Thursday, 24 June 2010

Journal Writing Your Way

Over the years I have regularly explored different techniques for Journaling, and in the process have learned a lot. Sometimes, other people's journals inspire me; sometimes, a book on journaling becomes a great source of ideas. But what I continually notice is that despite best intentions to try include more visual methods (sketches, pictures, doodles), I inevitably go back to words. Not just any form of words - neat, paragraphed words. Sometimes there are lists too - and yes you bet, they are either bulletted or numbered.

It frustrates me at times because this one side of me wants me journal to be full of different things; I want spontaneous drawings in there and random doodling. But when I think about it carefully, it tells me that I am only journaling my natural way. I don't sit down every day, open my journal, and try to decide what method I should use. For the most part, I open the journal and I start writing.

When I am consciously trying a new technique then I would sit down and do just that, but every day journaling has to be spontaneous. It is not an assignment or a chore - it has to come from heart, not obligation. So however much I have tried to move on to other things, my natural method sticks with me. And though sometimes I rebel against its "sameness" - I like having my natural way.

What's your natural way to journal? What does your instinct push you towards?

I must point out that you should not confuse Fear of Trying with Natural Way. If you are doing the same thing again and again because you are afraid of exploring other avenues, then it's a problem. But once you have tried various things, and find one that suits you, that is you Natural way.

So share your journaling techniques, rituals, methods, or just madness....


  1. I write in neat paragraphs too in tiny writing. Occasionally I'll do a sketch or a mindmap but most of all it's neat paragraphs - that's the quickest way for me to journal.

    When I'm writing my hand's just trying to keep up with my brain and the fastes way it knows is to do the method I'm most used to. Maybe if I was an artist or was used to drawing characitures I would do quick sketches.

  2. Wow. I completely relate to this post. I've been trying to break free of my dated, paragraphed, signed entries by loosening the tie a little - but only with moderate success.

    Have you seen the book Wreck This Journal? I think I'm going to try some of the stuff in there just to force myself to explore new things.

    Also, for my next journal I think I'm going to try blank pages instead of lined - just to see if it helps change my perspective.

    Anyway, great post. Keep up the good work.

  3. Jade,

    I have come to the same conclusion that perhaps if I was more artistically inclined, I might do that in my journals. But I am a writer, so it's only natural I should use words.

  4. Dave,

    I am not against paragraphed, neat entries. I just wanted to try different things.

    I have got "WRECK THE JOURNAL" but I have found that wrecking a journal is completely against my natural, and I don't find destruction creative, so I am using it in my own non-wrecking manner ;)

    Following your line of thoughts, I have also used several blank journals in the past, and while they certainly feel freer in terms of occasional doodling or pasting pictures, overall, for me, I think it's more to do with the fact that I like neat writing. Or if I draw, I like perfect, beautiful drawings - which I am not good enough to do, so I stick to what I can do.

    I know journals are not supposed to be about perfection, but they are supposed to be a reflection of our personality, and if we like perfection - it will pass on. :-)

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.

    I will be glad to know how you find WRECK THE JOURNAL experiment.

  5. Jade,
    Ever since I discovered there was such a thing as art journaling, I've looked at magazines and blog posts about it. I happen to be an artist using mostly pencil and charcoal, but I've never incorporated that practice into my journaling. I prefer words; I always have much to write about. I cover so much in a day, I don't feel like I have the time to branch out into other forms.

    I feel like we're on the same 'journaling' page. :)

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring
    Host/Moderator of #JournalChat on Twitter

  6. Dawn,

    That's really interesting that despite being an artist you find it comfortable to use words in your journal. I figured that for artists, they could perhaps describe whatever they wanted to through their art.

    Thanks for posting the Twitter link. I didn't know about the Journal Chat. Will go and follow you now :-)

  7. funny that I shoudl stumble across this when I have been journaling like crazy .I have kept a journal for decades now but I love art journaling
    and keep a separate ones for painting,collaging
    etc.. I just cant seem to put the words with my
    regular journal I think for me this is just natural

  8. My journaling is sporadic but I have come to believe that is my natural way. I do like lines in my journals althougth I have been working in a moleskine reporter's pad journal lately, trying something new.
    Some of you mentioned Wreck this Journal. I did an online group project with this and found it to be so against my nature. I ended up throwing the whole thing in the trash. I like to color outside the lines but not too far out.

  9. I've kept a word journal for ages. A couple of years ago I started adding images and "stuff." Now I have several journals: one dedicated to morning page journaling (mostly words), and a few dedicated to visual journaling. I am interested in increasing visual journaling as it touches my creative side. I found "Wreck This Journal" to offer ideas for visual journal pages, but can't really conceive of "wrecking" it.