MAY 9, 2021
“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.“—Mina Murray
In 2018, I started journaling. I picked up a small notebook, and at the end of each day, I would write down my thoughts and reflections.
Three years down the line, I now feel the profound impact journaling has had on my life. It has given me clarity. It has given me direction. And it has given me a friend I can always pour my heart out to.
Journaling is powerful.
Journaling is life-changing.
Journaling is magical.
How can you tap into these powers?
That’s what this post is for! Read on!
What is Journaling?
We can talk about the benefits, the tips, and the tricks, but understanding what journaling means in its true essence will help us navigate around the concept better. Often, the dictionary meaning of a word is only its surface. It is only when you uncover the layers behind it that you understand it truly.
The same can be said about journaling.
In the literal sense, journaling means writing in a journal or diary to create a personal record of events, occurrences, and experiences. That is true, but we need to go deeper and uncover the layers that surround this word.
Journaling is not just penning down details about your day and writing your remarks on them. Then, we would have had no need for this word at all. We could very easily say that we are maintaining a log of our daily activities. And keeping a log isn’t an activity doesn’t always come under the list of things we enjoy. Logging is clerical work that even a machine can do for us.
But, when we journal, we don’t feel like we are simply maintaining a log. We don’t feel that we are doing clerical and unfulfilling work. Journaling often feels enlightening and energizing. A machine cannot journal on our behalf, and so can no one else.
Journaling runs deeper than maintaining a log. Much deeper.
What is the closest word you can link to journaling? The most obvious one is ‘journal’. Now, think of another word that begins with ‘journal’ and has a suffix. What can you think of?
The answer is journalism.
Journalism and Journaling are like humans and chimpanzees. Both of them are very different, and yet quite similar. Humans and chimpanzees both belong to the biological family of the “Great Apes” and share a common ancestor, but they are two distinct species with different characteristics. Journalism and Journaling are similar and have a common link but vary in the purpose they fulfill.
In journalism, a reporter or a journalist gathers facts on events that occur in the current time, analyses them, and shares them with the world. In articles that fall under the editorial and opinion section, solutions to solve a problem are also offered after the analysis. The purpose of journalism is to inform people about what is happening and how it affects them. Journalism makes people aware and gives them clarity.
Journaling is no different. The only factor that strikes the difference is, you play both roles. You are the journalist. And you also comprise the public that needs awareness.
Therefore, in journaling, you aren’t limited to maintaining a log of facts. The newspaper of your life consists mainly of the editorial and opinion sections. You are free to write about any thought you have, any suggestions you have, and anything you feel isn’t right. You can provide facts, analyze them, scrutinize them, discard them – you can do anything with them. It is your life. It is your newspaper. It is your journal. Your job is to express your thoughts.
In short, journaling is who you are, in a written form.
Why is journaling important?
Here’s the answer: Journaling creates awareness. Journaling guides you. Journaling allows you to fully express your deepest parts.
These are just some of the numerous benefits journaling offers you. But the best benefit journaling gives you is that it becomes your friend. Just like you have some journalists you trust and some newspapers you believe in, you have journaling to be your best friend. Your diaries and journals will listen to what you say. They will allow you to write down anything you want, and with that, they will start making way for clarity.
The power of journaling is beyond imagination. I have experienced it.
Even though I started all the way back in 2018, I only became a regular at it since September last year. On my birthday, I committed to writing every day for the next 365 days.
At first, I would write what my day had been like. Then, I started opening up to my journal and wrote whatever thoughts came to my mind at that time. When I was writing my first book, I would often reflect and ponder upon those thoughts in my journal. I would write in it when I felt confused. I would write when I felt lost, anxious and worried.
The magic is, as I penned down these cluttered thoughts and they appeared on the paper, I saw a lucid structure emerge. I was fully expressing myself with no restrictions. My mind wasn’t directing the pen; there were no interruptions. Even as the details about my confusions and problems drew to their conclusions, my pen would not stop. It continued to engrave the pages, and a solution appeared. No matter what I was stuck with, I always got one solution or the other that eased me and gave me clarity on how to move forward.
I recently started working on my second book, but I wanted to clarify my thoughts before that. So, I pulled out a few sheets of yellow paper and started writing everything I thought about my purpose and what I want to do in life. Then I focused on the “why” aspect of my desires. Through those few hours that I spent writing, I gained a lot of coherence. Now, I know my priorities for the year, for the coming quarter, for this month, then the next week, and finally, my priorities for today. I was able to scale from a goal 365 days ahead of me to something I need to work upon today.
And through this activity, I realized that I had crafted a simple and easy productivity system based on the hierarchical order of priorities, which I shared in this blog post. This was nothing short of hitting two birds with one stone!
As I said, journaling is powerful. I have come across many benefits – increased awareness, incredible insights, crystal-clear clarity and precision to name a few. To truly feel this power, you need to try journaling yourself. Only then will the answer to “Why is journaling important?” be apparent and evident to you.
How to start Journaling?
This step is the simplest. Here is a list of what you need:
- A pen
- A page or a notebook
- A mind
- A hand
That’s all. Observe the thoughts brewing in your mind. Hold the pen in your hand. Start writing your thoughts onto the paper.
That is easy as it gets! There is no friction. All you have is you, your life, and your journal. There are infinite possibilities you can tap into; this is the door and all you have to do is turn the knob and push it open.
Also, you don’t need to force yourself or feel bad when you break your consistency. It is best if you write every day. But that is something I too failed at in the beginning. As mentioned before, I first started writing in November 2018, only to let it go after two months. In April 2019, I started writing again, wrote for two months, and then again found myself writing after a gap of six months. I wrote for a few days and again left it until August of 2020. Only then did I begin journaling regularly.
Starting with this month, I have begun writing in the morning as well. Now I journal two times a day, and it’s even better!
All you need to know is that the journey won’t always be as easy as cutting through butter. You may become inconsistent; you may even fall behind. Anything can happen, but you need to just keep going, and the magic will miraculously unfold!
Feel the magic for yourself, come back to this post, and share your thoughts on the power of journaling! Let’s continue to inspire each other!
Partnering in your success, happiness, journaling, and growth,