Journaling - a mirror for the Soul

While you might use journaling for any number of purposes, some people keep a separate journal for each different purpose, and some use one journal with different sections in which they write about specific things. They have a section for personal reflection, another for ideas related to their work, another may consist of a collection of special words and phrases they come across and might later want to use in their writing.

Among other things, my journal contains quotes from a number of books I have read that, at the time, I thought were particularly worth noting or remembering for their own sake, but also for possible use in some later project.

Journaling can be spiritual

“A journal is a tool for self-discovery, an aid to concentration, a mirror for the soul, a place to generate and capture ideas, a safety valve for the emotions, a training ground for the writer, and a good friend and confident.”

Ron Klug

Keeping a journal with the notion of one day turning it’s contents into a book is a very specific purpose for which you might want to develop some general guidelines for yourself. For example, if you have at least a loose outline of a planned book you might categorize sections in your “Book Journal” accordingly, and write down pertinent thoughts, quotes from other sources, or just ideas.

Chronicling every day’s activities is diary keeping; it is not journaling. Yet, writing in your journal on a regular basis is a good idea. The process should, however, not be so structured and scheduled that the commitment creates pressure. Journal writing is more about free writing than record keeping.

I like to keep my journal with me, especially if I am anticipating breaks in the day or an activity when I will be waiting or "killing time" for any reason. I enjoy the process of writing in quaint little cafes and out-of-the-way, tranquil spots in parks, shopping malls, or wherever I am when the mood strikes me and I have the time. Whether I have five minutes or an hour or two, I indulge myself.

At the end of the day, avoid a lot of rules around your journal writing. The only guidelines you really need to heed should be to do with your personal reasons for keeping a journal(s) in the first place, then get started.

Grab your journal and:

• Reflect on events and ideas you’ve recently had and explore your feelings about them.
• Clear your mind through writing and, while doing so, deepen your understanding of yourself.
• Heal yourself.
• Search for spiritual or religious clarity in your life.
• Have a conversation with God.
• Indulge in a little poetry or creative writing about life whenever the notion strikes you.
• Look at the events of your life differently and possibly improve the way you react to them.
• Let your journal writing be your writing practice.

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