.
- Make a collage or mood board.
Tips and tricks:
- BRING IT EVERYWHERE. Write in it everywhere you can.
- Dot notebooks are amazing. They give you a perfect balance between structure and freedom. My personal favourite is the Leuchtturm1917 A5 Medium.
- Get a notebook in any other colour/shade than black. Step out of your comfort zone. Black books are too structured; it's boring.
- Carry a pencil case of coloured markers. You never know when you might been feeling like writing in green.
- Don't erase anything or rip out any pages. It's okay and normal to make mistakes! If I ever have a page where I want to make sure nobody accidentally sees it if I whip out my book in public, I just fold the page in half.
Thanks for reading!
- Ashton Schofield.