“How do you put pen to paper?” is a question the author of Journal For Seekers, Peter Burke, often poses. Writing out your thoughts and feelings can be quite challenging when you are going through emotional times. If this is what you are facing, here are some tips to get started journaling.
- Create a goal to write a few times a week. Can you aim for 3-4X a week, with the intention of consecutive days?
- Set aside around 30 minutes to journal. Think of it as 20 minutes of writing and ten minutes of reflecting. Even on busy days, see where you can squeeze this in.
- Pick a time of day that suits you best. Possibly set your alarm a half-hour earlier. Or sit in your quiet space (car or a park) during or after work.
- Create a relaxing space to write, away from distractions. You can find small parks with fountains or mini waterfalls for white noise in busy cities. Wearing earbuds or noise-canceling headphones helps too.
- Don’t limit what topics you explore. Write what comes to mind—a traumatic experience from the past or a current stressful situation.
- What you write is private. You choose whether or not what, if, or how to share your words. You also get to decide whether you concern yourself with proper spelling and punctuation – after all, what you write is intended only for your eyes.
- Start small. While setting aside 30 minutes is valuable, don’t judge yourself if you want to take baby steps and write for ten minutes.
- Start with a physical journal – the act of writing helps you process feelings differently than speaking or typing. Treat yourself with a pen that feels good in your hand, is in a color ink that you like, or flows differently than the usual ballpoint.
- Take advantage of journals that come with specific prompts. These can help ease fears of the blank page, inspire you to think about topics or name feelings that come up.
One last note – sometimes, expressing your inner turmoil in words can cause short-term stress. Remind yourself of all the advantages of journaling and that this form of self-care can have long-term benefits.
Journals For Seekers are a great entry point into exploring your feelings in written form. They purposefully don’t have long explanations. They focus on insightful prompts covering different topics, based on the author’s years of research and personal recovery. The short commitment time – a few minutes daily over ten days- makes them ideal for those who feel overwhelmed with a book filled with blank pages.