Over the last year, I journaled, wrote about journaling, and researched journaling. What began somewhere between a passing curiosity and the search for an open-ended personal writing format resulted in a wealth of information on an informative, effective practice. Although simple, journaling has the power to heal.
The practice is uncomplicated and widespread; most people have journaled at some point in their lives. From the time that we could hold a pencil in hand, many people dotted down lists, drafted up ideas, and crafted creative stories and poetry—all of which were intended to share with an audience of one.
The magic of journaling is that writers are free of all constraints since they write solely for themselves. The journal writer does not have to worry about details like grammar, spelling, or correcting errors. Never does a journal writer need to satisfy a reader’s expectations or an editor’s length requirements. For most of us, our writing is controlled by someone else—a teacher, a supervisor, an editor, a reader, a professor, an employer, or someone who expects that our writing match their desires.
When we journal, we change the focus of writing. We write for ourselves, to ourselves, and about the topics that press upon us most within the moment. When we journal, we can be reflective, curious, creative, or emotional, and that level of freedom creates changes in us in both how we write and how the writing affects us throughout the journaling process.
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