When I was a child I kept diaries, reading them now they seem very dry and unemotional, maybe I was scared someone would read them. It wasn't until my 20s that I started collecting quotes and writing more freely, and only in my 40s that I've felt more liberated to let it all hang out.
Out in Africa, my son was given a journal which he enjoys writing and winding down with at night. He loves it and this is largely due to the inspirational person who presented it to him and taught him all the different ways he could use it.
Some of the benefits I've found for journaling include - improving mental health, raising self esteem, solving problems and processing grief and loss.
I read Julia Cameron's book a few years back and did the exercise on Morning Pages, I still do go back to this unconcious way of writing at times. You can google and find out more about this method, essentially it's - write freely, let it go and don't think or stop for 3 pages.
These are some of the key points I made in my 'personal development' journal from the CD, in no particular order -
Writing creates a space between you and the problem and in this space solutions have room to grow.
It reduces the strength of fears, worries, anxiety etc.
A personal growth story, a place to document your own growth, a textbook of self discovery and self awareness.
A way to creatively problem solve and make effective decisions.
Most of our personal growth comes as a result of our errors and the problems and we can steps we can take to move forward.
If an idea is worth listening to and reading then it's worth capturing and writing down.
You are not going to be graded on your journal it is just for you, break any rules you wish to - be it grammar, spellings, pictures, diagrams, write and do what you want in it.
Glue in quotes, clippings, photos, pictures etc
Select a journal that looks and feels right for you, ruled or lined - you are putting your valuable thoughts into it spend money on it if you wish.
Journaling is a space to capture your ideas
Flexibility in life is the key to success
Always look for new ways to facilitate and accommodate new ideas
Develop a journaling habit
How many times do we think 'oh I must remember that' so write it down
Keep it close by
Journaling is a way for lots of little ideas to come together much like snowflakes come together to form balls and then snowmen
But what about the things we don't write, what are the shadows we cast between the lines, do these also reveal who we are, can we learn from these too?
Record the date and time as a reference to look back on
Treat it as an empathetic friend
There are so many things to journal about and of course lots of ideas on the web. Before you search for them though what are your passions, values, dreams, goals, hobbies, interests etc - first make a list that comes from your own head and heart.