[This blog is from a new contributor, Sarah Hoggatt. You will be seeing more of her ideas about writing in upcoming blogs! Welcome, Sarah.]
Whenever I know someone is coming over to my house, I make sure the space is cleaned up. I do the dishes, vacuum, and put the clutter away. I want to make the space inviting. As a writer, I do the same thing for my readers. We all have a great deal of clutter in our thoughts that tends to get in the way of what we write and I like to clear it away beforehand so my readers don’t have to deal with the junk amidst the gems.
I do this form of self-care by divulging my thoughts in a journal. My journal hears about it all — my pain, my struggles, my joys, and all the things I cannot say aloud. Within its pages, I can pour everything out, sift through it and figureout what is really going on inside me and what is worth sharing.
Though journaling is a practice I would recommend for anyone, if you share your writing
publicly, it is an absolutely essential form of self-care. Having somewhere to pour out your
words without the pressure of needing to share them is a relief in itself. Over time, your journal becomes like a friend, a non-judgmental, ever-listening friend. In a journal you can be completely honest with what you think and feel — your frustrations, joys, and concerns. I have found this kind of writing gives me the freedom to really get to know myself. It’s an outlet where I can process and vent. I believe if someone were to pick up your journal and didn’t think you were at least a little crazy, you weren’t being honest with yourself. You also may simply want to:
- capture a moment
- better remember events
- work out a flurry of feelings
- record special occasions
- warm up for other writing
- sketch out ideas
- clarify thoughts
Whatever you use a journal for, having “cleaned out” your head,you then have greater clarity of which stories and lessons are worth sharing with a wider audience. The quality ideas have been brought forward and your writing is better for it. Go ahead! Grab your favorite writing implements! You can use anything as a journal — a bound book, loose leaf paper, digital files on your computer, or a notebook. You can write as little or as much as you want and as often as you want. The important thing as in any writing is that you begin.