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January Is National Journaling Month

By Diana Raab December 30, 2020 Lifestyle

I’ve been journaling since the age of 10, when my mother gave me a journal to help me cope with the death of my grandmother, who’d been my caretaker.

Little did I realize that my mother’s seemingly simple gesture would set the stage for my life as a writer. While I no longer have the journal, my closet is filled with boxes of completed ones that I’ve kept over the years.

When to Journal?

I’ve turned to journaling during happy times, but more often during challenging times, to help me navigate my journey and attain healing and transformation. Writing has helped me make sense of what I was going through. Plus, the journal “listened” to me without judgment.

Many writers and great thinkers have written and spoken about the idea that from all bad comes good, and without the mud there is no lotus… and there is wisdom in those words.

Writer Hermann Hesse said it like this: “I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way, we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” 

Through journaling, one can delve into those feelings that at first seem to come from a negative place, and then, through writing about them, see the beauty in the seeming misfortune.

A Transformative Experience

For example, living through a pandemic has been transformative to all of us. We’ve had to deal with personal, professional, and global shifts in our way of thinking, acting, and doing. And, during the past 10 months, there’s something that each one of us has learned about ourselves, others, and the universe.

Maybe you realized that the person you lived with is impossible to live with, or you developed deeper gratitude for your partner. Perhaps this year you learned what is really important in life.

And on a more mundane level, maybe you learned how to connect via Zoom and recognize how powerful video chatting can be. By journaling, you can explore these types of emotions and revelations in a positive way.

Begin Writing

January 1 marks the beginning of National Journal Writing Month, a perfect time to pick up your journal and write. Perhaps you already have a favorite journal, but if you’re on the lookout for one, please check out mine, called Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal, which was released not too long ago.

Think of your journal as your refuge, your companion, your sanctuary, and the container for your thoughts. It’s the place to celebrate the amazing you, whether things are running smoothly or you’re going through a rough patch.

My lined journal models the famous Moleskin journals used by well-published writers over the centuries. It has writing prompts to help you along, and there are also some blank pages at the back for random musings.

Consider writing about what you’ve learned about yourself during the past year, and how you and your loved ones have changed and grown.

New Year, New Expectations

Most of us alive on this planet now are thrilled to ring in the New Year, as 2020 was almost too much to bear. Never did we think we’d live through a pandemic and all the ramifications it has presented, including compromised physical, mental, and emotional issues and challenging financial situations, to list just a few.

Events change us, and the events that transform us the most can be pivotal and life-changing – so stop what you’re doing and journal about them!

Do you think journaling is powerful? Have you kept a journal for some part of your life? Did you find it helpful? Would you make journaling your New Year’s resolution? Please share with us!

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The Author

Diana Raab, PhD, is memoirist, blogger, speaker, and award-winning author of 10 books, and numerous articles. She often writes and speaks on writing for healing and transformation. Her latest books are Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Program for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life and Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal. Explore her books and Conversation Cards for Meaningful Storytelling.

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