A Basic Journaling Practice – WRITE Exercise

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A favorite pen for journaling!

Each month, my goal is to give my readers a new journaling exercise and here is May’s – the WRITE exercise. Each day when you come to the blank page you can use this specific exercise, with or without a prompt, for your entry. And, it doesn’t take long.

I have journaled for nearly my entire life beginning with those little lock and key diaries that I never kept up. Sometimes I think I liked the idea of journaling much better than the actual process of journaling. Or perhaps I just didn’t know enough.

I wish I’d had this exercise when I first began.

Although I’ve always carried a book with me, I haven’t always written. In fact, I can’t remember a time that I didn’t have a journal of some kind. I never was consistent and I often struggled to know where to begin.

When I started writing consistently, I was writing morning pages using a soul writing method (those will be discussed at a later date). For the most part, I was successful at it. In fact, I believe I wouldn’t be writing the post now if I hadn’t begun doing that. And it was decently easy for me to do. Seldom for a want of words, I just needed to focus myself to do it.

These days, I am less consistent but I am more varied in my journaling techniques. The other thing I have worked at is to not beat myself up for not writing every day. Daily writing is my goal – always – and sometimes I am successful. For those days I’m not, it’s okay – there is always tomorrow.

Write Exercise

For those who struggle with coming to the blank page and not knowing where to begin. The Therapeutic Writing Institute, Kay Adams, has a simple framework to begin with your journaling. The acronym is WRITE:

W – What do you want to write about?
R – Review/Reflect
I – Investigate
T – Time
E – Exit Strategically

What do each of these mean? Good question.

The What is simple. What’s on your mind? Have you been struggling with something and want to explore it further? What am I feeling at this moment? Yes, the possibilities are endless but I like to refer to the idea of ‘write what’s on top of your head’.

The Review/Reflect is taking a few moments to center yourself before you begin writing. Take 10 deep slow breaths. Try an entrance meditation. Light a candle and breath normally while looking at it. Anything that you like to do to quiet your brain and put yourself in the space for journaling.

Investigate is writing your thoughts and feelings. Start writing and keep writing. Follow your thoughts through the pen or keyboard. If you get stuck, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Reread what you’ve written and start writing again.

Time is giving yourself a time limit. You can journal anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Pick up your pen or your keyboard and write until the timer goes off.

Exit Strategically is something that has been life changing for me. It includes reading what you’ve written and writing a sentence or two reflecting on it. You can use the things like “This felt…”, “I’m surprised by…”, “My body felt…”, “I am more aware of…”, “I learned…” It only takes a few moments to reflect your work and this practice helps embody what you’ve learned through your journaling. It helps to solidify your thoughts and realize things you may not have before.

This WRITE exercise is the beginning of a writing ritual to help build a journaling habit. It is a good way to give yourself structure when it comes to your blank book. And you can discover things about yourself that you’ve never known.

I hope you try this exercise a few times to see how it works for you. Journaling can be life changing if you let it.

Until next time,


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