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  • Writer's pictureLeah VanHoose

Dear Diary

"If you read someone else's diary, you get what you deserve." ~David Sedaris

I’ve found that journaling either comes naturally, like myself. I have journaled since my pre-teen years. Probably because my mother has journaled every single day of her entire life. You live what you learn. Or people resist. I hear “I don’t even know what to write.” or “I don’t want anyone else to read my secrets!”

I’m going to teach you what to write about. Give you some exercises to do and help you enrich your life. There really is no secret. No normal or right way to journal. Just WRITE!

W- What do you want to write about? Your days? Your dreams? Your goals? Your frustrations? Your plans? All of it! Write write write!

R- Reflect first. Think about what you want to write about today before you put pen to paper. Find a good comfy spot, settle in, and take a couple of deep breaths. Think about how you feel. Think about what you want. Think about what has been weighing on your mind lately. Now write.

I- Inspect your thoughts and feelings then, just write. No need to worry yourself with spelling or punctuation, just write. Get it out. If you get stuck be done for the day or close your eyes and refocus. Then continue. Looking back, you’ll be happy you did!

T- Time Set some parameters for yourself. Set a clock for 5-10 minutes(more if you like). Maybe set a certain amount of words. Or a certain amount of pages. There's a website called 750 words. I use that to write sometimes. I know I am getting 750 words out, or 3 pages.

E- Extract a nugget. Re-read what you have written. Summarize it into a statement and look for the action steps for your day or week. Just think of what you can create for your life by writing it out and finding the path!

  • Your journal is YOURS! If you want to share, by all means, please do! But, your journal is for your eyes only. It is a special place for all of your thoughts, hopes, dreams, desires, fuck-ups, and emotions. Hide it. Lock it. Start a new email where only you have the address. Keep it on a flash drive. Do whatever you need to do to ensure your privacy. I still remember the day in sixth grade when my Mom read my diary. I had written about how much I hated her(she probably made me make my bed) and besides hurting her feelings, she violated my trust. I learned after that to always keep my diary hidden. I encourage you to write everything then if you feel the need, delete it, scribble out the words or burn the fucker. Just know that no one else needs to even know it exists.

  • Make it a ritual. Journaling is self-care. Sit by a sunny window, at your favorite coffee shop, on your back porch, or at your desk. Anywhere you are comfortable. Light a candle. Play some soft music. Meditate a few minutes before to clear your mind. Make it part of your day that is strictly for you.

  • Date every entry. When you look back you’ll want to know when this time of your life was. Then you’ll know how to color the blank spaces between entries.

  • Keep it. Looking back is pretty amazing to see the story you have created for yourself. It is the book of you! When I look back I see how moving to Florida has been in my story since I graduated high school. It just took me a long freaking time! But it happened!!

  • Just start. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what to write about. I’ll give you prompts if you can’t think of anything. You’ll find once you start, it will flow out. If not, think about what’s going on in your life right now. Write a story about an incident or something you’d like to happen. Write out your dreams. Just write.

  • Don’t lie to yourself. Being completely honest with yourself can be very hard but if you can’t be honest with yourself who can you be honest with? Your truth may be hard to express. Write it in pieces or get it all out at once. Whatever you are comfortable with but never lie.

  • Write any way it feels good to you. There are no rules. Let it flow. Do what works for you. Please don’t let it stress you out, it’s supposed to be your life creation! How awesome is that?

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