Creative Journaling Toolkit – Introduction: Why journal?

My story

I am someone who is prone to getting a bit down in the dumps if I don’t take care of myself.

At the start of 2014 I was not feeling so great. After taking the year before off from work to travel and study, I went back into full-time work as a teacher. It was a tough transition getting back into a job that I had intentionally left a year earlier to pursue other things. Part of me wondered if I had made the right move.

Even though logically I knew it was the right thing to do for myself at that particular time, something was really missing from my life. What made it worse was that I had no idea what it was that was missing. I just felt disconnected from myself, from the life I wanted to live, and trapped in an unhappy situation.

It took a few things to get me feeling a bit better, but by far the most profound thing I did was start a regular creative journaling practice.

It’s hard to put into words exactly how much my life has changed simply by journaling regularly.

I don’t mean to be dramatic when I say that; I am being honest.

By finding even ten minutes a day to check in with my journal, my entire outlook on life, and in turn my experience of life, has changed for the better.

Don’t get me wrong – I still have bad days, I still feel overwhelmed and stressed. But now I have a tool to effectively manage these things. They don’t take over me, like they used to, and they are usually processed quickly and reasonably painlessly.

Here’s what I noticed from journaling each day even just within the first few months:

  • Increased self-belief, confidence in myself, courage to take risks
  • Increased self-acceptance, gentleness, understanding and compassion towards myself
  • Greater clarity around my goals and dreams
  • Overcoming procrastination – actually taking action on the things I want
  • Overcoming perfectionism and making peace with making mistakes
  • Increased creativity – tapped into my own inner wellspring of creativity and inspiration
  • General improvement in mood – more positive and at peace, less stressed
  • More optimistic, increased ability to trust the process and have faith that things will work out as they should
  • Increased ability to bear uncertainty
  • More productive use of leisure time – not as much TV or movies to ‘tune out’ of my life, but instead doing creative things that nourish me
  • More connected to myself – feel a stronger sense of who I am and what is important to me
  • Improved relationships based on better understanding of/connection to myself
  • More confidence in standing up for what is important to me
  • More enjoyment in being alone and spending time with myself

I now consider journaling regularly to be an essential part of my self-care practice.

Just as exercise, a good night’s sleep and good food are important to look after ourselves, for me, my creative journaling practice is key.

As an introvert, empath and a creative person who tends to over-think everything, journaling is essential for me to return to my centre and remain connected to my creative source.

If I go more than a few days without my creative journaling practice, I start to feel disconnected – from myself, the divine, the creative life force of the universe. It is my anchor.

If you want to connect to your own inner source of strength and wisdom, and realise the creative potential that lies within you, then learning about creative journaling in this class will help you do just that.

Why do you want to journal?

Make a list of what you hope to get out of your journaling practice. When thinking about how a journaling practice could help you, consider the following:

  • How do you want to feel more often?
  • What emotions are difficult for you?
  • What are you struggling with right now?
  • How would you like to express yourself creatively?
  • Do you want to improve your relationship with yourself – perhaps develop more self-love or compassion?
  • What would you like to learn about yourself?
  • What dreams do you have that you want to work towards?
  • How could journaling help you with self-care?
  • What habits would you like to stop, or begin?
  • What is it about a creative journaling practice that inspires/excites/interests you?

If you have a journal already, write your reasons down in your journal. If not, just write them on paper for now, and then add them to your journal when you get it.

Having an idea of why you want to journal can be helpful to guide you on your journey.