There is one thing in this world that will never judge you, is always willing to take in your deepest darkest secrets and never tell a soul, helps you tap into your creative side, and will let you pour any thought you have onto it… a journal.
Writing in a journal is one of the most depreciated and underrated habits.
As kids, many of us had diaries or notebooks that we would write all of our ‘darkest secrets’ in. Then, at some point we stopped. What happened in those transitional years that made us not feel the urge to write anymore?
My feeling is that a lot of us started bottling things up or became afraid that someone might find our journals and read things we never meant to escape our personal lives.
Journaling is a very therapeutic practice and alleviates feelings of stress or depression. All of us can feel alone at times but writing about things really does help. (Google it! There are many sources that prove this factual).
Journaling is not just for people that feel they have something to say. Writing is for everyone. It is a part of the human experience and is incorporated into absolutely every career you can imagine.
Making a resume?
Better make sure you know how to write one.
What about a cover letter?
Yup. Especially cover letters. Employers don’t want someone who writes choppy, boring, incoherent sentences.
Writing an essay for a class?
Definitely important to know how to write if you want a good grade.
Even simply delivering an email or writing a tweet requires you to know how to write. Journaling can help you practice getting your thoughts onto paper. It will help you express yourself if you don’t know how to put your ideas into words.
Writing will also help you become a better communicator, even if you have no audience.
What most people have a difficult time with is starting a journal. Writing on a daily basis is a habit many people don’t pick up because it takes time and effort.
But what people fail to realize is that once you start doing it and realize how beneficial it is, it doesn’t seem like such a chore anymore. And you start to notice improvements in your writing.
I hate when people say “I’m not a good writer which is why I don’t write.”
This doesn’t make any sense, people!
You don’t become a good writer by sitting on the couch and watching TV.
You get better at writing by writing (*gasps*).
I know, it’s such a revelation!
But seriously, how do you expect to get better at something if you don’t go out and do it?
Most people can think of SOMETHING to say. If you are a human and you have thoughts, you can put the pen to paper.
One of the hardest things to do when you start to journal is figuring out what to write about. A lot of people think they need to have something important and enlightening to say which is why they struggle and think “I have nothing new or interesting to offer… I don’t know what to write.”
But think of it this way: Don’t write for other people; write for you. It doesn’t matter if you have 100 readers or zero. Write your thoughts and express your feelings. It can be about anything, just write.
One practice that is a sure way to help you become a better writer is to sit down everyday and write for ten minutes non-stop. Do not remove the pen from the paper. Just stare at an object and write about it for ten minutes. Even if you run out of things to say, keep writing.
If you look at a tree, and write about it for four minutes then get stumped and cannot think of anything more to say about that tree, write
“The tree is green… I lost my train of thought and don’t know what to say anymore about the tree so Im trying to compose my thoughts and write more about the tree that I just wrote about for four minutes and I notice the tree is sitting on the front lawn which is embedded in green blades of grass…”
and so on. Even if you start writing words that have nothing to do with each other, keep going. Just don’t stop until the timer reaches that ten-minute mark.
If you do this everyday and keep up with it, I promise you will get better at writing. You will eventually learn to manage your thoughts and produce a rhythmic flow of cranial activity.
If you feel as though you are scribbling mundane and irrelevant ideas, that’s okay. Writing these seemingly unremarkable things is better than not writing anything.
For those who are just starting out journaling and need something to write about, here is a list to start with:
1) Your goals and aspirations
2) Moments of joy in your life
3) Memorable meals you’ve had
4) Places you’ve visited
5) The people you appreciate most in your life
6) Lessons you’ve learned
7) Your innermost thoughts
8) Stories you wish to tell your future family
9) What scares you?
10) Your opinion on soul mates
11) Dear past me…
12) Dear future me…
13) An open letter to (someone/group of people)
15) Your favorite quotes and what they mean to you
16) Three things list (three things you can’t live without, three favorite animals, three things you learn in relationships, etc.)
17) Good websites to follow
18) How you can improve yourself
19) What makes you (or would make you) happy?
20) Suppressed memories that affect your dominant mood today
The list is endless. There is no such thing as a good story. The story is good based on your own unique angle and how you tell it. Anyone can write about that one day they walked in the park, but only you can tell the story of the revelation you had while looking at the pine tree that triggered a buried memory that prompted you to make changes in your life. Anyone can write about what their mother’s kitchen looks like, but only you can write about the series of fights and broken china that shattered your experience of being in one of the most comforting rooms of the house.
That blank sheet is your open canvas. Scribble what you like and it may lead you in a direction you never intended. Write about your emotional destruction or write a poem about the beautiful weather outside.
Continuously bottling up your thoughts will contribute to the pent up rage in your head and you will never get better at expressing yourself.
Read what other people write. Listen to conversations on the bus so you can write about them later. Look for interesting objects on the street. Meet new people to generate new ideas. Go out and explore the world that has a vast plane of experiences to offer.
If you need more incentive to write, here’s several:
-Writing helps sweep your mind of things that may be bothering you
-You get to meet yourself all over again (In our society, it’s easy to forget the things we stand for, but writing will only let your voice leak in)
-You will develop and heighten your analytical skills (problem-solving works wonders in logical thought)
-It allows you to turn the noise off (You are in your head with no outside influences to distract you from being with yourself)
-Vocabulary maintenance and expansion (You will develop new ways to say things)
-Stream-of-consciousness purge and relaxation (Writing can be mediative and acts as your confidante)
So, get to writing!
The world needs more people who can beautifully articulate their thoughts. ❤