What’s the Deal with Journaling?

The first title was going to be The Joy of Journaling but that sounded too cliché. But I wanted to write about more than that. I wanted to tell you why I spend my time journaling.

My Journaling Story

I’ve been a journaling for my entire life – or nearly so. I’ve also wanted to write a book since I was in first grade. Finally I am working on my dream but in the meantime, I still keep a journal.

My first journal was one of those silk covered rather inexpensive journals you can pick up where ever Chinese items are sold. If I remember correctly, it had storks or something on it and was a rich teal color.

I began writing immediately and my dad would tease me about what I was writing. He never tried to look in as far as I know.

That journal is long gone now but I think I still have the rest of the journals I began – yes it’s a lot.

I’ve never stopped journaling. I’ve had dry spells and I definitely haven’t done it daily but I have always had paper and pen close by when I wanted to put my thoughts down on paper.

Recently, I’ve been studying how to use journaling more effectively in my work. And, wow, have my eyes been opened. I had no idea there was more to journaling than putting pen to paper and pouring my soul onto the page.

Turns out there is so much more. I’m sure I will share with you some of my learnings at some point but that isn’t what I want to talk about now.

The Joy of Journaling

The Joy of Journaling is the joy of self-discovery. It is the connection with your self and with your source that can make the difference in your world. As human beings we are always discovering and your journal is one of the easiest ways to do so.

The Joy of Journaling is freedom as there are few rules in journaling. The only one I can think of is to date each entry. Even that one isn’t hard and fast although I can’t really think of a reason you wouldn’t want to date your entries.

The Joy of Journaling is that it is portable. Your journal can be your best friend, your therapist, your mother or your partner. If you need to pour your heart out and these people aren’t available, your journal is always there.

What Does Journaling Look Like?

Journaling has many faces and identities. Surprising for something so simple as paper and pen.

My journal life includes my daily/morning pages. These are three pages daily (sometimes morning, sometimes not) that are part of Julia Cameron’s Artist Way journey. I’ve had morning pages in my life for several years and these form the base of my journaling life.

These journals are of the composition book type. Composition books are amazing in that they are stable and durable. If you purchase during the summer months, they can be really cheap.

I also carry an “Anything Goes” journal. This is one I use sporadically throughout my life for ideas, thoughts, quotes, snippets of conversation etc. It is messy and completely unorganized but essential to my life.

I have writer’s journals. I have one specifically for the art of writing. This one is where all of the techniques and lists of things pertaining to my writing land. It stays on my desk so when I am working I can pull it for reference.

All around my workspace is a journal for each one of my novels. I learned this several years ago and it’s where I keep my notes and ideas and outlines for my novels. I’ve also learned over the years to organize them better.

Bullet journaling is one of the big things in journaling and I’ve learned to implement this into my novel planning journals. These journals come in all different colors but are roughly the same size – A5. A5 paper or journals are 8 1/2 by 5 1/2 and are my favorite size to use.

These are the journals I keep regularly. I’ve created others some for quotes that I like, some for my spiritual journey, some for my blogs, these aren’t used as much as my daily and my writers journals.

The biggest point of all of this is I am never without something to write in or with.

Personal Journaling Dilemmas

Journaling has become one of those things that sets my heart on fire. I can’t explain it but the more I learn and understand the power of journaling, the more I want to incorporate it into my life.

Since there are so many ways to journal and different techniques, I am looking for another type of journal to use as I explore.

I know, I could just use one of the journals I currently use. I mean, if I am using different techniques, rather than free writing, I could just use my daily journal. But for me that doesn’t work.

Apparently, my brain is a bit too compartmentalized. I appear to need another category for my journaling. And another journal.

Hmm, journal shopping? Okay

That is never a problem. Deciding on which journal or type of blank book to get – that’s the problem.

With all of the research and study I’ve been doing, I feel the need to share it. I am working on creating writing groups and hope to be able to bring them to you via the Web. Please stay tuned.

I hope that you continue to journal if you do. And, if you don’t journal, why not pick one up. Oh, and a fast pen – but that is for another time.

Until next time,

P.S. Please don’t forget to grab your 30 Days of Journal Prompts. Just click below.

How to Put Reverse Engineered Goal Setting into Practice

Engineered Goal Setting Practice

We all know that I hate goal setting. I’ve written about this in other posts:

The Problem with Goal Setting


And, as stated previously, I believe in the power of setting goals.

So, how do I reconcile these two beliefs?

After listening to Gabriela Pereira speak about her process of mind mapping and reverse engineered goals, I decided this made sense to me. I plan my novels by starting at the end, so why not the other projects I’m working on.

I like this idea for several reasons:

First, this process requires you to see the end that you want and is time specific. Deadlines are good! Mostly!

Second, reverse engineered goals require that you think through what needs to happen to reach that goal.

Third, by going through these steps, you are able to test your commitment to your goal. What that means is by thinking through the steps, and the impact on your life, you can see if the goal is feasible within the time frame you decided upon.

Fourth, because reverse engineered goals begin with brainstorming, you have a visual reminder of your process. This is helpful for me because if it isn’t written down, I tend to forget it.

Recap of Reverse Engineered Goals

As a reminder of the steps to reverse engineered goal setting are as follows, according to :

1. Determine the most basic level of the goal.
2. Ensure you are committed.
3. Identify as many steps as possible that are required to reach your goal.
4. Take action.

The IRL example of reversed engineered goal setting:

One of the goals I would like to achieve according to my very own mind mapping is to launch an ebook in September, in time for NaNoWriMo.

Here is a picture of the brainstorming of this goal:

This is my first session and I believe there will be more as I solidify my goal. But for this example, I have an idea of how to plan the steps.

Goal – Launch ebook – September 1, 2018
August – Media blitz
July – Create graphics and media documents, format ebook, website updates
June – Send to fellow WriMo’s for edits.
May – Make changes suggested by editor
April – While waiting for the edits, plan for changes to website and create media plan
March – Final edits, send to editor
February – Finish writing
January – Dig out original draft. Read through and make notes.

Hope for Goal SettingAs I look over my plan, this appears to be doable. None of these steps are unreachable and by breaking down the steps I believe I can achieve this goal. I can see reaching this goal.

Also, as I look over this list, I can see that each one of these monthly goals can be broken down into weekly goals. I intend to do this by brainstorming each month, as I believe necessary to create the next steps.

Reverse engineered goal setting is a refining process that allows you hone your goals and maximize your time.

For the first time in a long time I am excited about goal setting.

I would love to hear about how you put reverse engineered goals into practice.