The Riverside: A Writer's Resource


Journaling = The Joy of Writing


Journal writing is the most effective and least expensive means to self-help, self discovery, stress management, relaxation and so much more. Why journal? Perhaps the most basic reason to journal is to record the daily events in our lives, but even this has many motivations. We journal because we are driven by an inner desire to explore and express our thoughts; we journal because we care about our interpretations of life, even if we think no one else cares. We journal because we love to write; and we journal simply because….


Lots of times people journal because they want to create a legacy for their children or grandchildren. Sometimes people journal because a therapist or minister told them it would be good for them. In some cases, people start to journal because they are facing a crisis in life and the process of writing calls them into reflection. Whatever your purpose or desire, it is likely you have faced a book of blank pages with wide open eyes only to close it without venturing in. If you have ever wanted to journal, but have felt intimidated by the blank page, this message is for you: its time to befriend yourself – get cozy between the pages!


So often when we want to start journaling, we think we need to create a well-crafted book of our deepest and most profound thoughts. What an overwhelming task!


You can go out and buy yourself a really pretty journal, determined that having the right stuff will make it easier, but then what happens? You think your new supplies are too nice to mess up with your blank thoughts. This time, take a more simple approach: start with a cheap spiral notebook. Start with the sentence “I am thinking of…” You may not have any idea what you are thinking of except that you are thinking you have nothing to write. That’s OK – write that. Fill the page with nonsense if you have to, just fill the page. 


Understand that journaling is a process, not a finished product.

Let your journal be your friend and then dialogue with it just as you would your best friend. Use your journal for your grocery lists, “to do” lists, lists of dreams and disappointments. Don’t be afraid to make “mistakes” in your writing, rather embrace them with the wild scratches of your pen and then move on. Go ahead, let your inner critic rake you over the coals, and then tell her off. Debate yourself until the battle is won.


Journaling will open the flood gates of your mind. It may not happen immediately, but stick with it and you will surprise yourself with the hidden treasures from your very own soul. Someday you will no longer be silenced by the blank page.  Someday you will buy a beautiful journal where you can display the small epiphanies and vivid images that stirred your soul. For today, however, just write something!