True to what I shared in my blog about stress, I’ve been taking a few days off from – pretty much everything. Its been wonderful and I highly recommend it. Recharging when your battery has run dry is the best thing you can do. I have embraced being a couch potato. Except for one thing: Journaling.
I have been keeping up with the Maple Journal Writing Month (#MaJoWriMo) adventure that Crys Wood is taking us on. I’m absolutely loving it!
If you are new to journaling or feeling the teeniest bit intimidated about joining in I thought I’d share a few Tips and Tricks. Ok they are actually more like the lessons learned that have served me well throughout a lifetime of journaling.
Years ago, while working on a project, I was ambushed by writer’s block. I mean literally I had nothing on paper and a deadline looming. I slinked into a meeting with my coach and practically wept that I was stuck. His advice has stayed with me ever since. “Chris, just sit and write. Even if you don’t use any of it, work on developing the habit of writing. In time, your voice and your thoughts will naturally come out. Until then, just write.”
Truer words have never been spoken. This is why I love the MaJoWriMo premise of get in there and put something in your journal even if it’s only one word. Any word is good. (Yes, swearing counts as a word.) We are on Day 9 and even though I tell myself daily “It’s only one word” there has yet to be a day that I don’t have more than that in Maple when I click Save. Give it a try. You’ll be surprised.
Hand in hand with that, be kind to yourself and don’t judge what you produce. Some days you will kill it. Other days you are going to phone it in. Writing Coaches may hate me for saying that, but it is the truth. We are not perfect and we do not chug out masterpieces each time we journal. Nor do we have to.
Yes, I know some journals have a purpose, and I’ll talk more about that in my next post. For now just remember that if you are having a bad day or get off to a slow start, beating yourself up about it won’t make journaling (or anything else for that matter) easier for you. Be patient. Accept that you are building your journaling muscle. Like any good habit it needs care and support.
For me, there is something wonderful and healthy about spending some time with my thoughts. I commented to the #MaJoWriMo adventurers that my journal always makes me feel heard and valued. Who doesn’t want to be heard and valued? It is a great feeling! Your journal is your space so treat yourself well when you are in there. High five yourself simply for making an effort.
All that said there may come a time when you are epically blocked. You can only journal “I have no idea what to write” so many times before deep seeded frustration sets in. To which I have this suggestion – look elsewhere for inspiration. There is no crime or shame in saying you need a nudge to get going. Plus, it’s your space so who but you will know you got a wee bit of help.
Maple even has a set of free thought starters, called Reflections. When you are stuck, this is a great starting point. For more variety, there are Reflection packages curated by other Maple Contributors, our very own Crys is one of them. Want yet another option? Check out Hannah Braime’s upcoming book, The Year of You. Imagine having 365 journaling prompts to keep you going!
My favorite part of the journaling adventure is where it takes you. The insight you cultivate about yourself, your world or anything else is what is important. How you got there or what started you on your way is less of a concern then where you land. If you need a nudge, go ahead and get one. Especially when you have so many great options!
There you have it. A few tips to keep in mind as you get going. And if you haven’t started yet don’t worry, it’s not too late. The MaJoWriMo adventure begins when you start it.
Today seems like as good as any. Go ahead, check out the journal feature in Maple and let the adventure begin.
#MaJoWriMo #MapleSomething #MeetMaple #LoveYourJournal
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