Each week(ish) I will share a journaling prompt at the end of the Fool Hearted essay.
Feel free to use these guidelines to explore your own journal-writing practice.
Find a pen you like writing with, that has a good feel to the paper.
Write around the same time every day, if possible. Make a ritual of it.
Set a timer for 5 - 20 minutes, if you get carried away, keep going!
Write continuously for the allotted time, doing your best to not pause - this is when the critic comes in! If the critic does come in, go ahead and let them get on the page too. Then keep going.
The form of writing could be journaling, poetry, conversation with someone or something, it’s up to you. Or you could write a letter to your younger self.
There is no wrong or right. It’s simply an exploration.
It gets relatively more comfortable with practice. (And depending on the day.)
I’ve kept a journal consistently for the past 30 years, since I was a teenager. My parents’ garage and my apartment are filled with boxes of them. I’m actually not quite sure why I keep them. Perhaps because they feel almost like a part of me, some sort of vital organ. Maybe one day I’ll burn them! Who knows?
Other than the ritual of writing first thing every morning (after I make coffee), I don’t have a strict journaling method, per se. Most of the time it's a stream of consciousness. (Like a clearing out of the bowels.) Other times I write a letter to myself from my “higher” self , or from my inner parent to my inner child. This is particularly helpful in soothing some self-doubt, anxiety, or angst. Some days I write down a gratitude list. And sometimes it’s a poem. Other times I jot down descriptions of sounds, sights, sensations happening around me.
My journaling is fool-hearted in the sense that it has no particular end purpose. It is rarely shared with anyone else. There is freedom to express the things I don’t necessarily wish to say out loud to another person. (I’m sure it’s saved me, at least partly, from saying some regrettable things.)
Journaling is a long-standing human practice. It’s a way of shaping stories from our perceptions and experiences in this particular human form we call a self. In my experience it is fun, healing, and grounding. So, from that inspiration, I offer some suggestions and prompts at the end of some of my Fool Hearted essays for you to explore the practice of journaling.
I’d love to hear about your experience. And if you write something you’d like to share, I would love to read. Send an email!