I never kept a diary as a kid. I’d try for a few days at a time and then lose interest/stamina. It was only recently that I discovered the true benefit of a daily journal.
And what I mean by daily journal is one marble notebook page. That’s it. I played around with more, and then less, and one page seems to be my sweet spot.
My practice started after reading Writing Down Your Soul (just last year), but from what I’ve heard this style of stream of consciousness writing is what was recommended to boost creativity in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a book I still haven’t read. And she suggests, 3 pages.
In 2008, keeping a gratitude–I guess you could call it a–journal was life-changing. I wrote 5, and only 5, things each day that I was grateful for. I was steadfast for nearly two years, and to this day I attribute that practice to the dramatic shift in my perspective for the better.
Since I’m always asking my clients, “What’s coming up in your journal?” To which sometimes I get *crickets*, it’s really nice to have further scientific data backing my enthusiasm for the practice. (Eh, hem!)
The goal for my writing is the morning, after my meditation and stretch. Most days it looks like that, but I’ve also been known to be scribbling at midnight with Elisa grumbling in my ear.
I read one lesson in A Course in Miracles before I pick up my pen, so there’s always something to discuss. If I’m really lacking for material, I dive into my gratitude, which always gets me started.
And if I’m stuck with a problem, I just ask. It’s kind of like having a conversation with my higher self. The answers always seem to come from intuition, where I knew the answer all along anyway.
And that’s why I love this practice. It creates a channel and opens up the space, just like meditation. Plus, it’s a big shoutout to the Universe, “Hey, I’m listening. Give it to me straight.”
Ideas have space to blossom. Reoccurring themes (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, whathaveyou) are easily detected with room for discussion. Inspiration sneaks onto the page. And so much more.
On an ideal day I would have done all this without ever checking my phone. Shi-shi, brush the teeth, drink water (preferably 16 oz–lemon), meditation, stretch, CIM, journal. It’s about a 45-minute routine that I’m constantly tweaking, but I have my best days when I begin this way. It’s worth setting my alarm earlier if I must, and I often never need the nap I promise myself for later.
Coming from a sleep evangelist, that says a lot.
I leave you with this: Give me two full weeks, everyday–1 page. Draw pictures if you have to. I don’t care. Just give yourself the time and space with the blank page. They say it takes between 21 and 40 days to create a habit, but by two weeks–consistently–you’ll (at the very least) begin to see the benefit.
Kat Hurley is a transformational author, speaker and personal development coach, making over motivation @The Year of Magical Dreaming. For the full 411, visit kathurley.com, yo!