A part of my morning routine—who am I kidding. I never have a normal morning. Never had and don’t see I ever will. As part of my morning wish, I like to journal. I’ve read about how people have done this throughout history, from Ben Franklin to Anne Franks.
I journal almost every day, sometimes at 9:30 am, sometimes at 3:30 pm. But I try to do it every day. Morningish.
The idea came from Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. She describes it in her book, The Artist’s Way. She suggests that, before you doing anything else in the morning, you sit down and write three pages longhand. Not on your laptop. Writing longhand helps you slow down and connect better with your thoughts.
Just let it flow. Don’t stop to edit or judge. This is for your eyes only. Just keep the pen moving.
Some of the benefits are:
- Writing longhand centers you and helps clear your mind.
- Over time, it will help you discover your creativity and the subjects you like to write about.
- It helps silence your biggest enemy, your inner critic.
- Makes you less anxious.
- Helps you come up with new ideas.
We already talked about how it doesn’t always start my day. My desired morning routine is to get a cup of coffee, sit down in the same room with my wife, read a little scripture on the years I’m not reading through the Bible, doing my journaling, read the paper.
Sounds great and this is what I started with. But over the years, it’s evolved into my own style/mess.
I cannot seem to NOT look at email, although I never get anything important. Then I have to look at some of my favorite blogs. Then I want to spend JUST A MINUTE on Facebook. Wait, the dog wants her walk. Madison wakes up. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
And, then, it’s three o’clock.
Although it’s difficult to make and stick to a routine, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. I do enjoy my journaling. It will get done sometime.
Cameron recommends three pages. That’s great but that often can take a while. Some days my little hand is just a going and I have plenty in a short time. Some days I have nothing or I go into my little mind and forget to write. Usually Madison thinks of things for me to do and there are several other interruptions. (Have I mentioned I have a dog?)
I’ve noticed on my shelves that the journals have continued to get smaller. You know the game, write bigger with larger margins.
Now, I do a mix of pages and time. After twenty minutes most days I need to be wrapping it up.
What do I write about? Nothing anyone could read. It’s usually a massive braindump. Like Snoopy, I start with the weather: It was a dark and stormy night. But it gets my mind going. Then I write about the previous day. Then whatever comes to mind.
This is just for me. I hear about people going back and reading them, and sometimes I keep notes and quotes, but mostly it’s just thoughts in my head that I’m getting out so I can look at them. It’s amazing how often I/we have thoughts that are just figments, wisps of mist, that we never take time to let them fill out.
Have I cured cancer? No, I don’t see a cure coming from me. But I have understood some things more clearly. And some worries that were hiding in the back of my mind were brought out and put in perspective.
One thing that I have started doing and that I enjoy is I end by writing five things that are reasons for gratitude. What am I thankful for that morning. Every morning, five things that I thank God for. And I have to be specific. Not just list friends, family, home, country, music. What specifically about that person, your job, or whatever. One day it was five things about God that really means a lot. Write out five specific things that really mean a lot to you right now.
To start a day with a clear mind and praise to God, that’s a pretty sure way to have a great day.
Are you journaling or thought about it? When is the best time for you?