On Journalling

With a full-time job, commuting, and the Open University to keep me busy there is no much time for many other hobbies. As a matter of fact, life can be very hectic at times, and trying to find a healthy release is not always easy. Alcohol, smoking, energy drinks are becoming a common sight in our society. Stress and mental health illnesses are also on the rise. Exercise, yoga, meditation are some of the activities recommended to help people manage the 21st Century's busy-ness. But how about writing?

Having tried journalling before, I felt that perhaps I could focus my energy towards it and see if it helps me with my writing. In a way it was perhaps preparation for the Creative Writing module. Along the way though, I benefited in many other ways from journalling. I did some research and bought some books on the topic, which led me to discover that free-writing might be one of the best ways to unlock one's mind. It is a free-for-all ground, where you dump whatever thoughts or ideas pop-up. As long as the pen (keyboard) overtakes your cognitive process then you are writing from the unconscious self, without any critique or editor. Moreover, no-one has to read your journal unless you chose to let them. The more you write, the more room you create for new ideas and thoughts to be created. Unconscious writing may also bring up plots for Creativity Writing, as well as emotions that the writer may have been unaware that they had blocked. Let's look at the Creative Writing first.

Free-writing can be undirected or prompted. The former is simply sitting in front of the writing tools and putting down what you see, smell, feel. Perhaps go to a different place rather than your writing desk and describe what is before you. Nature, with its plentiful colours and shapes, is always a good choice. But do not discount other settings, such as a  family gathering, a birthday party. The prompted option is choosing a stimulus and creating from it. You can expand from your own prompts or buy books that have daily, weekly or general ones. For example: 'It was a wintry day, when he...'
Writing prompts may also be visual such as photos:

(Photo found on line - anyone with rights contact me to be cited)

Journalling your emotions can be a cathartic experience. It is known as writing therapy, because it allows you to safely express your pain, happiness, or fears without being criticised. You can be free to off-load and then look back at your writing to try and understand yourself. It can be a painful journey though. Feelings that may have been hidden away or blocked off may re-appear. Memories that have hurt in the past may re-surface. Perhaps though, they may be finally understood; or accepted and help the person achieve closure and move on. The journal can also record moments of joy. Eventually the writer can become the reader of their own life-path and maybe understand the twists and turns of their own existence.

Journalling is an activity that can be undertaken by anyone without any special training or tools. A pen and a pad is all that is needed. For the writer of all levels, it might help unblock ideas or assist in developing new ones, whether for their next block-buster, study assignment, or even work-report. For the private scribbler, it help one understand their life-path, or deal with emotions that have been left to fester, such as anger or frustration. Happiness and life-events can also be recorded there.
Healing, releasing, new plot ideas.

Happy Writing...


  1. That is a really interesting piece of journaling and for me the last paragraph is inspiring as I am about to embark on a course, not having written before, having my doubts too, whether I am actually capable of writing anything worthwhile.

    1. Hi Margaret,
      You will get a lot of support from your fellow students and the tutor. By following the course material and doing the exercises your writng skills will develop.
      Journalling will give you the opportunity to keep practising those skills in private. It will also help you tap into your unconscious writer and unblock your auhtoriship talent. It might also become your life-long friend and listener.
      Your jourrnal will never judge you. It will listen patiently and without criticising your work or emotions.

  2. Great enjoyed that and wish I could do it