The first time I felt like a real writer I was 19 years old.
I wrote a news story about an affordable housing initiative, pitched it to a newspaper in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, and that paper published my article.
I had my first clip and I felt legit.
But these days I feel more like a writer than I ever have before and it has nothing to do with my byline, with this blog, or with the book I’m working on.
These days I feel more like a writer than I ever have because of my new journaling practice.
Because of my new journaling practice, I find myself writing ALL THE TIME. Through this new practice, writing is no longer just something I do for a living; it’s a lifestyle.
Furthermore, because I’m using journaling to develop strategies for my business, I no longer feel a disconnect between my writer life and my entrepreneur life.
How to Start Your Journaling Practice
At first, my journaling looked a lot like it did when I was a teenage girl. I simply wrote about what I’d done that day or the day before. If you’re looking to start a journaling practice of your own this is a good place to start, but don’t stop there.
After attending a virtual workshop on Writing for Wellness, I decided to dig deeper. I decided to use my journaling as a time to reflect on how I felt and why. Instead of simply writing about what had happened each day I wrote about what I learned each day, too. And I started examining my beliefs and my faith – or lack thereof.
For example, one day I journaled about Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I asked myself – and wrote about — how my thoughts, feelings, and actions would change if I truly believed this.
Journaling Your Way to the Life of Your Dreams
A few years ago I read an article about writer Octavia Butler that really stuck with me. In an article for Blavity, Kiara Collins declared that Octavia Butler “literally wrote her life into existence.”
Within her personal journals, Butler boldly declared that her novels would be a success, that she would be “a bestselling writer,” that her books would be “read by millions of people” and that she would help “poor black youngsters” by broadening their horizons.
As Collins writes:
Sooner than later, Butler found her affirmations became her reality. Following the success of several novels including, Mind of My Mind, Clay’s Ark, and the widely recognized, Kindred, she went on to receive a spot among the best-seller lists and be a renowned novelist with awards and accolades including becoming the first science- fiction writer to receive a grant from the MacArthur foundation, a Lifetime Achievement award, and induction into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. And these affirmations proved to be the catalyst she needed.
This needed to be the next step in my journaling practice. So, I signed up for a webinar on “Faith Activated Journaling” that Rachel Luna was hosting. She quickly won me over and I signed up for her Faith Activated Journaling group coaching program.
Rachel challenges us to write down the things we desire for our lives as if they are already our reality. She tells us not to worry about the how. But I’ve learned is that oftentimes when I’m writing the how begins to download in my brain!
By writing my dreams as if they’ve already come true, the path for how I achieved them starts to just come to me and I write down those things, too.
You can use journaling to tap into something bigger than yourself — whether that’s your God, your muse, or your community. I’m currently battling breast cancer and I often worry that I won’t have the strength to go after my goals. But through journaling, I remind myself that God is helping me. The See Jane Write community is helping me. I don’t have to fight this fight alone.
My Journaling Practice
Confession: I have three journals!
I have a prayer journal and that’s the first journal I write in each day.
I have a cancer journal where I record how I’m feeling physically and emotionally as I go through chemotherapy.
And I have what I call my “Empowerment Journal.” This is where I write my future life into existence.
You don’t need three journals. I’m extra and doing the most. One journal is sufficient.
Here’s a peek into my Empowerment Journal:
2020 could have been the worst year of my life. And at first I thought it would be. On January 24 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then COVID-19 sent the world into a global health pandemic and economic crisis.
But I began a new journaling practice — one fueled by faith — and I began to trust and rely on God like never before.
As a result, I not only survived COVID, cancer, and chemotherapy — I thrived.
During my chemotherapy and radiation treatments I was so healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually that people around me saw this as a miracle. They knew this was the work of God and grew closer to God because of my testimony and my story.
Instead of chemo brain I got chemo creativity! Throughout my treatments I had a flood of ideas for building my business and for essays and stories and God gave me the strength to bring them to fruition.
I had the most successful launch ever of the See Jane Write Collective. My blog readership grew. I re-released See Jane Freelance and had my first 5-figure launch…
3 Prompts to Jumpstart Your Journaling Practice
If you’re ready to start a journaling practice of your own, here are three prompts that helped me kickstart mine:
How do I feel right now and why?
What beliefs are causing the way I feel right now or the way I’ve been thinking or behaving lately? If I believed _____ instead of _____ how would I think, feel, or behave?
In spite of everything, 2020 turned out to be the best year of my life because…