April 28, 2018

Journals: Daily Morning Journaling

As I've been preparing for my big move (3 Days left!), I've been sorting through a lot of my old sketchbooks and journals to decide what to keep and what to ditch. Of course, this means going down memory lane and re-reading some of my old journal entries and the many "novels" I'd start as a kid, all with plots suspiciously similar to Harry Potter (but with a female protagonist) or whatever other book I had devoured at the time!

I realized that I used to journal a LOT. And I love being able to re-read through them, especially when I'd capture some good moments (not just the cathartic angsty entries), or when I'd journal some philosophical thoughts and insight I had since forgotten I ever had, or when I'd write little poem bits in the margins. I want to bring that kind of creative and soulful writing back into my life, but it's hard to know what to write about right off the bat, when you're out of practice.

In the past I've tried doing daily journaling to overcome feeling out of practice. I bought an agenda to keep track of which days I wrote what, with just enough room for a quick little journal entry. I also tried gratitude journaling, writing about my shifts at work where interactions are often ones I want to remember.... none of it has really stuck for me.

So when I stumbled upon this list of 31 Morning Journaling Prompts by Marc and Angel, two professional life coaches who blog lots of self help and self development content, I felt a bit skeptical but wanted to give it a try. The prompts are meant to help you self reflect, and begin to think about things differently. I really liked the list and it seemed like a therapeutic practice to get into. The idea of a morning routine also seemed good for me, as I tend to be way more productive in the mornings, especially if I get started right away with my coffee next to me, before I can dawdle or get distracted. I hoped that by starting with some personal writing, I would prime myself for doing my Master's thesis writing, which had been hard to motivate myself to do.

And it WORKED! My routine became really smooth and enjoyable: wake up around 7AM, get a coffee in the kitchen, bring it up to my desk in my room, put some music on and listen through headphones to block out other noise, do one of the 31 Morning Journaling Prompts in my journal for about 10 minutes, then jump into my day of work-at-home! Or, alternatively, get a bit of work-at-home done before heading off to whatever job I was working that day. I found that I could then focus on my school work, or work work, way better than before and I loved the feeling of being in the flow before I even get started!

Morning Journaling has been better than evening journaling for me, because I am often out and about at night, or tired and uninspired. My mornings are when things flow, so it's been good to figure that one out. Also, I decided not to be hard on myself if I miss a morning. I often stay at my fella's place and either forget to bring my journal with me, or would rather drink coffee and do sudoku's with him. So while it is a 'daily' morning routine, I put no pressure on myself to actually do it every morning if something else came up. That said, it became a practice I looked forward to, so it became easier to do it every morning when I'm at home and have work to get to. And of course, because I'm incorrigibly drawn to aesthetics and visuals, I bought myself a date stamp and I just love the way it looks at the top of the page. Especially if I make a mistake with it (it's a finicky little stamp) and have to repeat the stamp. There's just something about the imperfection and texture of it that I LOVE. It's a great addition to the whole routine of it, too.

Do you have a journaling routine? Have you tried any lists of journal prompts that you recommend? I just got to the end of Marc and Angel's, and I'd be curious to try some others!

Let me know in the comments. xx

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