I am late to the game of journaling. As a matter of fact, I started on July 8th, 2019. I had been told this would be helpful for organizing my thoughts and for understanding where I wanted to go while entering my retirement.
Since that time I have written my morning notes as soon as I get up, only once missing the day. We woke up late and had to leave as soon as possible. We were getting in the car when I remembered and raced back to get the exercise book and my pen. The journaling started a few hours later.
Most of the people I have read with opinions on journaling suggest you write first thing in the morning. Your mind is fresh and you tend to have unfettered ideas. I feel you’d best do what works for you.
I get up at 6 am, luckily I am a morning person, and lately, have been waking just before the alarm. I pour myself a cup of coffee. Thanks to my husband for setting it the night before to come on at 6 am I have freshly brewed coffee. I, in return, peel an orange for him. I take the coffee, an energy bar, and go to my desk to write in the exercise books I buy for this purpose.
I put the date of the first journal on the outside of the exercise book and when I finish the book I add the final date and put it away. Some people say they would worry that someone might read their thoughts and they would always self censor themselves.
The point of journaling is to not censor thoughts but to let your thoughts freely come. Your subconscious has been working all night long and sometimes has something important to tell you.
Handwriting, Left or Right
My lack of handwriting skills is not something I usually am glad of. I think I might have been left-handed when I was a child but was made to write with my right hand. I can write with either hand and unfortunately, I write poorly with both.
I am old enough to be in the group (Boomers) that when you went to school if you wrote with your left hand, your hand was smacked and the pencil went to the right (correct) hand.
The first time I realized I wasn’t just clumsy but maybe working with the wrong hand, was as a student nurse in the operating room. I loved working there. I would anticipate which instrument would be needed before the surgeon asked for it. One night a patient came in for emergency surgery.
I volunteered to scrub in. I hadn’t done this surgery before and set up the tray the way I thought it would need to be done. The surgeon (a southpaw) looked up and said “thank goodness I got a left-handed scrub nurse.” I looked around to see who he meant. Me! That must have been also why I couldn’t sweep correctly according to my parents
At this point in my life, I don’t worry about my writing skills or the lack thereof. Since most people can’t read my writing I don’t worry myself with them understanding what I write. I also simply let whatever is on my mind flow to the page as I think of it.
One of the things I worried about was getting started. Like a lot of people, I just need to get going and then the words will flow. I set a timer for 23 minutes. If the timer goes off and I’m not done I have been dawdling. Most times I have a minute or two to spare.
I found early on that it seemed to help by stating when I went to bed and when I got up and if my sleep was good. Now, that is always how I start my writing as a way to get going.
I write three pages double spaced (so I can read my writing) and when I finish I write tomorrow’s date at the top right-hand corner of the next page.
I try to write what I want to do that day and how I will do it. I sometimes chastise myself and sometimes praise my self.
Take the Time
Anne Frank said, “Paper has more patience than people.” and she is right. I have been trying to be a little kinder to myself and I start with the writing in my journal.
I have taken to writing ‘we will see’ after I make an intention in the journal. It may or may not happen but I am thinking about it and I know myself. I will need a bit of time to cogitate and decide how I will go forward and that is okay.
Sometimes when I finish writing in the journal I realize things that have been bothering me and I haven’t been aware of them until I see them written in my journal.
I hop from subject to subject and am sometimes surprised at what comes out in this journal of mine.
So, should you start journaling? It is all up to you and how you want to look at your life going forward. This is also a way to get things done. A way to see what you want to do. It is a way to see the progress you’ve made … if you can read your writing that is.