Using Daily Check-Ins To Create a Journaling Habit

I must confess I thought I knew so much about journaling but I didn’t know about daily check-ins.

Journaling is one of my favorite things to do. I’ve written in a journal on and off since I was 13 years old and have even kept most of them too. I never knew there was a whole world of journaling out there. I was missing so much.

Turns out, there is so much more in the world of journaling to learn.

It’s always come easy to me – journaling my thoughts. I’ve never been intimidated by the blank page. Once I put pen to paper, words seemed to flow out of me. At least most of the time.

The type of journaling that I do and have done is called free-writing. It’s easy to do. You simply put your pen down on a blank piece of paper and write. Beautiful words, and mostly not so beautiful words, come out on the paper.

However, this is the exception.

For most people journaling isn’t easy and is intimidating. Even knowing that journaling could benefit them, it takes too much effort.

One of my goals in life is to show people that journaling doesn’t have to be horrible. Even if you aren’t a “writer” you can still journal.

New Learning

Through taking a class about journaling, I’ve been teaching a Write to Heal class through my day job and have been learning a lot about journaling. More than I ever thought possible. I’ve discovered things that I only knew by instinct.

One of the things that I have recently learned is about daily check-ins. Normally I am a morning pages person, which means that anything that comes out, is what comes out.

But check-in pages are different. Basically, daily check-ins are sentence starters that you answer each and every day. It doesn’t matter if you do these in the morning or evening. I’ve been experimenting with my days to see which works for me and this is a night thing.

The other thing about a daily check-in – it only takes a few minutes. Literally, writing out a few sentence stems each day takes 2-3 minutes and is normally less than 5. And I am often surprised by my answers as I write mine out.

Journaling is a uniquely personal thing!

Before I give you the questions I want you to keep in mind a couple of things.

1. Journaling is your very own practice. There are no right or wrong answers.
2. Let the template I give you be suggestions. If you are working on a specific goal – add that in. If the questions don’t work for you, change them. Make it personal.

Here are the daily check-ins sentence starters:

-I feel vulnerable about…
-I feel grateful about…
-I feel pride regarding…
-I aspire to someday…
-Achieving my goals would be easier if I…

That’s it. Six sentence starters that can help you make positive changes in your world.

If you aren’t someone who journals, I would encourage you to find a simple journal and begin with these sentence starters. Since they only take a couple of minutes, there is nothing to hold you back from starting a journal.

Let me know if you try this journaling technique. I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Until next time,

Creating Writing Rituals That Work

Creating Writing Rituals That Work

Even if you don’t feel like writing!

We’ve all had those days. Days where just rolling out of bed seems like too much effort. Not to mention, writing is hard work on the best of days. What do you do when you have goals and deadlines you’ve agreed to?

One way you can set yourself up for success is to create a writing ritual. One that moves your writing forward and create a habit that will get you moving no matter how you feel.

Creating Rituals

When you begin to create rituals for yourself, the first place to look is what you are currently doing and what is working? If something is working, keep doing that. However, if you are struggling to maintain what you are currently doing, perhaps looking at the following items will help you find ways that work.

1. Setting: Where are you currently writing? Does that work? If it doesn’t seem to be working, look around, what things do you like about your space? What things aren’t working? If your space is in the living room with your kids running around and the TV on, perhaps it is time to carve out another space. What about a coffee shop? Are there too many distractions? Do you need quiet or a bit of chaos?

2. Time of Day: There are writers who swear by morning writing and others who can’t write until their families go to bed? Still others who write on their lunch hours, if they get one. What time of day to you feel the most creative? Are you a morning person and don’t mind getting up an extra 45 minutes earlier to write? Or, do you feel your energy renewed in the evening and can crank out 1000 words with little effort? Finding the perfect time of day may take some experimentation but eventually you will find your sweet spot.

3. Beverage: I cannot begin my writing ritual without a hot cup of coffee. I may not drink it all but the sips I take help me to think and unclog my mind. Do you need coffee, tea? Or, nothing but water. If you write in the evening, does a glass of wine help you to relax and pump out those words? Do you need anything at all while you write, finding liquids too distracting? Not to mention, all the trips to the bathroom break up your flow.

4. Tools: What are your favorite tools you can’t live without? Do you need to write (and count) every word on a lap top or tablet? Can you write with a simple word processing program or do you like something with a bit more substance, such as Scrivener? Do you like the sound of that old typewriter, to get those creative juices flowing? What about pen and paper? Do you like writing with a roller ball or fountain pen? What about pencils or gel pens? Having your favorite tools on hand and in good working order takes away any barriers that may keep you from sitting down to write.

5. Music or Silence: This is a hotly debated subject within my personal writing communities. Some of my fellow writers create writing play lists on their favorite music sites. Others, like myself, prefer mellow music, played at random, often without words. Still others need absolute silence and resent any breakthrough sounds. What type of environment you can write in is a matter of taste. There is no wrong answer. However, a word of caution, if you feel the need to create a writing play list to accompany your current WIP, please do so outside of your chosen writing time. It takes time to create the perfect music list; time that you’ve dedicated to writing.

To be a writer, you need to write. It’s as simple and as difficult as that. Creating rituals can encourage writing. By spending a few minutes to think about what works for you, will help in the long run to keep you writing.

My Own Ritual

My own ritual involves the previously mentioned coffee, lighting a candle, a short affirmation and then morning pages with some meditative music playing in the background. I read Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, a few years ago and have been hooked on morning pages ever since. Once those words are done, I’m warmed up and ready to begin work on my current project. After my words are written, I blow out my candle and move on to the rest of my day.

This ritual is what works for me. Though it has evolved over the past few years, the basics don’t usually change. I’ve been able to create and maintain my writing habit so that even when I don’t feel the muse, I can still sit down and get the words out. They may not be the most wonderful words I’ve ever written but the truth is you can revise crappy words but cannot do anything with a blank page.

Until next time,

P.S. I have openings for creativity coaching. Please click Yes! I want to work with you!!! and we can get started.

Updates and an Opportunity

Updates and an Opportunity

I must apologize, I’ve been missing in action for the past few weeks. When I said enough is enough, I meant it.

I’ve been finishing up with some classes and getting some organization done. Things have been busy as usual around here.

We are currently finishing our 4th winter and the forecast looks good. But, since I live in Michigan, anything goes with the weather.

Days are getting longer and I am grateful for that. The wildflower seeds I ordered are here and I want to plant. Of course, all the snow needs to melt for that to happen.

In the past several months, I’ve been working on my coaching certificates, both in creativity coaching and soul based coaching. Neither are finished but but I am getting close.

Being close means that I am ready to begin seeing clients. Actually, I need to see clients in order to complete my requirements.

What does that mean for you?

Well, you have an opportunity to receive free coaching, up to 3 sessions, with the only requirement being open and willing to give a “green” coach a try.

Now this won’t last forever, so if you want to see what coaching is all about now is your chance.

Please click on the link below and fill out the form. I will get back to you to set up a time. All sessions will be held via Zoom and can be done through your phone.

Yes, I am interested in coaching!

I can’t wait to hear from you,
Until next time,