The benefits of journalling and why you should do it.

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

I have always wanted to be a writer. From as far back as I can remember, it is what I envisioned for myself. I love reading. I always have done, and to me, writers are a rare breed of magician, who are able to transport people into other times, and spaces and worlds.

I spent most of my childhood immersed in the other worlds of the books I read. I wasn’t just reading. I was right there, with the characters, and I can remember thinking that I wanted to learn to make this kind of magic too.

It was no secret that this was my chosen career, and a wise man, once gave me some very good advice. I was about twelve at the time, and he told me that if I wanted to be a writer, then I would need to keep a diary.

That very week, Mum took me out to WHSmiths, and I bought my very first mid year diary. It was a “Day to a page”, A6 sized book, with a brightly coloured cover. I remember sitting down with it, and a pen, and filling out all of the details at the front: name, address, etc. And then it was time. I turned to the first page, and wrote about my day, and about the hopes that I had for this diary.

I have kept a diary (in some form or another) ever since, and I can honestly say that I never regret the time that I spend writing in it. The act of writing, allows me to clear out my thoughts from my head. It frees my mind from unwanted baggage, and allows me to think and in some cases, to relax, too.

I often find that if I can’t sleep (and not in an insomnia kind of way), that if I just sit and spend ten minutes (yes, sometimes that really is all the time it takes) writing my thoughts down; every last little thing that comes into my head, I find that I can then lay down and properly relax.

My journal has developed over the years, and now incorporates personal thoughts, artwork, writing, ideas, free writing, and faith based journalling. The truth is that a journal can be whatever you want it to be. There are no set, hard and fast rules. If you just want to keep it as a thought record, then you can do that, if you just want a place to store daily sketches, then this is also okay. You can make it work for you.

I have found that I like to keep a mixture of things in my personal journal. Sometimes I use colour coding or bookmarks so that I know where to find certain things. I have tried different notebooks and writing materials, and I’ve finally found the right combination (for now; I know that things can always change). I am currently using a “Wanderings” large leather bound, refillable book. It is a little smaller than A4, but still plenty big enough for what I need.

I am about a sixth of the way through it currently. Inside the pages, (if I were going to show you), you would find personal thoughts on grief, and my way of dealing with that. You would see ideas for my current writing project, and for craft projects that I want to make, and you would find sermon notes and Bible passages, too, along with conversations (monologues, if you will) of me, talking to God. That’s the beauty of journalling. You make it what you want it to be. You make the rules.

So, if there’s one thing that you take from reading this post, let it be that if you’re not keeping a journal (and this is especially true if you want to be a writer, though I recommend journalling to anyone and everyone), then you should be. Trust me, it really does make a huge difference.

So find that notebook, and start writing. It may take a little trial and error, but in time you will find what works for you, and you will see what I mean if you truly embrace the freeing power of journalling.

Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.


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