How I Harnessed The Power of Journaling to Self Publish Seven Books
I was SO stuck, all creativity stewing inside me with no way out. I felt like I was going to pop!
But I loved language and knew how to tell a great story, it just wouldn’t come out.
She teaches a process called The Morning Pages comprising three pages of free flow writing per day, no editing, no managing, just write.
I gave it a try.
It was a huge breakthrough as the mental storehouses of creativity opened and I’ve published at least ONE book per year for the last seven years, landed several copywriting clients, grew a romance Instagram channel, became a contributor to dozens of popular blogs and a writing coach and ghostwriter for several other authors.
I finally felt alive and on purpose.
The breakthrough was not just in journaling, but following the advice found in the Artist’s Way Workbook for at least 90 days.
I like to do everything digital on my iPad, so I found a PDF of the workbook online so I can keep it with me. Here’s the link if you prefer to do it the same way.
So I ask you, are you using one of the best, least expensive ways to gain personal clarity and emotional power?
That’s right, I’m talking about the power of journaling. Setting aside some dedicated time to meditate on and write about life not only helps you keep a record of your day-to-day and keep track of things you want to remember.
It helps you deal with troubling situations, ease worry about the future and get creative by flushing out new ideas buried under task lists.
Ever been to a business or personal retreat and notice they often provide a journal?
It’s not just for taking notes or drawing pictures.
Quieting our reptilian brain concerned with survival tactics of flight, fight or freeze doesn’t work in everyday life and journaling slows that process, allowing you to capture creative and helpful ideas.
Journaling is the number one tool to change our belief sets. But it’s one thing to want to journal, and another to do it.
We’re busy people, after all. You have a lot on your plate; I get it, so how can you dedicate time to plunk down and begin writing about your day, right?
The first step is redefining what journaling is.
I had this notion that to journal effectively I had to sit and write pages and pages of poetic language about my feelings. In actuality, journaling simply means taking quiet, undistracted time to think about your life. The next step is finding a habit that works for you.
When should I journal?
If you can set a daily time, that’s great. Mornings are best, but if you can keep it to the same time, it’s more likely to become a habit. Honor your own body’s schedule and when you’re most alert.
What should I write?
Begin with these 3 lists.
101 things of gratitude, abundance, etc.
101 things you want
101 things you need
You won’t get to the end of each list, but magic begins here and things unfold. You realize you don’t need as much as you think, which puts you in an impressive frame of mind.
Write in the journal: “I commit to this journal 10 min every day for 60 days until XX/XX date.”
Next you’ll need a few tips to get your pen actually moving. (and keep it moving)
Use this acronym, GAGA each day = Gratitudes, Affirmations, Goals, Attraction. Write through each of these items to get you going.
Do the same tomorrow and you’ll see it evolve over the next 20 days. An inspirational quote, anything you’re worried about, where you ARE and where you want to GO and see opportunities crystalize in your mind.
The next acronym to use is: BAGELS
What are the absolute things you MUST do today in your business? This will begin like a to do list and begin to emerge as more of a daily mission, providing inspiration to do the hard stuff first.
I base this upon the Eat The Frog principle from speaker, Brian Tracy, one godfather of motivation when he said, if you have something difficult to do first thing to avoid procrastination and minor troubles becoming bigger ones.
What attitude do you need to work on that will make you better at what you do? Where is the struggle and how will you conquer that challenge?
For the next 24 hours, you will be grateful for this ONE thing. Use your 101 things list.
Did you meet your behavior, attitude and gratitude goals? Where can you improve?
It will amaze you at just how wise you can become just by listing the things you’re learning through everyday living.
Celebrate yourself above all else. We move from one thing to the next faster and faster and rarely stop and breath in the small little success that gets us closer to what we want and who we are.
With goals, break them down to daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and for the year so as not to get overwhelmed.
Remember that goals should be SMART.
Realistic (or Relevant)
Write about your belief systems regarding health, money, success, business, relationships. Just free-flow writing can identify massive value in how you’re operating and provide a wonderful road map to your success.
In all of this writing, aim high! Yes, that’s right, aim bigger than you think. Start and let this evolve with what’s called the BHAG = Big Harry Audacious Goal. (I fully realize this post has a LOT of acronyms. Stay with me here!)
What should I journal with?
The easiest tool to journal on is the one you’ll actually use. There are beautiful moleskin journals with fine pens that look amazing to carry, some integrate with wallets and sketch pads while others will hold phones and iPads.
The one I recommend is the one that is most comfortable to use. For years I filled up dozens of mid-sized, Mead Five Star notebooks because they were only $7, came in various colors and folded over for easy writing and held a pen nicely. Viola!
Later I moved digitally, tired of digging through dozens and dozens of journals for ideas and tracking my results.
My favorite is Evernote (free) for its ease of use, integration of images, voice dictation and web pages. I use the premium version for $7 month and it allows me to sync across all three of my Mac devices (iPhone, Mac and iPad).
Lately, a new app has challenged Evernote called Notion for its ease of use and robust features, most of it free.
Other digital options are:
One Note (free)
Momento ($3.99 year)
Day One ($4.99)
Simple Note (free)
Some argue that for journaling to work the mind needs to connect to the handwritten form of writing versus typing. I get that and yet, have a hard time turning loose of my digital convenience.
I do all my journaling on my iPad Pro using the digital pencil inside an app called Notability — I also did the Artist’s Way Workbook inside of the app.
Other helpful tips:
If starting on a blank page feels daunting, rely on the acronyms above or create a template.
One of my favorites is the Gathering Momentum worksheet by Jessica Mullen, which is full of great ideas to focus your thinking at the beginning of your day. Print out a dozen, place them in a binder, and fill it in each day over your morning coffee or tea.
Brilliant and full of Soul Gold!
I watch people use journaling to calm their anxiety, track their progress in relationships and step into mindfulness by placing concerns and worries on the paper versus taking up valuable mind space.
Begin writing, don’t wait or worry. There is magic inside of you!