After five years of journaling almost daily, I have figured out that formally dating the page every single day isn’t an obsessive compulsive behavior. Instead, it’s a method of getting into the flow of writing. There is rarely any hesitancy before I continue into the body of the entry.

Once the pen has written the day, date and time in long hand, it is simple to go on to other inane topics, and really that is what a journal is; a place for inane, judgmental, exploratory or introspective dreams, desires, loves, rants, rages, plans, grocery lists, to-do lists, tears or gratitude … it is for the ramblings of your mind on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter if it’s silly or sad, thankful or angry … it’s where your pen goes that day.

In my journal there are days and days of what I call list-making. I don’t have to worry about my kids reading my deepest darkest thoughts after I’m gone because they’d have to wade through my myriad tangents about what next week’s diet menu will be and what I’ll need to buy at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s (favorites!) to make it work.

The next week the brain might be focusing on remodeling something, so the journal will have a lot about how I want the bathroom or living room to look. Occasionally I go way far off the grid and write about knocking out walls and recreating the entire space, or design a grand landscaping scheme for the following spring.

I might go down the road of how I can further build my business, and I’ve been known to write a full page on the mosquito population that exploded in my backyard this past summer … a full page. So, do I think my kids will go through it page by page? Nope, I’m safe. They will die of boredom trying to find the good parts!

I think that a lot of people sit in front of a blank page and have a discussion with the Journal Judge sitting on their shoulder. The Journal Judge doesn’t allow for everyday thinking on the page.

Now that’s what my journal should be called: Everyday Thinking on the Page! Along the way I’ve crossed through some treacherous, emotional wrangling, and I’ve worked through some stressful situations, but in large part my journal is thinking on a page.

What I really love about the process is that it slows me down (I can only write so fast) and allows me to actually think things through, even if what I’m thinking through is how to schedule my day, which is a great stress reliever because I get somewhere by writing it out.
Kick the Journal Judge off your shoulder, write the long date and go ahead and make your list, schedule your day, dream a dream … have fun!

Next up:
Stress-free Journaling #2—Time and place, and don’t forget the coffee.
Stress-free Journaling #3—Can’t get the words flowing?

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Nancy O