Self Care for Authors | Part 3: Journaling for Authors

Show Notes

Hello and welcome back to my channel. I'm Brit Poe and today I'm gonna be talking all about journaling for authors. This is the third video in my series on self-care for authors, so if you haven't seen the first two videos I encourage you to go check those out first. Let's get right to it! 

If you watched my video on self-care practices for authors then you might have heard me mention journaling underneath the flow category of self-care and this is something that I personally have been using for years. I honestly was a little bit hesitant to start journaling when I first began many, many years ago, because I always saw the practice as frivolous. I didn't know how journaling was going to help me like all these other people were telling me to.

I remember back when I was a teenager and I was in some therapy where my counselor was saying you should start a journal, I think that it would be really beneficial for you and I was like NO. And then I became an entrepreneur andI was being suggested from other entrepreneurs that journaling was a good thing to do and then it would help you clear your thoughts and it's a really great self-care practice and I was like NO. And then I got to the point where was like, you know what, I keep seeing everybody saying start a journal start so I started it and at first it was very simple. I was literally just sitting in my bed at night and just writing my thoughts or what I was doing that day down in my journal and then I came across, of course, the bullet journal fad that was taking over Instagram and Pinterest and I was like - oh, I've got to get on top of this. This is awesome! And so for a long time, I really got down to structured bullet journaling where it's kind of like a mixture of a journal and a planner. After some time, I stopped doing that and I've moved on to other ways that I'm journaling -  going through prompts and all of that kind of stuff but before I really get into more of how you can use your journal, I want to talk about why it's a good thing and what I've discovered as somebody who used to be really hesitant approaching journaling to somebody who journals every single day.

These items are going to be a mix of tips as well as my own opinions towards journaling. The first one is that, one reason I really like it is because although I'm a writerand I love writing, journaling doesn't have to be writing. Journaling does not have to focus on punctuation and grammar and full sentences. It doesn't even have to be a full sentence, it can be a partial thought, it can even be a sketch if you need it to be. The point of journaling is getting all of those thoughts all of those random tidbits of information down on to something else that's not your brain. It's sort of clearing out the junk. Decluttering your mind and getting it somewhere else so that your brain can be refreshed and like a clean slate when you start back again.

That aside kind of on the opposite spectrum is that if you are uncomfortable with those kinds of activities, journaling really can be a creative exercise. You can totally make it creative. You can use it as a warm-up exercise, which I'll talk about later on when we get to the parts of different ways that you can use journaling

Then, the final thing, the reason why I've really come to love journaling is because it allows me to explore my own inner thoughts and my own inner self, to align myself. For example, in my past I've used journaling exercises to help get over fears and to help break down really bad habits or negative thought patterns or I've used journaling just to dream - so tell the universe my biggest and wildest dreams about the world and what I want in life. I've found that being able to do this and to write it all down and put it into a journal has been extremely helpful with not just getting those things out of my head but also making those things happen and discovering new things about myself in the process. Getting some really solid self discovery.

So now I'm going to get into a few different ways that you can actually use journaling as an author. A few of them I've already mentioned but I'm gonna go back over them. I'm gonna try to make this not be too long so I'm not going to really get down into like the details of  these different journaling techniques but if you would love for me to make a video on these specific techniques or the different things that I actually do or maybe even get some examples or a tour of my journal or something like that then let me know in the comments if that's something you're interested in and I will definitely look into uploading a video of that sort.

Write Down Your Thoughts

The first one that I want to talk about is literally just writing down your thoughts. This is how I started way back many years ago. You can use basic notebooks or random pieces of paper but whatever works for you. I like these because they're really awesome. I've gone through a lot of them so I really love them they're the dotted ones because that's just how I prefer it. But let's get back to the journaling. So I would keep my journal beside my bed and then every night before I got in I would just write down everything that I did today. I would write down whatever I'm thinking about at the current moment and then I would write down three things that I want to do tomorrow or in the upcoming day - three non-negotiables three things that I knew I had to get done so that 1) they were fresh on my brain 2) I reviewed what I was able to do. And then I could also look back the following evening and see if I was able to accomplish those three things that I wanted and it kind of helped me keep in line with my goals and keep track of what I wanted to do and if I was getting it done.


The second way that you can use journaling is a gratitude list because being able to be thankful and grateful for where you are in life no matter what you're doing. Even if you're in a really bad phase in life, you can still still be grateful for so many things. Journaling has helped me keep track of all of that and really come into alignment help me be more grateful even during those rough patches and those rough times where I'm just maybe not doing so great or as well as I would like to.

Bullet Journal

The third way is to make it like a bullet journal. If you just google bullet journal or go to Pinterest and type in bullet journaling you'll find many different spreads. There are some crazy, amazing talented people out there who make their journal SO beautiful and useful, and like I said I got into that fad for a while there but I don't much do it anymore. But, when I was doing it I absolutely loved it. At that time I was using it as a planner, as a goal tracker, as a memory tracker. I even had more authorly focused spreads like tracking my daily word count or brainstorming different scenes and characters as well. You can really make it however you want. Like I said if you go to Pinterest and type in bullet journal, there's so many. 

Prompt Focused Journaling

Another way is to do a more prompt focus journal. So, for instance, you'll take a prompt every day and then you'll just write that out - write your thoughts in relation to that prompt. Maybe you're doing a journaling challenge or maybe you found these prompts on the internet or maybe these prompts are from a book that you've read. So like, for instance, I just recently got this book right here. It's Q&A a Day where it follows you through five years and asks you a different question every day, which I'm really excited about starting this one. It looks really cool and I think it's gonna be awesome to reflect back on throughout the years. So there's things like that that you can find. You can even make up your own prompts if you want. The benefit of this is that it really gives you time to reflect and think on one aspect of your life and where you're currently at this is really the type of journaling that is helpful when you're trying to do things like overcome a fear or break through this mental block that you have or maybe you're not sure what direction you want to take and you can maybe discover that and come and realign yourself through a journal prompt.

If you enjoy prompt-style journaling then I invite you to go look , at my course The Write Mindset Mini Course because inside of that course you also get access to a 14-day journaling challenge which focuses on the mindset aspect of authorship. The prompts of this 14-day drilling challenge can help bring some clarity back into your authorship journey, help you clarify your goals, and help break down some negative associations or thought patterns that you have when it comes to your authorship journey and where you want to go in the future. 

2020 Update: The Write Mindset Mini-Course has been discontinued. However, if you are looking for author-specific journal promts, check out the Abundant Author Journal Club.

Episode 003 : Self Care for Authors | Part 3: Journaling for Authors | Thriving Scribes

Free Thought Journaling

And then the final type of journaling that I wanted to cover today is more freethought journaling. So you're not really sitting down with any intentions, you literally will sit down put your pen to the paper and just kind of brain dump anything that you are thinking about, whatever comes to mind. This could becreative things in relation to your current project, your current WIP, or this could be literally things like I really would like some Taco Bell right now because that's a legitimate want. So it can just be whatever you have going on in your mind.

I hope that this has given you some idea and help see the benefits of what journaling can do for you as an author and how it can help refresh your mind and get the gears back going nice and flowing. Have a lovely day and remember, I am always rooting for you. Bye!

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