Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The 'Morning Journal'

Today I want to share with you a daily ritual that I've been doing for the past several years.  I call it 'morning journaling.'  Because I've reaped so many great benefits simply from religiously writing in my journal everyday, first thing in the morning, I wanted to extend this life-changing experience with other readers/writers.

How To Begin:

It's as simple as buying a journal to write in.  You can go as fancy as a moleskin or leather-bound, or as simple as a regular old spiral-bound notebook.  The important thing is to have something on hand to write in, day after day.  It's also important that you always use a pen, as I've found that over the years regular led pencils actually fade and you don't want to lose your writings!

You can also designate a regular place to sit as you journal...maybe you prefer your kitchen table with a cup of coffee (I always have my morning coffee while I write).  Or maybe you like laying in bed with a lamp or some candles.  Just go for a setting that you find comfortable and relaxing.

When, Where, and Why:

Aim to write every single morning!  Yes, at first you might find this challenging but soon you'll be able to slide some writing time right in without feeling as if you've interrupted your morning routine.  Actually, make it a goal that journaling first thing in the morning is part of your regular routine.

And no, I don't mean that as soon as the alarm clock goes off, you have to sit up (full with morning breath and frazzled hair) and slave over your notebook.  What I mean is, to fit it into your morning.  Go ahead, brush your teeth, get dressed, have your coffee....THEN write in your journal.  I think it's important to write in your journal before you begin menial chores and other responsibilities because they tend to hinder creativity and cloud the mind with concrete things like appointments, responsibilities, and 'real-worldly' things that usually take up most of our time anyway.

The purpose of the morning journal is to make some time just for you, for your inner child/self, a place for creative ideas to flourish, a space just for you to motivate and encourage yourself...and yes, a place to be free from the 'real-life' pressures of everyday existence.  

What To Write:

If you are a writer or author already, do not be confused!  The morning journal is not a place for your poetry or short stories or other creative projects.  Use another notebook for those things.  Rather, the morning journal is a place just to play with your thoughts, to relax into the process of writing, to learn about yourself without the pressure of writing something amazing every single time you pick up the pen.

Over the span of a few years, I've written probably just about anything you could think of in my personal morning journal.  However, I have found some common reoccurring themes that usually come up almost every morning.

This is a good list you can begin with:

1)  A daily gratitude list.  Everyday I write three things I'm grateful for.
2)  Some inspirational quotes to get you motivated for a productive and happy day.
3)  At least one positive affirmation to use as your daily mantra.  So whenever you're feeling down, or overwhelmed, go back and read your daily positive affirmation again.
4)  A list of daily goals you'd like to accomplish, or a to-do list for the day.
5)  Sometimes I take a journal-writing prompt and just go with the flow.
6)  A steady stream of conscious...just write!  Really, whatever comes into your head, put it down on paper!

So, go ahead.  Buy that journal.  Commit to write every single morning.  Allow the free-writing process of the 'morning journal' to change your life!