How do you keep the momentum in your reflective writing practice? Is it mainly down to will-power? Or is it a well-ingrained habit?
If your journaling feels like it’s flagging, try these tips to give it a boost.
- Introduce a ritual
Journaling ought to be a choice rather than a chore. It offers some ‘time out of time’ – giving you valuable space to breathe and reflect and write.
As such it deserves its own ritual. For example, maybe your writing time is at the beginning of the day. In your writing space light a candle. Breathe deeply and sit quietly in meditation for a few moments. Set your timer for 10 minutes and take take up your pen. Either free-write or choose 3 or 4 prompts that speak to you and complete your daily entry. Thank your journal and yourself as you bring your entry to a close.
- Choose a theme
Perhaps you will choose to write your gratitudes, or the things you appreciate. Maybe select some positive affirmation prompts to help you write a new story of your life.
Alternatively you might list your values and select one per week to reflect upon each day. In the morning name an intention that will enable you to express your value throughout the day. Then, in the evening reflect on how well you acquitted yourself. But resist the temptation to judge! Give yourself a pat on the back or merely decide how to do better next time.
- Be present
Give yourself new awareness of your present self, your emotions and your environment by writing about what you can sense both physically and intuitively. Tune into your body and ask it how it feels. Notice how being present brings a sense of time expanding.
- Silence your inner critic
Give yourself permission to allow your pen to move across the page. Suspend all judgement about spelling or grammar or neatness. And certainly don’t think about whether you are presenting your best thoughts to the page. All this is a sign of self-censorship. Send your inner critic off to play on the motorway and get scribbling.
- Build a relationship with your journal
Treat your notebook as a trusted friend who is delighted to hear from you every single day. Thank it for being there, and for the qualities it reminds you of most. Occasionally invite your journal to write you a love letter, or a note of support and acknowledgement.
- Play with perspectives
It’s not always necessary to write in the first person. Sometimes if you have difficult things that you wish to express you might choose to write about yourself in the third person. This technique also enables fresh understanding and compassion for your actions.
Have fun revitalising your journaling practice with these suggestions. For more inspiration grab yourself a signed copy of The Journal Writer’s Handbook – while stocks last.