Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Journaling: U = Underlying Themes

Once you've been journaling a while, several months or perhaps years, you will begin to notice recurring themes in life.

At this point, you are ready to begin what Dave Fox refers to as Reflective Journaling.

Reflective journaling is a thought-filled process. Rather than rushing to get the words on paper, reflective journaling reads the words you've already written. It combines those written accounts with other life experiences, which allows you to discover patterns that were not so obvious before: Underlying Themes.
Reflective journaling can reveal hidden strengths or talents.

For example, I did not realize my current passion for writing actually began in elementary school. Reflective journaling helped me realize I enjoyed writing dramatic plays for Girl Scouts and experimenting with poetry in 6th grade English. I discovered my favorite assignments in college involved writing in-depth research papers, and those skills helped me secure a job as a market research analyst. I used to question why I ended up teaching English, but now I believe it is a part of my DNA.

But reflective themes can also reveal areas where we need to improve.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I discovered I have a problem setting unrealistic expectations. While I knew this fueled my pursuit of perfectionism (which led to a constant feeling of failure)... I realized it also put undo stress on personal relationships. My desire for the Walton family dinner, complete with "Goodnight, John Boy" was based on make-believe. I failed to appreciate my unique family because I was too focused on a fantasy.

Reflective journaling focuses on lessons learned, a life well-lived, a strong character who overcomes obstacles and showcases an inner resolve. 

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Up next... V is for Values and Beliefs


  1. I liked this idea of Reflective journaling. I learned from journaling that I write better in first person, hence all my short stories and novels have been in first person. People have said that my voice in my writing is very unique. I've been journaling since I was in second grade which has probably helped my tone. Did you realize which point of view write in from journaling?

    U is for Unleashing travel books


    1. Interestingly, Trin... I enjoy writing in both first and third person - depending on my mood :) I wish I started journaling as young as you (and kept them all... what fiction fodder they would be).

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Shirley! Although truth be told, I love to analyze and discover themes in all areas of life :)

  3. When I've journaled I always think of it as leaving a record of what happens. I write almost as if someone 100 years from now will read it. I don't tend to look back on what I've written (I have on a occasion and it's interesting) but since I typically use a journal to purge thoughts and feelings out of my head I feel that re-reading those entries will just lead me to obsessing about whatever it is again. Girl Who Reads

    1. I like the idea of writing for someone to read 100 years from now. It always helps to write for an audience, don't you think?


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