When journaling isn’t enough

It’s been a time – two weeks in fact – of scattered, unfocused thinking and desultory journaling. Even my brand new journal with song-birds on the front has left me uninspired – making me wonder whether their characteristic flitting and pecking has been part of my problem.

Realising I’d filled over 20 pages of my new notebook without acknowledging it and reintroducing myself, I tried the Dear Journal exercise. Predictably I got quite a ticking off from my inner guide. At one point she told me “It’s not generally my style to give you a bollocking but the amount of day-dreaming and unproductive moping you’ve been doing has got beyond a joke.” Ouch.

But still my writing felt like it had no meat. No juice. Plenty of whining but nothing insightful.

Avoiding sentences beginning with I didn’t work. My inner critic just taunted me instead with a sneering ‘we- know- what- you’re- doing’ remark.

With things still feeling knotted and tangled, distinctions were what I needed, to sift through all my commitments and tasks and to try and see the wood for the trees. But a list wasn’t going to cut it, there was too much going on. So I resorted to mind-mapping. Thank goodness. Shift began.

Exhausted last evening I could only manage to read a few pages of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men before sleep took over. But today, feeling refreshed, I took myself off for a walk in the beautiful town centre park near my home. I met a journaling friend and we shared some great ideas, then took a stroll to look at the trees, plants, flowers and wildlife. Gradually I felt clarity returning. My body began to smile again, and this evening, after a lovely dinner and a refreshing glass of wine, I’ve finally managed to return to this blog post, which is now in its fourth iteration after as many days. It’s a great relief to think that shortly I’ll be pressing the Publish button on it.

What I’ve learned from all this reinforces the advice I give in The Journal Writer’s Handbook: that sometimes on our voyage we need to find safe moorings and replenish our stocks. That sometimes journaling isn’t enough. For me this time I needed to reconnect with the trees and the squirrels and the birds, which, sure enough, just sat and sang.

Blossom in Old Town Gardens


Filed under Journal Writing

5 responses to “When journaling isn’t enough

  1. Jackie

    What a lovely post! You made me smile – I think we have all been in that same place some time or other…….

    • Hi Jackie I’m glad this one made you smile! Much as I love journaling and hold it as one of the most important activities in my life it’s not a panacea, and it cannot be sustained, as I cannot, without connecting with people, places, music and nature around me. And you’re right – I think this is something we all need more of too. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Revisiting Juliet and in June and July I found mind maps quite useful. My journalling practice is certainly out of kilter recently. Likewise I visit our local park to touch base but the rain has scared me off. Hope all is well with you 🙂

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