Maybe you’ve dipped in and out of journal writing like one does dipping ones toes into water to test the temperature.
You are not alone.
There are many reasons why people don’t start or keep a journal – and it’s rarely because they don’t see the value. Rather, they listen to their ‘Journaling Fears’.
Journalling fears are stories we tell ourselves about journaling that stop us from starting or maintaining a journaling practice. Everyone has a story about writing a journal. Yours might have started from a past experience or what you’ve heard others say about writing a journal. Maybe you had to write a journal for school that other people read and that didn’t feel safe. Or they corrected your spelling and punctuation? It might be that the journals of Virgina Woolf and Anais Nin seem to have set the bar too high.
These are the 5 most common fears people have about writing a journal:
- “I need the perfect notebook!” Not true! Your journal can be written on anything. It can be notes in your phone, it can be in an app, it can be in a ring binder.
- “I need to write everyday!” A journal is not a diary. You choose when and how often you write. It might once in a blue moon, it might be whenever you are in the mood, it might be only when you need clarity or to explore a concern, it might be when you feel full of gratitude or joy, it might be first thing in the morning or last thing at night…the choice is always yours.
- “I need to write well!” When we write in our journal we don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, a well-constructed sentence and so on. Some entries might be stream of consciousness, others might be mindful reflections or notes to self. You might slowly or quickly. But there’s no such thing as getting it right. There’s just ‘writing’ in whatever way feels just right for you.
- “I need to have time!” You can write your journal in teeny-tiny snippets of time if you have a busy schedule. You might simply make a bullet list. And there may be times when you can settle in for a longer writing session. There are no rules around timing.
- “It’s too much writing!” Journaling isn’t just about writing. Journals can include anything that helps you get your thoughts out of your head, including doodling, collages, drawings, lists, stick figures, image boards, whatever you want.