Creating a Journaling Ritual (or writing ritual) to build habits.
Creating rituals and habits aren’t as easy as it sounds.
It takes a willingness to look at your life and the habit you want to cultivate. It also requires intention.
A final thought is to have a goal in mind. I’m not saying that you need to have a SMART goal set, just a general “I want to write in my journal every day.” Or, “I will write three joys from my day each evening.”
Simple and to the point, and perhaps a bit of a smart goal. That’s okay too.
When you begin to create rituals for yourself, the first place to look is what you are currently doing and what is working? If something is working, keep doing that. However, if you are struggling to maintain what you are currently doing, perhaps looking at the following items will help you find ways that work.
1. Setting: Where are you currently writing? Does that work? If it doesn’t seem to be working, look around, what things do you like about your space? What things are working? If your space is in the living room with your kids running around and the TV on, perhaps it is time to carve out another space.
2. Time of Day: There are people who swear by morning writing and others who can’t write until their families go to bed?
Still, others who write on their lunch hours, if they get one.
When do you feel the most creative? Are you a morning person and don’t mind getting up an extra 45 minutes earlier to write? Or, is evening a better time for you? Finding the perfect time of day may take some experimentation but eventually, you will find your sweet spot.
3. Beverage: I cannot begin my writing ritual without a hot cup of coffee. I may not drink it all but the sips I take help me to think and unclog my mind. Do you need coffee, tea? Or, nothing but water.
If you write in the evening, does a glass of wine help you to relax and pump out those words? Do you need anything at all while you write, finding liquids too distracting? Not to mention, all the trips to the bathroom can break up your flow.
4. Tools: What are your favorite tools you can’t live without? Are you a pen and paper person? Do you have a favorite journal where you prefer to keep your thoughts? Or just a simple pad of paper? Can you write with just any old pen, or do you need a special pen? Perhaps a fountain pen, which is my favorite, although there are others that work well.
Or, do you like to type out your words? There are many different online journals or diary apps that allow you to write anywhere or anytime. It is whatever makes you feel the best.
5. Music or Silence: When journaling, do you need complete silence or do you have a favorite station with mellow music? There is no wrong answer here, just keep in mind that the idea is to write in your journal, and not spend time searching for the “perfect” music.
6. Reading: Creating a journaling ritual can involve spirituality in whatever form works for you. Often, I have a book nearby that I will read a section from before I begin my writing. It gives me something to focus on or to think about as I write. It isn’t necessary but can be a part of your ritual.
My Own Ritual
My own ritual involves the previously mentioned coffee, lighting a candle, a short affirmation and then morning pages with some meditative music playing in the background.
I read Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, a few years ago and have been hooked on morning pages ever since. Once those words are done, I’m warmed up and ready to begin work on my current project.
After my words are written, I blow out my candle and move on to the rest of my day.
The idea behind creating a journaling ritual is to find out what works for you. And that ritual can evolve as you make your way through this journey. Remember to be flexible. There is no perfect.
I wrote a version of these words a couple of years ago and posted them on my other blog (www.achoekwater.com). As I read them again, I realize some of my rituals are the same and some aren’t. The main thing I am going to take away from a revisiting of my post is that I do need to look at my own writing ritual again.
I still write morning pages – some of the time. But I want to create a dedicated writing time and rituals to go along with it. I’m going to look at these items and see where that leads me.
I hope that you will join me in this venture.
Until next time,
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