Journaling 101

So many of us have dreams to do things that might seem out of reach and damn near impossible. Too often do we think that living the dream is some glamourous and beautiful thing.

Too often do we think that living the dream is some glamourous and beautiful thing. #amwriting… Click To Tweet

Well, I’m here to tell you that despite the pictures we post on social media; rarely do we share the true tale. No one understands the toil that’s involved with being an Artist. Very few will talk about the restless nights when we’re in our beds tossing and turning because the universe is trying to tap in some amazing idea that our conscious mind just won’t allow. Or the times when you’re with family and friends and as much as you want to be there physically, mentally and spiritually; you can’t.

Behind that great book, painting, photograph, script, song or play is an arduously tormenting passion that compels you to do something so scary it’s damn near insane.

Behind that great book...is an arduously tormenting passion that compels you to do something so… Click To Tweet

Living the dream is working so hard on a project that you forget to eat. There’s been weeks when I was working on my book nonstop; by the time I looked up it was Friday. Hair tangled like a bird’s nest because I haven’t passed a comb through it all week. Hoping I could tap into that lazy momma mode and give the kids PB&J sandwiches all week without them noticing. However, when your kids are used to fresh meals every day you get inventive with quick meals: buffalo wings, baked potatoes and a garden salad, baked chicken breast and some veggies but everything ends up looking Cajun!

I juggle different arts as you all are aware: Writer, Makeup Artist, and Photographer in training; sometimes there’s so much noise in my head, I find that I’m irritated and extremely sensitive. After I drop the kids off to school, the first thing I do is turn off the radio to allow my subconscious and conscious thoughts to become one.

I’ll share a secret, one thing in particular that helps me channel powerful, purposeful and creatively intentional thoughts is journaling. A friend approached me this week, “I feel burdened with torment and I just cannot concentrate.”

I’ll share a secret, one thing in particular that helps me channel powerful, purposeful and… Click To Tweet

I told her to write. You don’t have to be a writer to pen your thoughts. As a professional writer, I’m here to tell you that writing isn’t neat; it’s an ugly phase that somehow turns into something magical. If you’re clouded and you need guidance, I challenge you to journal.

Now, before you begin journaling, what is your, why. Be clear on your purpose. I have project journals—if I’m working on a book or a script, specifically for those ideas. At certain intervals in my life, I found this dark cloud constantly following me so I wanted to tap into positivity in effort to remove it so I started a gratitude journal. As a creative with ideas coming from everywhere, I needed a creativity journal to jot down all my insane thoughts—ideas for blogs, live broadcasts, statuses I’d like to post, or simply a poem I’m working on.

Do what makes sense to you.

When choosing a platform to journal, choose something that’s good for you. Here are some suggestions,

  1. We all have smart phones; if you’re team iPhone then you’ll be familiar with the “Note” app. Create a folder labeled, “Journal” and jot your notes. If you’re obsessed with order, label them by date. This way if you need to search for your thoughts on a particular day, it’s easy to do so. If you want to share this folder or add users to this folder, apple allows so many options. 
  2. My second suggestion for an electronic journal is, Evernote. You can download the app or use it on your computer. Once you’re logged in and connected to a wifi network, any changes you make will sync to all accounts that you’re logged in on. It’s pretty much the same as the first suggestion but it has a different look. Instead of creating folders, you will create Notebooks.
  3. Now, this question has been asked one too many times. “What type of journal should I purchase?” I’ve seen journals range from $4-80 and I have one thing to say when you’re making this decision. All you need is a book with blank pages. If you decide to go old school and grab one of those composition books, then do so. There’s no guideline to acquiring a journal.
  4. Know what’s comfortable for you. While leather journals are beautiful, I don’t like how they’re bound. (See first photo) Because the cover is so firm and attached directly to the pages, it’s normally difficult for it to lay flat. The second photo below, the journal doesn’t seem to be attached to the pages, so you should be able to lay this flat without any worries. If leather’s your thing, this is a great option.
  5. Spiral journals. Eh, I’m a weirdo. I feel like you shouldn’t have the option to erase thoughts from journals and a spiral journal gives you the option to rip the pages out and restart. When you first start journaling, it’s going to sound like gibberish nonsense but as time goes by; you’ll have something to reflect on. It helps with healing.
  6. Lastly, is my go to’s, hard cover journals. Because I’m a girly girl, I love things that are pretty. Give me a hard cover journal with a dope a*s saying or a pretty picture on the cover and I’m set! Some writers like the elastic loop closures, or magnetic closings—those little bells and whistles are fine but not necessary however I need something small enough for me to carry around, like a 5” x 7” but nothing smaller than that. My eyes are horrible, and I’m not about to strain my eyeballs trying to read or pen my thoughts. Again, find what’s comfortable for you.

Now, the way my OCD is set up, I’m particular about the paper. I hate papers that leak through when using a fountain pen. There were times I found the perfect journal but the paper was that vintage archaic type and I’d have to be careful with the type of pen or pencil I’d use. So I’ve avoided pens altogether and use a .5mm mechanical pencil. I’m weird; I know!

Another question people ask is, should I purchase a journal with writing prompts?

Now, the way MY mind is set up, I don’t care for those journals because I feel restricted to stay in confinements set by others. For instance, most of these journals are set up with new topics or writing prompts on each page so now, I’m forced to keep my words to a minimum. What if I’m moved to write more than a page? I’m inclined to scratch the topic that’s on the upcoming page? But, again, the way this OCD is set up; it won’t allow that.

With all of that being said, a few years ago, I hosted something on Twitter called, #DropAline.

#DropAline is back. Hop in on the fun on IG, Twitter or Facebook by using the hashtag! #amwriting… Click To Tweet

I would post a writing prompt and writers all over the world would use the hashtag and we’d challenge each other’s thoughts all day based on that specific prompt. It was so much fun. I’ve decided to take this out of hiatus and post a weekly writing prompt for those writers, want to be writers, used to be writers and folks that want get back into the groove of writing. So, if you aren’t following me on social media, be sure to do so now! There’s actually a writing prompt posted that’s getting a lot of buzz so come on and join the fun.

I hope these suggestions helped so stop over thinking it, crack open your journal and write. Remember, it doesn’t have to be pretty; but it should always be raw and true to you. Good luck on your journey and let me know if these suggestions helped.

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