I started journaling this January and, not to be dramatic, but it was a life-changing practice and has altered my outlook on myself and my art forever.
I had journaled casually before but mostly when I felt I was on the verge of a breakdown or a breakthrough, so only my extremes were recorded. But I feel that the middle of the road, where I spend most of my time, was actually more important to document and would help me grow as well as make breakthroughs more consistent.
I never have a goal in mind when I’m journaling; I don’t really care how long or short it is or if it’s interesting or not. Most of the time it’s just a stream of consciousness with no real end or beginning. The only thing I try and maintain is my honesty and transparency with myself. I’m the only one who reads it, so it has opened me up to being vulnerable in a degree I have never reached before. I’m not exposing only my lowest lows and celebrating my highest highs but I’m revealing me skipping along in the middle, sometimes it’s a little more like a trudge, but it shows day-by-day progress, something I never had to look back on. Through charting my life on a daily basis, I’ve been able to go even deeper into my values and better analyze what obstacles are in my way and why it’s stopping me. Things have become so much clearer once the patterns of my behaviors were all patched together like a quilt.
Even when it feels like I have nothing else to learn or vent or celebrate, I still write because often something creeps up or out of me that I didn’t realize I was harboring. It’s been a freeing and meditative experience for me and has made me feel much more rooted in why I create. I’ve been able to create stronger ideas by freeing my mind of all the subconscious thought and all the tabs that were open in the back of my mind. Keeping a journal has made me not only a better artist but also made me more self-aware of my inner-workings, strengths and where I can grow. I recommend keeping a journal to anyone; it’s something I’m going to keep as a key part of my practice for the rest of my life. ✦