Writing Wednesday: How your journaling evolves over time

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Journaling by the river

Different styles of journaling suit different phases of life. For example when you have plenty of time, you can write page after page. But when life gets busy, your journal may take on a more matter-of-fact form.

Here are some different ways to journal that may better suit certain phases of your life:

Working-it-out journaling: This is great for people who are trying to figure out their life goals, values, and purpose. Dedicate some time each day or week to writing out your goals progress, evaluate your actions, and determine your personal values. Track your timeline toward your goals. This type of journaling can be time consuming, but very rewarding.

Morning pages/ mind dump: I like the idea of morning pages: take 15/ 30 minutes at the beginning of each day, before you do anything else at all, and just write. This clears your mind and helps you focus on what is important to you. If you can’t or don’t want to journal first thing in the morning, a daily mind dump can have the same purpose. Just write for a specified amount of time, and see what comes out.

Quick daily journaling: This works best, in my experience, in a day per page planner. I used this method when my children were babies and toddlers. I didn’t have a lot of time to journal, but I wanted to capture the cute things they did and said, and all those “firsts”, quickly and easily. Having the pages pre-formatted with the days and dates made it easy to jot down things immediately.

Daily log: Briefly writing down what you did each day creates a surprisingly full picture of how you spent your days. It doesn’t require writing in lots of detail to capture the essence of each day. You can do an hourly breakdown, morning/ afternoon/ evening record of events, or the top 5 events of the day.

Ephemeral jottings: Using your daily page as a landing place for all the little things that come at you during the day results in a fascinating view of your days. Write down that quote that you heard today, or the address of the restaurant your friend recommended, or that idea you just had, or a reminder to talk to that person about that thing. When you look back at your daily pages, you will see what was on your mind and what was going on around you at that time in your life.

My journaling has gone through all of these phases. Back in the day when I had lots of free time, I could write page after page wondering what I should be doing with my life. But when life got busier, I didn’t have the time or inclination to write like that any more. I found I could write meaningful entries in less time with more focused journaling.

How has your journal writing method evolved/ changed over the course of your life?

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