How to use your journal for more than diary entries
I've always had journals floating around. In the house, in boxes, in my work bag..they sort of just follow me. I have every journal I've written in since I was 14 - they are pretty entertaining to go back and read. It's amazing how every age brings the need for reflection whether it's who you have a crush on or contemplating a major move in your life. Whether you're 14 or 54, writing is an awesome process and I encourage you to try it on. Maybe you haven't kept journals since you were 14. Maybe you've never purchased a journal. Maybe you have one of those sparkly pink journals with a lock on it...am I the only one? But journaling is so much more than an adult version of, "Dear Diary...", although that is needed too. And occasionally you may still write about who you have a crush on.
I use my journal for a list of reasons -
- To dream and dream BIG
- To reflect and figure stuff out (sometimes figure sh*t out)
- To write poems
- To write letters - love letters, angry letters, and even goodbye letters
- To access my inner wise self
- To make a laundry list of just about anything
- To talk with God (yeah, I said it...)
- To take a quantum leap
- To heal...
- To sit with stuff
- To hold mementos & memories
- To account for important days
I wrote a basic intro to journaling here with a few tips for getting started. In this post I want to give you some different journal techniques you can use in your journal. Leave me a comment and tell me which one you liked most or add to my list! Because journals are cool - whether you're 14 year old girl or not...
I learned this technique in my classes for my Journal to the Self certification. This is a great technique to use when you want to do some writing but are a bit stumped or when you need some answers and quick. They help you process on paper very specific questions or thoughts. You can turn almost anything into a Springboard - think of them as jumping off points. Here are a few of my favorites. Just write them at the top of your journal page and get to writing.
- If I knew I could not fail I would...
- If my wise self were here she would say...
- What is my next right direction?
This is one of the most powerful techniques when you have something you really need to say...but aren't ready to really say it. You can write a letter without sending it. That's important, because when you intend to actually send the letter you will start censoring what you're writing. And a really healing letter just lets it all hang out there. You can write a letter to just about anyone or anything and about anything. To say goodbye, to confess love or fear, or ask questions, to vent anger, or to apologize. You can write a letter to an emotion or experience you are dealing with. You can do what you want with the letter when finished. Although I encourage you to keep it you may also shred it, throw it away, burn it, bury it, or if you really need to - send it. Write "Dear _____" at the top of your paper and let your letter flow onto your paper.
This technique is similar to a letter except it's two-sided and you write both sides of the conversation. Conversations work for many of the same reasons letters do - they allow you to say all the stuff you want to say or need to without having to actually say it. You can use a written conversation to ask questions of someone or a situation, to work out an argument, to see things from someone else's perspective, to let go, to access your inner-wise self, or to talk to yourself. On your paper there will be your voice and who you are speaking with. Give them a name - real or imaginary. You start out the conversation and organically the other voice will come through. It's a bit odd how easy it is, but this is one of my most popular techniques!
If you want more guidance in journaling you can check out my journal courses here. It's good stuff! Happy journaling.