Journaling is not a new concept, but it seems to have made a more mainstream appearance in recent years. Especially in terms of wellbeing. Possibly because, as a population, we are more focused on being in tune with our thoughts and managing our minds, which journaling can absolutely help support.
You may be familiar with the “Dear Diary” form of journaling where you write down, almost like a letter, what happened to you over the course of the day. While this is a useful and valid form of journaling, today we are going to focus on a different format.
That is, Creative Journaling.
What is Creative Journaling?
Creative Journaling is recording ideas, thoughts, feelings, experiences, images, phrases, or dialogue that you overhear that has an impact on you. It is not limited to your own experiences throughout your day, like the classic diary format, however this information can most certainly be included. You might like to use your journal to collate other items too – photos, drawings, dreams, or all the above!
The idea behind a creative journal is that it is a motherboard, or headquarters, for every idea that might be useful in your creative endeavours, as well as a method to structure and formalise your thoughts.
There is no one way to write in your Creative Journal and you can certainly use it as a more traditional diary if that is helpful to you. You can use it for words, ideas, events or scenes that you hear and see. You can use it as a place to dump your feelings and a way of examining and getting to the bottom of those feelings – pinpointing what they could mean. Recording your emotions and reactions could be useful for two reasons. One, it is good for your mental health to better understand your feelings. Two, being able to tap into emotions and how they make people react is important when constructing a story or creative project.
If you think that having a journal might benefit you but you’re not sure where to start you could begin by carrying it around with you and jotting down everything that makes you laugh, or everything that makes you smile. You could use it any time you feel yourself get frustrated, or you could even just start by using it like a notebook, recording your to do lists. And expanding on tasks and experiences as you do them.
The one thing I’ve realised is that the beginning of a journal does not have to be like the beginning of a story – it doesn’t have to grab anyone’s attention – it is yours and yours alone. And it doesn’t have to be neat or structured (as long as you can make sense of it, that’s all that matters!) Its purpose (although not limited to) is for you to remember events, understand experiences and spur creative ideas for future reference. So, the content does not have to be perfect or well written in any way.
If you’re keen to hear more about journaling listen to this podcast by writer Sarah Werner. Sarah discusses why she journals, different ways to journal and she shares a story about just getting started. Which, let’s face it, is often the hardest part!
If this has sparked you to start a journal, do it NOW. Grab a notebook and just start writing whatever comes to mind. You might be surprised where it takes you.