A Journal Writer's Journaling and Blogging Dilemma
You've heard about the book, Letters To A Young Poet by Maria Rainer Rilke? Well yesterday I received an email from a reader which posed two interesting questions about journaling and blogging. Here's a fuller version of my response to the letter I wrote back.
Yesterday I received an email message from a reader who asked me the following two questions:
How often do you recommend journaling? I have written in journals in the past but felt my writings were becoming mundane especially if I wrote daily when living a life that - well - wasn't very eventful!
I created a blog about two years ago and have had some fairly successful posts. Readers have encouraged me to write more. My dilemma is similar to my journaling one - What do I write about? I am always waiting for an inspirational event but I fear losing readers in the time lapse.
It was the kind of email I would get out of bed at 4am to answer. Luckily I clocked it at a decent hour to get up and immediately wrote a response. As I wrote my response I felt a bit like the poet Rainer Marie Rilke writing in the book Letters To A Young Poet who seeks his wise counsel. I had no idea of the age of my reader but the advice is applicable to all ages.
I was so inspired by these two questions that it felt right to turn this into a blog post and share with a wider audience. This is a common challenge for many people and with the new year only hours away I’ll shed some light on how to rise above this journaling challenge in the new year. So here goes.
How often to write in your journal is debatable and not fixed
There is no right or wrong way to keep a journal. Everyone will have their own journaling relationship and my journal writing habits have varied over the years. Overall I write in my journal at least five times a week. I have been doing so for over twenty-five years and it is now a fully ingrained habit. Trust your own rhythm and flow. If it’s weekly then allow that to become your rhythm.
Benefits of Journaling
I feel undone when I don't write in my journal. It helps me to think better, clarify my thoughts and process ideas, work and writing projects. It's a way I manage my stress and anxiety that I recently began suffering from. There’s so much research on the benefits of journal writing just check out my book 49 Ways To Write Yourself Well http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/278-5472456-6835842?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=49%20Ways%20To%20Write%20Yourself%20Well It’s packed with journal writing prompts and exercises of things to write about.
What To Write About
My journal jottings are a combination of personal feelings and emotions, reflections on experiences and activities that happen during my day or the week, shopping and to do lists and is a place where I write drafts for projects, articles you name it. I also write down quotes and poems that inspire me as I come across them in my journal and I also stick down images and what I refer to as Visual writing prompts http://www.jackeeholder.com/writers/visual-writing-prompts/
I write and publish loads of articles and blog posts about journaling on the internet and I love it. It's become my niche simply by following my passion and keen interest in journaling. I’m curious about what it is you love or have a deep interest in?
Keep writing and the writing will lead you. It’s like going on a walk. You never know what you will discover. Writing is both a mystery and an oracle of revelation.
Anyway I bet you don’t lead an uneventful life. Your writing will uncover much that is hidden deep inside you and if your life really does feel uneventful writing will help you discover what would give your life more sparkle. I write a lot about the ordinary moments in life and not just about the drama’s and the heart aches.
My journal is literally a workbook of my inner and outer life all in one place. It is so much more than who people think I am and how I present and share myself. It’s a documentation of the real me where I am the author.
Different Types Of Journals
In the past I’ve kept a separate journal for my business as a writer and a coach and that worked really well. Only problem was my bag got too heavy with carrying around too many books so I retreated back to one journal! I’m finally appreciating the vast possibilities and creative digital journaling apps that are available too. I find writing in different mediums stimulating.
One Word Journal Entries
Sometimes life is way too stressful and I can only manage one word or a few sentences in my journal. These to me are still valid and valuable journal entries that I often go back to and flesh out at a later date. So much can be captured and expressed in one word.
I use writing prompts a lot as a way of coaxing my inner writer onto the page. I often feel before I start writing that I don't have anything to say but I am always surprised and amazed by what emerges once I get going with a writing prompt.
To help bypass this challenge of what to write about I created the Journal Journey Guidebook that contains over 100 journaling prompts and quotes. You'll always have things to write about now.
Download your free copy here
The New Year is a great time to recharge and refresh your journal writing so I created a list of New Year writing prompts to kick start your journal writing in 2015. Here’s the link http://www.jackeeholder.com/coaching/handmade-new-year-journal-prompts/
You can also listen to this podcast interview where I am a featured guest on the panel discussion on Looking Back and Looking Forward and sign up for the Journal Kit to look back and look forward in your journal for the New Year
I think it is great that you’ve been receiving positive comments on your blog. I decided to turn off the comments on my blog and focus on producing content. Again I am amazed at how many people do read what I write as they email me at my website.
To have people comment and encourage you at this early stage is a great affirmation and sign to keep producing. I don't think we ever know what blogs will move our readers. I believe ultimately our job, as the writer is to simply show up. But I have noticed how fulfilling I find it when I finish and upload a post how that builds my self -esteem and inner confidence as a writer and this is where the juice lies. Explore these questions in your journal:
·How do you feel about the process of writing?
·What inspires you to write?
·What topics do people comment on most on your blog?
·If you were given an exclusive book deal to write a book what would you write about?
·Set a timer for 5 minutes and make a list of every and anything you’d love to write about.
I do take my journal everywhere so I am never lost for things to write about. On social occasions I write on notes on my iphone. I write on public transport, parked up in my car, waiting in-between appointments. Nowhere is off limits for writing. I wrote my response to you parked up in my car as I was waiting for my favourite café to open this morning. When I write in café’s it doesn’t feel like I’m working and my inner critic goes to sleep with boredom.
·Where do you like to write?
·Where else could you be using as a writing space?
·What inspires you?
Recommended Journal Writing Books
I have hundreds of writing books in my book collection that have become my writing mentors. Here are a few of my recommendationshttp://www.jackeeholder.com/coaching/gift-someone-a-blank-journal-this-christmas/
I would recommend adding two or three from the list to your personal collection that you can turn to for writing inspiration and motivation when you feel stuck. I find the books on the list so helpful.
Hope this all helps. You seem ripe for a year of unravelling on the pages of your journal.
Sending you seasons well writing wishes.