How – and Why – to Discover Yourself Through Journaling

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.“
~William Wordsworth

Are you going through tough times, or dealing with turbulent emotions you find it hard to discuss with others? You may find, as I have, that writing a journal is an ideal way to understand and process your thoughts, fears, worries, hopes and dreams.

Or, perhaps you’re an aspiring writer who longs to express yourself and hone your writing skills. That’s another reason so many people are embracing journaling and memoir writing these days.

Journal writing is an intimate process that many people gravitate to when life is in transition, usually starting in our teenage years. We need a private place to share our confusion, misunderstandings and passions, and our journal can be our faithful companion.

Many of us feel we need a journal to stay sane. So we find a book of blank pages that speaks to us in the store, we buy it and bring it home. Now what?

Some people quickly dive in and write, and write, and write. So much pours forth until they are an empty vessel, which opens the door to new beginnings. Others have so much to say and no idea how to begin, so the book just stays blank.

I created this website to provide a catalyst and helpful resources for journal writing. Here are a few tips to help you get started on this life-changing process.

    • To begin, all you need is your journal and a pen. Anchor each new passage with a title and a date. This title sets an intention for your entry. It can be a question you want to ask yourself, such as “What do I want in life?” Or it can be a theme, like “Being a parent.”
    • Take an idea that has power for you or captures your imagination. While you write, see if you can observe yourself writing and notice any sensations in your body. You can jot down those sensations in your journal or just pay attention to them. The aim here is to cultivate a deeper aspect of yourself while you share in your journal.
    • For some of you, the easiest avenue to observe yourself is to consciously breathe. Take a deep breath, feel the air fill your lungs and exhale. See if you can breathe naturally while writing in your journal, paying attention to both. Maybe you are successful for two breaths. Excellent. Start again when you forget.

* While writing, it is completely natural to have many thoughts crowding your brain or to get sucked into the emotions you’re describing. Fine. When you remember, just start again with paying attention to your breath and/or your sensations in your body.

Why journal?

This method of using your journal to create a foundation for understanding and transforming yourself is based on an ancient spiritual practice. While it may appear simple, a daily writing practice can pay great dividends.

The more we practice journal writing and closely observe our experiences, feelings and thoughts, the stronger our muscle will become to shift major difficulties in life, invite new opportunities, and discover levels of understandings that will change our lives forever.

If you’d like to learn more about four easy-to-use methods of journal writing, you can receive a free download of the first chapter of The Four Methods of Journal Writing: Finding Yourself through Memoir by entering your first name and email address in the right column.

I look forward to sharing this journey of self-discovery with you. Feel free to contact me at: newmemoirpress@gmail.com if you have questions, tips or journaling stories you’d like to share.

Share your story!

Melissa Burch