Thursday Thought: Time and Keeping a Journal

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

When I recommend keeping a journal to students, family, or friends, I prepare myself for the typical response. “I don’t have time.” I have armed myself with quick and easy ways to help them get started and see that a journal doesn’t have to take up huge amounts of time to be fulfilling. But if someone stays on target and journals a small amount on a regular basis, it’s very possible they will need more and more journaling and then what? It’s a kind of viscious cycle that produces positive results but we should have reasonable boundaries in place so the journal doesn’t interfere with the goal of having a life and a successful career.

Journaling is suitable to anyone’s predicament. Because there aren’t any real rules, just helpful guidelines, it can be a win-win situation. Unless we become obsessed with keeping a journal and that’s where setting journal boundaries in the beginning is helpful.

We only have so much time in a day. In yoga we believe we are gifted with a finite number of breaths to breathe in a particular physical life time. When those breaths are exhausted, we leave one body for another body until we have breathed enough to be enlightened. Everyone requires a different number of breaths to get to this point, but suffice it to say time and breathing are finite resources that are very, very important.

Setting healthy limits for journaling disallows us to go overboard and journal more than we produce in other areas of life. It prohibits journaling from distracting us from the lives we are supposed to be living. It also makes journaling very do-able for most people. Set time limits and page limits that suit your particular needs. Here are some practical ideas to setting healthy, productive boundaries to successful journal keeping:

1.Choose a format with built in space definitions and decide ahead of time how much space a journal session will cover. For me, I have a large sketch book with blank pages without lines. On weekdays I write or draw or whatever on one page per day max. Weekends I spend more time with preparing pages with paint or collage pictures and write as many pages as I need to because I have more time.

2.Set a time limit by writing to a particular track on a music CD. Open the journal, start the music, and write. When the music is done so is the journaling. Not finished with a thought? Perfect! That’s a built in place to pick up the next journal session and it’s one less thing to come up with to write about.

3.An index card a day is a fun and challenging way to keep a journal and organize it. Try colored index cards for more inspiration. Monday=blue; Tuesday=pink; etc.

What agreement do you have with journaling so you can keep on target?

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing,

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous. Bob Mayer Jenni Holbrook Kristen Lamb Inspiration for Writers, Inc. Natalie Markey

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Be well, write well.