It’s pretty typical that a writer (like me) would post about the ultimate secret of journaling. So what is it? Dumping out on paper whatever is rolling around in your head at the beginning of the day. Three pages and 15 minutes is all I’m asking here folks.
And, at the tender age of eight or nine, I started journaling. I got my inspiration from a book called Harriet the Spy, about a middle school girl who has a daily spy route and writes about the peculiarities of her neighbors. There’s the boy from her school that works at the family Chinese diner, an old woman who seems to stay in bed all day, and a man who has 25 cats lolling around in his apartment. I set up my own spy route and all the tools–notebook, pen, flashlight–all hooked on to my spy belt.
With that great beginning, why did I want for more? After a while, I grew out of the spy route, but not the journaling. And in my never ending quest to find out more, I knew the ultimate secret to journaling had to be out there somewhere. And as such, about 20 years ago I found the ultimate secret to journaling, in Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way.
It’s a simple practice
She developed a simple practice called morning pages. What’s that? You set aside about 15 minutes in the morning and write–preferable by hand, 3 pages of whatever’s on your mind. A pen and a composition notebook will do. But, hey, if handwriting is not your gig, use the computer. No harm, no foul 🙂 Watch this 2 minute video on Julia’s website Juliacameronlive.com about morning pages.
The ultimate secret to journaling
In the morning pages you can write whatever your heart desires. They are your private thoughts. No one else can see them. Worried about taking out the garbage or buying dog food? Write it down. Whine, cry, laugh, celebrate, plan, get angry, let it all out on the page. Are you tired of your co-worker bragging about how much she travels? Write it down. Julia says that the pages are like meeting your shadow and taking it out for coffee. Can you imagine? Or getting the dust out of the the dark corners of your psyche.
A section from my morning pages
Thank you journal for listening to all my thoughts and letting me be me.
Thank you for holding all the secrets that I don’t always want the world to know and for listening to all my troubles without judgement or shame. I’m glad you don’t tell me I should’ve done it better, and allowing me to figure it out on my own. Anyway, most of the time those problems get figured out on the page or a solution will pop into my head later.
Thank you for letting me be angry, because people don’t like anger and have a tendency to try and shut me down even if it’s unjust or unfair. You let me bring that anger to the page and welcome my vulnerability as I write through my struggles and pain.
You let me ramble on and on and listen with rapt attention as I go and grow in whatever direction I choose.
Thank you for letting me expose my dark side without penalty, reproach or judgement.
Thank you for letting me fall and helping to pick me back up, gently reminding me I can always start over again as many times as I need to until I get it. You let me share my weaknesses, remind me that I’m human and that there is no shame in that. You let me learn from my mistakes. Thank you for always being there – I can always count on you. Thank you for your gentle guidance, strength, and compassion.
Journaling really allows you to come to yourself, exactly as you are. How do you feel anyway? Tired, irritated, happy, energetic, pissed, confused, frustrated, excited? Get it down on paper. You may solve a problem, or create an app on how to get your kids to clean up their rooms! Put it all down on the page.
All the Winnie the Pooh characters inspire me and make me laugh. This quote reminds me why you’ll love to journal.
Piglet: “The things that make me different are the things that make me, me.” —Winnie-the-Pooh
Journaling lets you be who you are.
Here’s your assignment
It’s called Journaling–how to be yourself on three pages a day. Dust off an unused journal or notebook, buy one at the store, or treat yourself to something snazzy. You’ll only need about 15 minutes which I’m sure you can fit in sometime in the morning.
Although it may be hard at first, keep at it and it’ll get easier. Here are the ultimate benefits to journaling:
- It clears your head for the day, and clears the way for creativity.
- No need to worry about political correctness.
- No censorship – it’s for your eyes only.
- You learn about yourself and others.
- You may may discover your inner Einstein or discover a new galaxy. Who knows?
I’d love to hear about your journaling experience. If you just started, let me know if and how you feel about it. If you’ve journaling a long time, let me know the benefits you experience.
Leave a comment below or email me. Until next week – from my pen ✍️ to your heart ❤️.