Why You Need To Journal (Even if You Think It’s Bulls**t)

Trust the process. It might just change your life for the better.

Journaling is about so much more than just writing a to-do list.

Done consistently, it’s a conscious tool to learn about life. Your life.

You can tick off to-do lists all day long and ‘get sh**t done.’ But if you want to experience real success and happiness — make friends with your Self through journaling.

From your innermost self to your most distant past. This magical process can help you discover who you really are, recover your creativity, gain clarity about your life and get happier.

Life is meaningful only when we are conscious, really conscious of truth, Reality, and things as they are.

I use it to improve my writing, express my creative side, release self-limiting beliefs and get down to the business of my Self.

The good, the bad, and the ugly. Because human beings are full of light and dark — all of us.

Great leaders and misfits have found inspiration in this simple and inexpensive act.

They journaled their way to success and happiness.

Why can’t you?

I was fortunate to discover journaling from a very young age. And have found it to be a profound and transformative act. Each act is like a moment of a symphony with its own beginning, middle and end.

Words spill out onto the paper like a wave rolling over the sea’s surface.

When I let go…

…the words breathe.

Where will they take me today?

An undiscovered world where the peace of words is planted in the rich and fertile landscape of the page.

A sense of something greater than my me me-ness emerges, a more solid sense of Self.

A dimly sensed recognition of the strongest force in the universe; love, infuses the paper.

Taoists believe there is an immense benevolent force (the Tao or the ‘Way’) flowing through all of reality. Each of us is part of that force. Journaling helps you align with it.

It’s kind of a meditative experience. But it goes deeper than that.

I’ve been meditating consistently for many years now but there is still dark ‘stuff’ that lingers in my psyche. We all have it. It holds our secrets, impulses, repressed thoughts, and raw feelings.

We can’t ignore it and pretend it doesn’t exist. Tried that. It took me hostage and then seeped out all over the place. Not pretty.

But we can make peace with it through journaling.

Give yourself permission to express yourself on paper

Notice I said ‘paper’ not a laptop?

I believe in the power of the pen. I have two notebooks at the side of my bed, one is for stream-of-consciousness writing in the morning (3 pages a sitting) and a reflection practice at night. The other is for ideas that come throughout the day for my writing or anything else.

Journaling doesn’t always develop smoothly. The first few times you write might be chaotic. That’s ok. Stay with it.

Fear, feelings of inadequacy, suppressed anger, resentments, hidden pools of hopes and dreams, joys and dreads. Chaotic painful aspects. You will catch a glimpse of all of them if you keep moving your pen. Notice I started with the word ‘fear’.

‘Fear is the raw material from which courage is manufactured. Without it, we wouldn’t know what it means to be brave.’ Martha Beck

There will be moments of disbelief and distrust of the process.

But keep going.

What happens when you trust the process?

All the devices of dis-trust fall away.

The journal becomes a nurturing climate capable of releasing undreamed potentialities.

We meet and make friends with our thoughts and feelings. We consciously move (with the pen) in and out of the vast rooms of beginnings and endings. We honor and let go. We see that life is abundant with possibilities.

An invitation to journey inward while journaling is a mission of discovery.

Nothing in this universe was created from the outside in.

Relax the thinking mind. Stay in the flow of experiencing with curiosity, openness, and inner focus. Wrap your arms around it. Relaxed, receptive, and non-judgemental.

Find something ordinary and tell your journal about it.

Fall in love with the ups and downs of your life.

Tell your journal what your biggest mistake has been.

Tell your journal about the last time you experienced joy.

Tell your journal what you are deep down, heartfelt grateful for.

Tell your journal what your last ever word will be.

Let the words rise up from the center of your belly. Don’t get bogged down in explanations, crash through.

The action of journaling has a subtle power to illuminate patterns that might be holding you back.

There are only two are three human stories and they keep on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.

Start a journal.

If you have a nagging dissatisfaction with things as they are.

Start a journal.

If you have a vague sense that something is wrong.

Start a journal.

If you are feeling disappointed, restless, irritable and finding no lasting happiness in…well…anything.


You’ll want to do things you’ve never done

Once you get into the rhythm of the journal you might develop an urge to do something new. Just for the fun of it.

Life is a menu. You’re free to sample whatever looks the most delicious.

What did that look like for me?

I painted pebbles, baked bread, made soaps, changed careers, trained as a yoga teacher, started collecting vinyl again, and danced… a lot.

You’re creativity returns and it’s on fire.

Prepare for major life changes

Splurge all your ideas onto the paper. Blast through limiting beliefs. Trample over these psychological electric fences with your pen.

Dream big in the safety of your journal.

I designed a completely new life from the one I was living in great detail…

…and it came true.

I wrote about living in a mountain house with my son and a black Labrador dog, with a swimming pool, garden, veg patch, and chickens somewhere sunny. I was living in a city in the north of England at the time, a single mum of a 2-year-old boy, with no pets and just about getting by.

Fast forward 6 years and we are living in a mountain house in the North of Portugal. Everything was exactly as I had described except we had a yellow (not black) Labrador. Marvin…he’s still with us.

Mountain house

Value and nourish every dream that pops into your head, take them all to your journal. The writing loosens us up to move into a state of genuine desire that lies on the border between possibility and impossibility.

Let’s get something straight though.

Just writing dreams up in your journal isn’t going to work. All dreams are realized through consistent action. But the magic really does follow longing and intention. The act of writing stimulates the longing and solidifies the intention.

Make this a practical experiment for yourself. Use it as a tool to melt your frozen dreams, and unblock creative areas that have been ignored.

Your journal is the pathway. It’s a treasure map to your interior landscape, to your own unafraid truth and a rich and purposeful life.

You are designed to find the life you were meant to live.

You will find out where in your life there is mess. Clear it away. Get to the other side of it. Confusion will be replaced with clarity.

As you write your problems will become lessons, pain will be replaced with peace and wisdom.

Know thy Self.

There are two components to my journaling practice.

1. Stream of consciousness writing

Done in the morning, every morning, on awakening.

You free-write three pages, no more, no less. Nothing is too silly, too stupid or too weird to be included. If you do this consistently you will get to the other side of fear, negative self-talk and all that petty whiny stuff to that place where the still small voice lives. I like to start and end my pages with ‘thank you’.

Takes 10 minutes a day.

Adapted from Julia Cameron’s journaling technique called morning pages.

2. Self-reflection

Done in the evening, every evening, at the end of each day.

I ask myself the following questions:

  • What purposeful things did I get done today?
  • Did I bring my best self into all my interactions today?
  • What could I have done better/differently?

Takes 10 minutes.

There you have it. 20 minutes a day.

Show up.

Write freely.

Every single day.

No negotiations.

Quick Recap

Journaling is not a to-do list.

It’s a tool to help you:

Get to know yourself better

Get a new perspective

Get your creativity flowing

Get unstuck

Create a rich and purposeful life.

A journaling practice doesn’t take lots of time, but if you want it to be effective, you need to be consistent.

Trust the process.



Curious. Bookworm. Writer. I write about personal growth, life lessons and finding divine love in everyday life.

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Wanda Maria

Curious. Bookworm. Writer. I write about personal growth, life lessons and finding divine love in everyday life.