How often should you journal? As often as possible, really.
As I’ve mentioned before, I used to journal sporadically – just whenever I felt in the mood. And that was fine, but it wasn’t life changing. If you’re serious about using your journal for personal growth (what I call ‘journaling dangerously’), then you should aim to journal every day – or as close to that as possible.
There’s something about journaling every day that really makes us look at the way we live our lives – and it always leads to growth.
Journaling every day allows us to connect with who we are and what we want. It is a way of spending time with ourselves, of getting to know ourselves, and coming to like and accept ourselves. I spend time with my family every day, why not with myself? Surely building a relationship with myself is equally if not more important?
In The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron notes that we can only complain about some undesirable situation over and over again for so long, before we actually start to do something about it.
The same goes for our dreams and goals – we can only write out how lovely it would be to have or do this or that, before we start to take action towards these things. Often it’s not conscious action, but things in our lives will start to shift.
Most of us have goals and desires; most of us imagine how our lives could be better or different. But often these desires just bubble away at the back of our minds while we are busy with the all the day-to-day ‘stuff’ of life. Sometimes they fade away completely.
By journaling each day, you forge a connection with your true self, your truest and deepest longings. You connect with your soul.
You learn (or relearn) what it is that your soul most desires and bring this to the front of your mind. By keeping this in front of you, in your mind each day, your life will start to change in previously unforeseen ways to bring you closer to these things.
I know this sounds all a bit new-agey and hippy-dippy, but this has been my experience.
And it’s essential to journal frequently if you are looking to expand your creativity. Firstly, you need to reconnect with your deepest self, as mentioned above, and secondly, journaling each day brings the inspiration to you.
It’s easy to feel as though you need to wait for inspiration to strike before you can create. If you don’t feel inspired, why would you sit down to create something? But this is a myth.
Showing up at the page each day means that the inspiration will find you. In Still Writing, Dani Shapiro says, ‘I sit down every day at around the same time and put myself in the path of inspiration. If I don’t sit down, if I’m not there…then inspiration will pass right by me.’
I love this. It doesn’t just apply to journaling – it applies to any creative endeavour.
The main thing is that you must show up often enough, so that it becomes a habit, a creative practice.
That might be every day, or it might be three times a week. Whatever it is for you, make it a practice – do it over and over again, frequently, until it becomes a habit for you.
I find that journaling most days keeps me feeling creative and inspired most of the time. The very act of showing up at the page actually creates a channel for the creativity and inspiration to find me – which I would miss if I just got on with life and waited until I felt inspired.
Committing to the practice
Is journaling every day a possibility for you? If so, I urge you to commit to trying the practice for two weeks and see what happens.
If you can’t journal every day, how often can you journal? Commit to something that feels manageable for you: maybe it’s every second day, maybe it’s three times a week.
The important thing is to commit to the practice. If you’re feeling hesitation at this point, I recommend going back to your list from the lesson on why you want to journal.
And remember: missing a day is fine! You don’t have to be perfect.