Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why I Journal

I have written, sketched, collaged and doodled in journals for several years.  I remember when I was around 12 my uncle gave me a journal and told me he'd pay me $1 for each entry I wrote, up to $15.  I think I wrote 15 entries in just a few short days.  Nothing like having the motivation of getting paid to write!  That experience introduced me to the world of exploring my deeper self through words.  I wrote off and on for years.

About 10 years ago I read The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron and that's when I fell in love with what she calls "morning pages."  It's basically writing, as much as you can, first thing in the morning.  Writing without thinking about it. That was a new concept for me when I first started.  It was hard to not think.  But the more I practiced the easier it came.  My writings were filled with questions, reflections, confusions, frustrations, and celebrations.  The more I wrote, the more clarity I discovered.
After finishing The Artist's Way, I didn't write morning pages everyday, but I did visit my journal regularly.  My journals have become my old friends.  I can look back at them and see where I've come from.  I can see my struggles.  I can see my patterns.  I can see my fears.  I can see how I longed to be me, to live a life that was true to my nature, one where I felt alive, vibrant and free.

Through writing, I have created visual reminders in my journal.  I can return to them when I'm lost and confused.  I can trust them, and they help me awaken to that place that I know is always there.  I now can say I'm the happiest I've ever been, and I believe my journaling practice has helped me get here.
My journal used to be much more black and white.  I would paint and sketch from time to time, but mostly I loved the freedom of a simple black pen on white paper.  It's only more recently that I discovered my great passion and joy for art journaling.  I now merge my love of free-form (no thinking) writing, with my love for intuitive (no thinking) painting, to express a deeper side of myself.

I journal because it makes me feel safe.  I journal because it helps me build strength.  I journal because I discover new dreams.  I journal because it helps me find peace of mind. I journal because it gets me out of my head and connected to my heart.  I journal because I long to go deeper.  I journal to learn more about me and this life I'm living.  I journal to stay grounded.  I journal to explore my creativity.  I journal because it helps me remember that all of the answers I ever need in life are within me, and that I am right where I need to be in this moment.

Your Personal Reflection:  Do you journal?  If so, why do you journal?  If you've never tried journaling, what other forms of free-form, intuitive expression have you allowed yourself to explore?  
If you've always wanted to explore a deeper side of yourself, check out my upcoming e-course.

Go visit A Journey to a Simple Happy Life on Friday for your chance to win a spot in Inside Out!


  1. You've inspired me again!
    I once kept a diary, or a dummy in which I drew and wrote words. But this is the first time I hear of an art journal !..... Tomorrow I begin! !

  2. I started journaling when I was 11 or 12 years old. It has always been a great way for me to process the ups and downs of life. And it can be quite entertaining to see what major problems were at age 15 vs. age 30!

  3. Off and on for years and years, but not with any frequency in the past couple years. I want to, but I find that I draw blanks now ALL the time. This year is my effort to try and give it a serious go again. I bought the artist's way book a while back, and have barely touched it. I actually kind of forgot that I have it. Thank you for the reminder. With that, your e-course, and my own kick in the butt I hope I get it back!!!

  4. Thanks for your comments.
    Patricia-I left you the name of a great journal book to check out: "Journal Spilling" by Diana Trout

    Leigh-I know what you mean. It's really cool to see how we change over time! And then again, one thing that really got me out of my funk is to see that I was writing about the same things over and over again for years!

    Grown Hazy- I can SO hear you about drawing blanks when facing the blank page. I still do that. That is one of the reasons I started Inside Out - to give some simple creative sparks of inspiration to move us past that, or as you said, "to kick our butts" into gear. :)

  5. Wow!! Your words could've been written by me about the reasons you journal and what you get out of it! I don't really art journal though! Just haven't found my niche there! But you are spot when you talk about your journalling to discover and strengthen yourself! It's me-best-friend!

    Off now to check out your e-course, and see if I have the time!!

  6. Thanks for the reminder. After your course ended, I stopped journalling. Not sure why...but it sounds like a nice idea to get it back out!

    Have a great weekend Shannon!

  7. I'm the same as you---started journaling regularly with Julia's "Morning Pages" five years ago.

    And, same as you, once I was finished with the book, I didn't seem to get those pages done every day....

    But I still try. Sometimes there might be a long stretch with nothing, then I manage to keep at it consistantly for a nice string of days. They aren't morning pages all the time---they get done when I have time---but I am on my 20th spiral notebook.

    It is very interesting to read back and see what I was thinking years earlier. Sometimes it is the same thing I am still thinking....sometimes it is very different. Definitely a good way to see what changes you have went through...

  8. Great post! Beautiful entries. My blog is my journal. I do have a "regular" journal "5 things" journal. I had the intention of writing down 5 things I was grateful for each day. Maybe I should get back into the practice.

  9. I've kept a journal most of my life. At times it was sporadic. But the past few years it has been a fairly constant daily practice. I choose a new journal every Birthday so that each journal reflects a year of my life musings. Recently I've also tried art journalling - a mixture of messy ink & paint, magazine cutouts, thoughts & quotes. It fits with a lifetime of messy crafting endeavours & day dreaming.

    Suffering with MS I've become fed up of being a drug lab rat or being given contradicting advice. Three years ago I committed to my writing. But recently I wanted to try to create my own creativity well-being plan. I've just discovered CED2010 & feel so happy to have found people like yourself to share my creative journey with.

    Kat :-)

  10. Awesome journal page!!
    Your blog is cool. I just bookmarked it and I will be coming back! :)

  11. What a lovely poignant post! Thank you!

    I journal to hear what my spirit tells me to do.....i journal to pour out the grief, i journal to show what i'm grateful for........i LOVE art journaling!
    Love, Violette


Thanks for sharing!