Journal Bits – March 5

Occasionally I'll share unedited recent bits from my daily journal. These make nice fillers on days I'm not ready to post something I'm working on. Hope you enjoy and get some inspiration, value, or perhaps a chuckle from them.

Good talk this morning about writer’s block [w.b.]. My takeaway was that my denial this affliction does not exist for me, based on my definition of it not knowing what to write or can’t produce words on the page, had a hidden loophole I wasn’t seeing. I have [or have had, not lately!] the w.b. form of unable to just start writing. This is, in essence, a habit issue as it is a “how much do you want this?” issue. In the past I’ve waited on the right structure, a good time to do it, the right organization of the writing area, etc., as my procrastinative muse. Is that the truth of this? Are these valid reasons or is something going on hidden in my subconscious? I’m past the “can I be published” and “I should have more work to my name by now” regrets, but there may be more darkness to this lurking somewhere.

Embracing an attitude of common sense plus wait and see seems to be the program these days for most of my body’s aches, pains, and weirdness. Some issues react faster than others to this “get out of the way” approach, but all tend to improve or least lessen with this approach.

Looks like travel this year is camping, and based on heavy TV population these days, likely not going to state parks or formal campgrounds. Would like to find a cabin to rent, maybe even update NY and invite boys up for the weekend. Sticking closer to home this year until vaccinated and others state behaving sanely makes sense.

Glimmers of how I yearn for days to be consistent in lighting up corners of my thinking and awareness. Fore-front is the realization that only my lack of a habitual effort to daily take up pen, pencil, or keyboard block the path ahead. It isn’t organization, or waiting until task a, b, or c is complete: it’s me stopping and writing, regardless of peripheral or collateral distractions, influences, or demands. As I’ve often heard inside my head, “If it’s important to you to write, you’ll make it your top priority.” Humbleness is finally understanding that the what (sit down & write) tops the how (nice studio, chair, desk, etc., etc.). While all this seems d’oh obvious, apparently it’s eluded my importance radar for a long time. Perhaps no longer.

Curatives for the Soul: Part 1 – Journaling

A four-part series exploring supportive habits to help ease our paths through life: journaling, meditation, nature immersion, and positive philosophy.

Artist: Jonathan Wolstenholme

Days when I journal followed by meditation are ones filled with more peace, creative flow, and open thinking than days when they’re absent. These seemingly simple and passive activities quietly combine into powerful curatives for the soul (at least in my experience).

The question “why journal?” has both complex and simple answers. The simple answer? Journaling is a helpful way to record your thoughts and actions you can later reflect on, or simply use as historical records. The complex answer can be anything from psychological benefits in dealing with grief, depression, anxiety, and more, to an outlet for venting frustrations with the world, a person, or a situation. Either way it’s a pathway to your inner self and a method to document uncensored thoughts, desires, and plans. If you want to dive deeper into the why, Google “why journal” to learn more.

My daily journaling habit tends to yield either pages of self-therapeutic blatherings with repetitive attempts to influence me to change or improve…or rewards of powerful insights, engaging creative ideas, or interesting questions — ones for which I quietly craved answers. And sometimes these answers to questions asked long before suddenly appear while journaling. Either way, it’s all good and positive.

There are as many ways, of course, to journal as there are journalers. My habit and tools evolved from when I started during the 1980s. Those early days (and up to about 10 years ago) were far from consistent. Sometimes months would pass between entries, but eventually my frequency increased. Decades ago my journaling efforts were simpler in paper choice, writing tools, and content. But since my love of all-things-stationery evolved over the years, I now use specific tools to support my now deeply embedded journaling habit.

I keep several journals going for different needs, choosing to isolate my writing efforts within broad categories:

  • Daily general journal – I use four fountain pens with different color inks, rotated each day. The journal is a Nanami Seven Seas The Writer A5 journal with 480 pages of ruled Tomoe River paper.
  • Travel journal – A grey or black ruled Blackwing Slate medium legacy notebook, in which I usually use a fountain pen but sometimes a pencil.
  • Poetry journal – A white ruled Blackwing Slate medium legacy notebook, always with a Blackwing soft-core pencil.
  • Nomadic journals – Basically these more portable A6-sized notebooks are roaming stand-ins for the daily general journal. Currently they are either the Field Notes Dime Novel / Signature, or the Blackwing Slate ruled A6 notebook. I’ve not used these since March of 2019 due to the pandemic, but hopefully I’ll get back to them later this year.
  • Other journals – Used infrequently for projects or special uses, and tend to be whatever journals or notebooks I have in the backstash.

Journalers tend to be all over the map, writing at different times, frequency, places, and styles. My daily journal habit is usually one of the first things I do after getting up early. Sometimes when I skip a morning I’ll journal instead in the evening, but the contents and flow differ between journaling in those two times. For that reason I always note where I’m journaling, date, and time for each entry. I can then better understand my thinking and efforts based on knowing the when and where.

If you haven’t journaled before, I encourage you to try it. Don’t be put off by my approach: use whatever paper, writing tool, and time that’s available to you. Carrying a small, pocket notebook like Field Notes is a great way to start jotting your thoughts and feelings whenever and wherever you can. It won’t take long until you’re hooked and find yourself wanting to choose special, cool notebooks, pens, and pencils to support your new journaling habit.

Journal Bits – January 15

Occasionally I’ll share unedited bits from my daily journal. These make nice fillers on days I’m not ready to post something I’m working on. Hope you enjoy and get something from them.

‘To the journal!’ That is the rally cry I hear every morning. It doesn’t always become the first thing I do each day though. Example in point: Today I woke late and had coffee and breakfast. After I did a quick online read of the inbox, my daily cartoons I love, then both New York Times crosswords (mini and daily). Washed and dried dishes, dressed for the day, made a cup of hot tea, and here I am…finally…answering the call albeit 2-1/2 hours later. Still, the pen writes, the ideas flow, the pages fill, and all is good.

Guided Journal Fun


I’m not usually a fan of guided journals. Writing prompts in general are helpful, but a guided effort in a bound-book is not something I would use. Such preprinted journal pages guide someone through various activities and exercises toward a thematic purpose, e.g., life correcting, internally therapy, goal development, and many others. Not saying these aren’t helpful for many, just not something I find useful for myself.

Until now.

As a journaler in active practice going back many decades, I’ve never felt the need to be led by such guidances. Not one for whom writer’s block ever existed, I never struggle to get words down on paper, be it paper or digital.

So it’s a much a surprise to me as it might be to you who see this post’s opening image Continue reading “Guided Journal Fun”

Sunday, May 3 – Journal Snippets

A bit late this week. Been some churning in my mind about how much I want to share here, so delays on posting.

Sharing these unedited journal bits helps keep me encouraged to journal most days and think more deeply. These Sunday posts also give me a concise weekly review of the more impactful journal moments.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”
– Lao Tzu

 

April 26 – These times are such an amazing opportunity that I must take full advantage of and must ensure that when things normalize again and roaming is possible, I want to look back and be pleased both with the progress and the body of work produced.

 

April 27 – So many tasks and thing to do all of a sudden it seems. Need to relieve the pressure a bit and through routine and focus in zones during day, should settle things. Things are jelling to what’s important and what should go away or slow down.

 

April 27 – But my reading list is gigantic! Maybe Blinkist can help on some of the B reads. This is why I need two hours dedicated to reading every day. Plus, more pure sit and think time. Maybe my coffee drinking should that reflective time and not while online or eating.

 

April 28 – Good sessions albeit split this morning due to necessary Trader Joe’s run. But wrote one new poem, tweaked another, wrote/posted on blog, and a draft of a good essay on minimalism for Medium this time. May excerpt back to the blog on it.

 

May 1 – Missed morning habits and may tomorrow. How does that make me feel? A bit of an imposter on my goals, but needing to give the body more sleep for now. Seems to be more important.

 

May 2 – My thoughts are like shifting sands. One day treasures unearthed to awe and surprise, the next only the windswept waves on the dunes changing a landscape of sameness. Such is the churning of thoughts in my mind lately.

 

Are you journaling in these dark times? Let me know if you are in the comments, or if you’re just starting and have questions.