Today I am stepping into the great adventure of introducing 200 ten- to twelve-year-old girls to the fine art of journaling. Over the past week I’ve asked people to share with me what they wish someone had told them about the practice when they were that age. As the heartfelt stories poured in, certain themes emerged that are great for us grown-ups too.
The number one message that came in loud and clear was the importance of keeping your journal safe, secure and private! Strategies included marking it with a clear privacy statement, hiding the journal, writing in code, covering up what you’ve written with paint or collage or destroying anything that you’re worried someone might read.
Having a space that you feel confident is just for you, where no one is looking, reading, watching, judging, is one of the core gifts of keeping a journal, a space where you can pour your heart out, the best of you, the worst of you, your joys, your worries, your angers, your triumphs, your history, your dreams, your imaginings and meanderings – everything in full raw honesty. For me, this is my morning pages. I stream out three pages of free-writing and in those words I encounter myself. I hear my own voice and see my own heart. It’s the encounter that matters. I toss the pages away.
Do you feel free in your journal? Do you self-censor? What about when you art journal? Does the world of shared art journal pages impact your process? Do you create with an eye to sharing on your blog or maybe one day being featured in a mag?
What role does privacy play in your journaling?
There’s No Way to Get This Wrong
Many people shared that they got stopped along the way by some idea of how journaling “should” be done. It should be written. It should be daily. It should capture what you’ve done each day. It should be positive. It should be meaningful. It should reflect the “true you.”
What if you tossed away all the shoulds and just created a space for your heart, your mind, your life – a space where anything goes – a space for you!
What if you could glue or write or paint or sew or gather or remember or list or imagine?
What if you wrote poetry, copied out song lyrics, pressed flowers and drew your cat?
What if you started on the last page and worked your way forward?
What if you coloured or washi-taped or hole-punched?
What if you made it a comic?
What if you wrote on Mondays or on your birthday or rainy days or whenever the heck you felt like it?
What if you wrote every day for 10 minutes?
What if you wrote one sentence or twenty or a hundred pages in one sitting?
What if you did it your way?
What if you did it to discover what your way is?
What if you were just you on the page, the you that you are today?
A Journal Is Just For You
Our journals are as individual as we are. Give yourself the gift of loosening your expectations and experimenting. As you discover more and more about your style, your preferences and what works for you, you will come to a very personal way of journaling and it will feel like home, a home of your own, a journal just for you.