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How To Start A Personal Journal

How To Start A Personal Journal
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People hold back on keeping a journal. They've gotten the idea that it's not enough if what they write helps them. They feel it has to be "good writing" to be worthwhile. My training and life experience begs to differ; it's about the process NOT the product. And, no one has to see what you've written anyway. Your journal is your own private world. Start one and enjoy the ways a journal can help you change, grow and learn about yourself.

I share my journals, and the ways they have helped me, with others. I share messy pages, unfinished entries and senseless ramblings. People realize that journaling isn't about being a great writer. They see that you can make mistakes, cross out, erase, rip out and coffee stain the pages of your journal. Now they're ready to ask the question, "How do I begin keeping a journal?" If you're ready to ask this question, please consider these six steps to get your personal journal started:

Step one is "Find a Journal That Works for You." Entries can be kept in loose leaf binders or in fancy leather bound sketch books. Some people like a book they can rip the pages out of. Others like pages they can draw on and write on too. Some keep their entries in a folder on their computer desktop. Pick what works for you. There are no rules here.

Step two is "Select Your Writing Tools Carefully." This step may seem trite, but I've found that it can be a stumbling block for some since the act of writing requires physical effort. I prefer felt tipped markers: they slide across my writing surface. My fingers don't cramp and writing for a while is effortless. Pencils are fun for sketching but are laborious when it comes to writing a five page entry. If you can't write fast enough to keep up with your thoughts you might want to use the computer for your entries? Pick the tool that's right for you.
How To Start A Personal Journal
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Step three is "Get Some Ideas." The internet is filled with journaling ideas. Try doing a search of related terms and phrases such as journaling, journal writing or keeping a journal. Some advanced search terms such as spiritual autobiography or spiritual memoir will direct you to suggestions for entries. Find books that warm you up to the process of journaling right inside your local bookstore or online bookstore. Look around and find ideas to get you started.

Step four is "Read the Life Stories of Others." A memoir or an autobiography is a life story retold. These retellings are really collections of entries that have been weaved together. Reading some compilations will give you possible starting points and destinations for your story. It is always helpful to see how other people have done what you're about to do. This step is a golden opportunity to learn from others.
How To Start A Personal Journal
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Step five is "Remember that You Can Keep Your Story Private." If you're intimidated by the idea of keeping a journal this is a valuable step to remember. NO ONE has to read what you have written. It really is enough if what you write is helpful for you. Everyone who keeps a journal doesn't make it public. In fact, most prefer to keep theirs under lock and key! There is no shame in wanting a place that is only for you! Stay focused on the process involved in writing your entries; finding clarity, better understanding yourself and growing personally all have intrinsic value. Keeping a journal is good enough even if it is only good for you! You never have to share.

Step six is "Start Writing." This step may be hard at first but in a short time you will find that it comes naturally. Get over the hump and move that pen across the page! Everyone has to start somewhere. Write a summary of your day, list your feelings about a person, describe an event or write a letter to someone you'd like to forgive. Fill a blank page with something even if it is just a sketch and a few words. Whatever you put to paper is a start; you have written your first entry!

Journaling is a tool that anyone can use to explore their internal world. It's a great resource for people who are looking for a new way to jump start their own personal, spiritual and emotional growth. Don't hold back! Enjoy the process of writing about what helps you. Change, grow and learn much about yourself. Keep a journal.

by: Alisa Clark

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