Journaling is a powerful self-help tool that is becoming more and more popular. By way of example, you can purchase a wide variety of journals online from stores such as Amazon, from physical bookstores, and from authors like me.😊 Coaches and therapists also use journaling as a way to assist their clients and help them progress. It is also super-easy to journal on your own in just a plain, old-fashioned notebook. However, all journaling has one thing in common — and that is writing.
So … how can you journal if you hate to WRITE?
From simple to elaborate, any kind of picture that expresses your current emotions and situation will be helpful in this scenario. After you’ve drawn the picture, you can label and annotate it. If you’ll leave a blank page opposite your drawing, then you can come back and review it later. At your “second glance,” you can jot down any additional thoughts, emotions and responses that come to mind. Quite often, this simple method will get you into journaling rather quickly.
Personally, I don’t consider myself a “drawer,” so this method would be less useful for me. (Although, I DO draw small doodles in my journals once in a while.) However, this could end up being the PERFECT method for you!
Here’s another idea: Why not try using different types of pens or pencils to make your journaling more interesting and exciting for you?
If you are journaling about a problem, then you might consider using a diagram — such as a mind map or a decision tree. Diagrams are powerful because they are VISUAL and help you to see patterns and connections more easily. If you are trying to make an important decision, then you can illustrate the different outcomes and results. This will help you formulate the best decision possible. Adding in some COLOR not only makes the diagrams more attractive but can highlight connections.
I am often amazed at how effective problem solving is when I’ve diagrammed it out.
Using a simple prompt such as a word or question can help break the “blank page” syndrome and inspire you to happily put pen to paper. When I’m journaling I’ll often just use bullet points in order to get my thoughts on the page — especially when I’m pressed for time. ✍🏻
Please don’t feel that you need to write A LOT at one time, or even in full sentences. The journal — and the very act of journaling — should relate to your needs at that moment in time. (And, just so you know, those needs will most likely vary day to day.)
Knowing the value of the use of prompts, I decided to include 50 thought-provoking prompts in my 2020 Quarantine Journal. [See below.] I also included over 10 positive quotes, for good measure.
You might consider purchasing (or making) several different genres of journals — each one designed for the specific use you need. You’ll find there are journals on weight loss, gratitude, happiness, dreams, and just about every other topic under the sun! Many of these journals will include prompts and recording methods that don’t require a lot of writing.
Create a Collage
Another idea is to get some magazines or newspapers and cut out words, phrases, paragraphs, or even articles that relate to your situation or emotions. Be sure to include pictures that you find that reflect how you are feeling or WANT to feel. Again, you can annotate the pictures and articles to make them truly personal. As I suggested above, leave a blank page opposite your collage so that you can revisit and review your creation at a later time and add in additional journaling.
While writing by using a pen and paper is probably the most powerful method of journaling, you can also use dictation software such as Dragon. You’ll need both the software and a computer with a microphone in order to utilize this method. It may be easier to start your journaling journey by speaking to the computer and imagining you are talking to a friend. The software will ‘write’ what you say and you can save the document for later review.
You may even decide to keep your journal in an electronic form, in which case you can review it and add in later thoughts and feelings. (You can do this by either typing them or dictating them through the speech-recognition software.)
Or — you may decide to print out your journal and keep it in a binder. If you do print it out, then you’ll have the opportunity to embellish it and/or make additional notes on the hard copy whenever you’d like.
Remember that there are no absolute rules here. Journaling does not have to be undertaken every day for a set period of time — especially if that is not your style. Many people journal every day for 20 minutes, as that is the method that suits them best. However, it may be that once a week is enough for you! (Just make sure that you jot things on your calendar that you know you’ll want to include.)
Alternatively, you may decide that you will only journal when you feel you need it. Some days, it may be that you choose to use a prompt or a picture to kick-start your writing. Other days, you may find that the words flow and you can write without stopping with no problem at all.
The important points to remember are that the journal is a personal document designed to help YOU and that it is designed to be used and revised. It’s a living document and there is no right or wrong way to create or use it.
Points to Ponder
One day, you will want to look back on your life and you will be SO GRATEFUL that you took the time to keep a journal. As an example, you may have kids or grandkids one day who will ask you questions about your life when you were younger.
This year — 2020 — has been a year like no other in recent history. There have been unthinkable hardships and many hidden blessings. There have been altered schedules, hard sacrifices, crazy emotions, and lessons learned. You will thank yourself one day if you take the time NOW to record your thoughts and roller-coaster emotions from this year.
This is exactly why I decided to create a 2020 Quarantine Journal with 50 prompts and 10+ thought-provoking quotes. I am using it myself, and I wanted others (like YOU) to also have a chance to use this valuable tool to record what you’ve been feeling this year.
It doesn’t even matter if you “finish” it by December 31st — the prompts will help jog your memory and allow you to get the important things down on paper. Because I know that sometimes our brains need breaks and diversions to get through some of the hard emotions, I’ve also included a few therapeutic coloring pages and Sudoku puzzles, along with my favorite comfort-food recipe!
The Journal is in .pdf form and I’m keeping it super-simple to purchase:
- Just Venmo me $7 — @Leica-Merriam
- Include the words “2020 Journal” and your best email address in the description.
- I will email your journal in .pdf format to you within 24 hours!
- Print out your journal, put it in a binder, and begin recording all the amazing ups & downs of 2020!
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings