BUT I’M NOT A WRITER: HOW TO DO AN UN-JOURNAL
MY THERAPIST MADE ME DO IT
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been encouraged to write in a journal; probably hundreds of times from well meaning therapists and doctors. And I’ve purchased many, many journals: those with lines, those without; with bible verses and with witty sayings, with beautiful leather covers, and simple composition books. Yet, to no avail.
One day recently, however, I discovered a sketchbook in a plain brown cover with the most beautiful 90lb acid-free drawing and mixed-media paper. It looks like a novel, but delights my tactile senses of touching the paper. I’ve also discovered micron pens when I began to Zentangle to relieve stress. I never realized how senses-oriented I am. I love art, though I am no artist but I do have a minor in art history.
When I started to Zentangle in my 9 x 12” sketchbook, I also started to write a couple of thoughts down; nothing long or too deep, just a sentence or two next to my drawings. Then, I discovered I could find a saying or beautiful picture on Pinterest and print it out on photo paper in color and add as a sort of collage to my entry that day. Pretty soon, I was drawing, using different colors, pens, papers to frame my photos and writing longer and longer thoughts. There are many different ways to keep a journal and so I thought I’d share some of the different types so that you could try them out. It really does help keep me from “over sharing” on Facebook, and let’s me get my thoughts down to clear my mind.
- Start a SMASH Journal According to Katie Marie, of CallMeCrazyReviews.com, a smash journal is like a cross between a scrapbook and journal. You write any thoughts that you might have, add remnants of your day or week, color, draw or otherwise decorate it. It’s a keepsake, but without the neat lines of a traditional scrapbook. This is my favorite kind, as I can add photos, ticket stubs, and postcards – anything really that I want to keep and remember.
- Keep a Bullet Journal A bullet journal is similar to a Dayminder, but is kept in a moleskin notebook with graph paper for pages. There is a distinct system to keeping track of your thoughts, tasks, and appointments. You can look at a video here: http://youtu.be/GfRf43JTqY4
- Write in a Gratitude Journal A gratitude thought a day, keeps the anxiety away. At least it helps me some and it might help you too. You can use pre-printed forms that I found here, or use any type of journal, large or small, to keep track of every thing you have to be grateful for. If you write things down throughout the day and refer back to it, it’s pretty hard to stay in a dark mood.
- Try an Art Journal Art journals are purely for fun. You can use any media or medium you like to write, draw, sketch or paste materials that are visually appealing to you. It’s like having a visual conversation with yourself. (Another reason I like Pinterest).
- Log with a Travel Journal This is pretty self-explanatory. Keep receipts, photos, ticket stubs, pamphlets, sketches and impressions that you have for places you visit. It’s fun to look back over your travels every so often to remind yourself of fun times.
- Doodle in a Bible Journal Believe it or not there are actually Bibles you can purchase for this exact purpose here. You read a chapter or verse, and as you meditate on what you have read, you draw or rewrite the verse or connected thought in the margin of your bible, also known as marginalia. It’s pleasing to the eye, helps you to memorize a verse or verses, and focuses your time with God on His word.
So, you can see there’s a journal type for every person, no matter your writing or art ability. I’ve even included some of my own pages, which flex back and forth between smash journal entries, traditional written entries and art journal entries. I find this process to be very cathartic and I work on it first thing in the morning and sometimes, at the end of the day to decompress. I study sometimes 8 to 10 hours a day and I really find I appreciate this more right-brained activity to change things up from analyzing and researching for scholarly endeavors. So, give it a try. And please share if you have your own type of journaling or right-brained activity that works to release stress and tension for you. I’d be interested to hear about it.