Whether it’s an art journal, audio, text based, I think we all need to take some time to get our thoughts out of the jumbled pink blob that is our brain.
- get your thoughts out - It’s hard to keep all your thoughts in your head. I used to think that I could just think everything out in my head, but eventually I learned that putting them down, having a physical manifestation of my thoughts actually helped to rationalize my thought process more clearly.
- learn things about yourself - Like therapy, writing down your thoughts often helps you wonder why you think that way and go deeper into your reflections, especially when you aren’t cycling the same thoughts over and over again in your head. By getting your thoughts out, you’re making space for new thoughts in. In a weird way, journaling has actually made me realize why I’ve been so upset with my family, why I hate certain places, and why I’m so stressed out all the time.
- understand your thought process - Also like therapy, you realize your thought process with how and why you got there. Are you falling into logical fallacies? Are your thoughts biased towards a certain perspective? Do you fall for common tropes or stereotypes about other people? Getting these thoughts out might help you realize these missteps in judgement and logic. Being introspective and self-aware goes a long way.
- motivation & inspiration - I sometimes get inspired or motivated to do work, because I (a) Write down reasons why I’m proud of myself and the little things I’ve accomplished that day which motivates me to do more work, or (b) Write down why I’m so stressed and pile of work I have to do which makes me realize that it actually isn’t that bad and motivates me to actually complete it. Things get less overwhelming when it’s not constantly jumping around in your head like a broken blender.
- me time - We’re so invested in trying to understand and get to know the personal lives of other people, yet sometimes we need to take a moment for ourselves, especially after a long day. It really doesn’t take that long - just 10 minutes of thinking about yourself and your thoughts can go a long way.
- be a better writer (or artist!) - This depends on the type of journal you’re going for and how you’re getting your thoughts out, but writing a journal could help you hone in on those skills. Writing or speaking aloud our thoughts can improve how your articulate your thoughts, especially if you’re like me and aren’t good with translating the jumbled mess in your head into understandable words. Drawing or writing poetry to express your thoughts could improve your skills in representing what you mean through imagery and more abstract symbolism. Journaling actually helped me a lot, because when I was younger, I got nervous to speak up in class because I didn’t know how to articulate my thoughts well; it might make essay writing go faster!
- be in a coming of age movie - romanticize your process (healthily!). Sitting down with a journal, a cup of tea, and your favorite writing or drawing utensil sounds so romantic and cozy. Fit in with the tumblr studyblr aesthetic and post pictures if that encourages you.
So how do I start?
First, find out how you want to journal! I prefer physical notebooks, because I spend so much time on my laptop already, and I just like the feeling of being able to unplug and actually write something (also makes for more aesthetic pics…). I write in long-form, hardly any paragraph breaks, hardly any doodles, and not really planned or anything. I use a pen so I can’t go back and erase anything that I feel sounds bad or clunky or fix my grammar, because I don’t want to fixate on trivial details when I really want to just jot everything in my head. I find words work best for me, because that’s just how I best express myself.
Next…it’s up to you now! I started getting into the habit by just committing myself to write something everyday, even if it was just half a page. It took many tries over some months to really nail it down, but once I started, it really took off from there. After about 1-2 months of almost daily journaling, I started cutting back a little. Yet, I hardly ever go for more than a month of not checking in and writing something down. Nowadays, it’s more like once a week or every couple days. I find that I journal when I’m feeling the most down, because it motivates me to pick myself up and do something.
Some extra tips:
(a) If it helps, schedule a time with yourself to journal. Even just having a 15 minute chunk in your Google Calendar could help you to stay committed to it.
(b) Don’t feel pressure to write about any certain topic. It’s not an essay draft book, it doesn’t have to be a diary, it doesn’t have to be anything. I might draw or create a bullet journal-like spread in my writing journal, or I might not. It all depends on how I feel that day. Don’t feel like it has to be a diary where you have to write about everything that happened that day, or don’t think every thought has to be well articulated.
© Just have fun with it! Toy with a project idea, pour your soul out, get your thoughts on all every item on your to do list and how much you hate/love it. Just do whatever! There are no rules.
idk how to end this post so OK NOW GO!
Another post on the different types of journals & notebooks (coming soon!)