What to write in your journal

Your Personal Story – journaling and memoir

As you probably guessed by now, daily journaling is part habit, part meditation and mostly showing up.   The activity of journaling is as important as what you actually write.  Practicing in your journal will help you unfold and unpack what is working in your life, what needs improvement and how you feel about, well, everything.   The writing itself is transformational.

How to go about this writing thing?

Start

Pick up the pen, open the laptop, unfold the Surface.  The pen hovers over the blank page, you fingers remain suspended over the keyboard.  You unintentionally whack the J key.  J.  Stare at the J. Was that what you really wanted to say?  Write a couple of sentences ruminating on the letter J.  It’s a start.  That’s all you’re doing at first.  Starting.  Tomorrow, consider the letter F.

Set a Time limit

Time limits actually help the subconscious be more efficient. Experiment with time.  Give yourself 10 minutes to write.  This is not about faking yourself out.  Stick to the limits. Time limits are your deadlines forcing you to choose, which is the point.  In ten minutes, what is the most important thing to write?  What are the most important feelings?   What are the best memories?  What about the letter J?    Limited time also prevents boredom. You can do anything for ten minutes.  Which is not true. You can do anything for a couple hours, but we aren’t there yet.

No Second Guessing

To make the transformative exercise work, you need to write things as they come to you – clearly and with no judgment or rationalization. Just write it down.  Did you run off on a tangent?  That’s okay, often the tangents, the meditations on issues you did not know were issues, is where your mind and emotions really wanted to go and really needed expression.  Go with them, write it all down in the space of your ten minutes.  Walk away.   

No Editing!

Don’t edit while you write. Let it all flow,  capture what you feel today and what you want to happen in the future.  Who you want to be, what happened yesterday and were you good with that situation or could you do better?  How? As the work unfolds in those consistent ten minutes per day your journal will quickly become your new non-judgmental friend, one who always returns your texts.  Your journal is cheaper than therapy and far friendlier than burdening friends over dinner or on their Facebook timeline.  Tell it all to your journal.  You can even name your journal J for short.

Why we journal

catharinebramkamp View All →

Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach and author. She has published over 300 newspaper and magazine articles in publications like Modern Maturity (AARP), SF Chronicle and Santa Rosa Magazine. She was a contributor to two Chicken Soup Books and has published anthologies of her work, non-fiction works and novels. Her work has also appeared in a number of poetry and fiction anthologies. She has experimented with the self-publishing world since 2001. She has published and self-published seven books through companies like Author House, author assist companies like 3L Publishing and through traditional publishers like Write Life. Her poetry collection, Ammonia Sunrise, will be released in August 2011 by Finishing Line Press and her mystery novel, In Good Faith will be released by Write Life in 2011.
Catharine holds a BA in English from UCSB and a MA in English from Sonoma State University. She is a 25 year member of California Writer’s Club. She is an adjunct professor for the University of Phoenix. She works with authors of both fiction and non-fiction to make their dream of producing a book come true. For more information on that, visit her at www.YourBookStartsHere.com

Catharine has lived in Sonoma County for 25 years and considers wine a food group. She is married to an adorable and very patient man who complains he’s never featured in any of her books. Her grown children who are featured in a few of her books have fled the county.

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