Monday, March 7, 2011

The Art of Journaling

Journaling is like muraling without the pictures. Maybe that’s a stretch, but in both cases we are expressing what’s in our hearts. Expression is therapeutic. Reading our own words allows us to see more clearly who we are and how we really feel. Our journal is for our eyes only, which frees us to talk about whatever crosses our mind.

I have been journaling for the last ten years, regularly. It became a habit, like brushing my teeth. I picked up the habit from my friend, Raymond Lee Zanger, author of “Window of Self.” It is a very precise and instructive book on the techniques and history of writing a diary. Ray is the owner of one of the largest diary collections in the world.

I took Ray’s class, remembered the parts I wanted to remember, and put together a plan for journaling that is a bit looser than his.

Here are the aspects of journaling that work for me. Just like muraling, journaling requires a little preparation.

  • Buy yourself a NICE little journal (you wouldn’t want to waste that investment).
  • Your book should be bound—not the ring-type (so you won’t be tempted to rip out a page
  • Use an ink pen (so you won’t be tempted to erase your own words).
  • Make it a pen that flows well (so there are no excuses not to write.).
  • Place the book and pen in a permanent and convenient spot, like the coffee table near your favorite chair (so every evening, there it is, waiting for you to talk about your day).
  • I spend approximately five minutes per evening writing down the events of the day. The first thing I write is the day of the week, the month, day and year (every entry) at. Jan. 22, 2011—next line is the substance of the day.
  • Where did I go and what did I do and with whom
  • Any thoughts about what happened during the day (I use little happy and sad faces a lot)
  • I write three to ten lines every evening before I go to bed
  • I write down new medications, and how old ones are working
  • Any change in diet or medical symptoms
  • New ideas I want to hold onto, things to do
    • The one thing I would like to stress is, DON”T STRESS. This is your journal and you can write anything, as much or as little as you want. But you must train yourself to write—even if it’s only one silly sentence, even if it’s only one happy face icon.

      The real fun happens when you pick up your journal a year later, or many years later. Even the smallest entry brings back the day, the people, the feelings you had. In other words, that day was not lost. That day had importance and the events kept their importance because you wrote them down. You can bring back to mind your own history.

      Some people are more long-winded than others. Just because I write a bare-bones diary doesn’t mean you can’t write in detail, fifty lines a night if you like. The more the better.

      Set a realistic goal and stick to it!

      Author Joyce Oroz
      "Secure the Ranch" - Mystery Novel - Available in Kindle and Paperback Format.

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