How to write in a Journal
It may sound like a silly question, but it does take some time to learn how to make the most of your journaling experience. Here are a few tips that I have gleaned from years of personal journal writing.
Write to Your Best Friend
Act like you are writing to your best friend, like you are having a conversation. Use the paper as a means to unload your mind and release whatever thoughts keep going round and round in your mind. But as you start out (the hardest time of the writing process) think of how you would say it to your best friend, someone you trust and who will not criticize you. Pour your heart out as a first draft and let it flow like a real monologue. You can revamp it later.
Write With the Door Closed
Write with the door closed. This is the best piece of advice I have ever heard from successful author, Stephen King. He explains in his book, On Writing , that you have to close the door to the outside world and write like no one will ever read it. That is the beauty of an electronic journal where it can be password encoded and you can put all your deepest secrets and desires in a place that no one could ever read.
Sometimes it helps you to actually close a door to the room where you are writing. Take the phone off the hook and disconnect from your email, anything that will remind you of an outside world. Just like writing to your best friend, as you close the door to the exterior world, drop all "possible" judgments about what you write.
How to Get Into the Flow
You'll need to get into the flow before you start producing anything solid to work from. This means that you'll probably need to babble for about 15 -20 minutes before you hit pay dirt. The first quarter of an hour will be things off the top of your head. Get this stuff out of the way first and you'll begin access to your deeper thoughts. If you have to, just write about your day, your plans or your current feelings. This will take you through your mental pathway to the subconscious which is buried under your surface thoughts.
In order to get a good session from writing in a journal, you need to open up completely, stop judging yourself and your writing and let whatever comes out onto the written page. By doing that consistently, you'll find the process gets easier and easier. Just open up the page, close the door and chat with that inner non-critical buddy of yours.