The beauty of routine is its ability to keep me on task without much thought. If you desire to journal on a regular basis, then I suggest developing a simple routine.
Of course, it will take some experimentation to find what time and place works best for you - but eventually you will find your groove.
Here are a few suggestions.
Experiment with Time:
For the morning person, writing first thing upon waking up might be an ideal time. Some find clearing the mind at the start of the day instrumental to freeing the mind for more creative pursuits.
I find I do better after my second cup of coffee and a shower.
For the night owl, however, perhaps closer to bedtime would be a better option. After the hustle and bustle of the day, a more relaxed evening journal time will help the words flow.
You don’t need long uninterrupted periods of time, however. Short bursts of free time throughout the day can also be beneficial. For example, during lunch hour, or waiting for a doctor’s appointment, or dropping off children at various extra-curricular activities. Five or ten minutes is plenty of time to jot down a thought before it escapes.
Experiment with Place:
Just as there is no one right journal or perfect time to write, neither is there no one ideal place to journal.
You can try journaling at home or at some other location.
For most of us, home is our comfort zone. It is where we feel most authentic, and it is where we have easy access to our journal(s) and pens.
But even within the home, we have several options.
For some, the dining room table provides an ideal spot: space to spread out, ample lighting, and high-back chairs ensure good writing posture.
For others, sitting at a table seems too rigid; they may prefer lounging on the bed or reclining on the couch. I am fortunate to have a spare bedroom which I’ve transformed into my Paris oasis. This is often where I escape to journal.
But it isn’t so much the room as the ambiance I create that makes the difference. I’ve learned I enjoy journaling with a little background music. If you enjoy music, I urge you to experiment with various genres to see which inspires to write. And if you don’t like music, perhaps try some Nature Sounds. I love the soothing sound of a babbling brook or a gentle rain.
In addition to music, I also have a fragrant candle burning nearby.
Be sure to have adequate lighting. Straining the eyes is not pleasant and can cause headaches.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to transform an ordinary space into something inspirational. In fact, try to engage as many senses as possible. Often I prepare a nice cup of tea, or if I feel particularly indulgent, a glass of wine. Tasting what brings me comfort helps ease me into the writing journey.
Outside the Home:
While I am a true home-body, I know the value of occasionally leaving the four familiar walls and going elsewhere to gain a fresh perspective.
I tend to gravitate to the local library. The quiet atmosphere is conducive to my writing style, and I adore being surrounded by books.
Others prefer journaling at the local coffee shop. The aroma of strong espresso and steamed milk, combined with the quiet chatter of fellow patrons, creates the perfect environment to escape into their journals and write.
Still others enjoy taking their journals outdoors. The local park, arboretum, or museum can offer secluded spots away from the chaotic world.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of possibilities, but hopefully these suggestions will encourage you to experiment with various writing locations in your home and town.
* * *
I hope you join me next time when I will discuss E is for Expressive Journaling.