Do you know anyone who journals regularly? If your answer is yes, then you’re quite lucky, because very few people actually practice this art form, and even among the journaling population, fewer individuals are open to talking about it. Even though, Lynda says that “the latter is not my experience, journal writers love talking about journaling with fellow journal writers.”
Journaling is one of those practices that a great majority of us neither appreciate nor understand. But it’s not completely our fault. We grew up with computers and mobile phones and televisions, and being told that certain measures like productivity or work KPIs are what we need to prioritize. We spend a great amount of energy focusing on accomplishing things that, ultimately, increase others’ perception of us; because whether we like it or not, subconsciously or not, our brains equate positive feedback with winning and success…and ultimately, happiness.
Journaling does not provide these things. It’s a very introspective process that explores your own thoughts and perceptions. It is still and quiet. And as members of a modern society, we (busy professionals) don’t inherently value these things, which is essentially why we think journaling is both a practice that does not add any value to our lives and is boring.
But that can’t be farther from the truth. In fact even science agrees that journaling provides life-changing benefits and even considers the art form as a panacea for modern life.
I recently learned that journaling (societies) organizations exist and this got me really curious. How can a practice that’s so intimate and personal be shared with others? I reached out to Lynda Monk who is the Director of the International Association for Journal Writing (IAJW) to find out more. Lynda is a Registered Social Worker and a Certified Professional Life Coach. We did a quick interview to help shed light on some of the most common questions people who are just finding out about journaling have.
Why should people consider journaling?
Journaling is life changing! It is a simple yet profound tool that offers many life enriching benefits. Journaling is a proven way to improve health, reduce stress, gain clarity, solve problems and live with a greater sense of meaning and purpose. It is like having your own personal therapist available at any time. Journaling offers you new insights that are just right for you because they emerge from your own inner wisdom. It does this through writing and reflecting on the page.
For those who have never journaled or kept a diary, how do they start?
There are many tips for getting started with journaling. You can check out our popular article on “How to Journal – A Complete Guide for Getting Started with Journaling” for lots of great ideas. But in essence, you just really have to start. Journaling is not a practice that has a lot of limitations. As long as you have your pen and paper with you, you can start right away. Although, reading up on articles about how to get the most out of your journey really helps.
What is the ideal environment for journaling?
The most ideal environment for journaling is unique for everyone. Some people love journaling in quiet places, others like to listen to their favourite music while they write, and some love the bustle and energy of journaling in their favourite coffee shop. Ultimately, the best environment for journaling is one where you feel comfortable and will enjoy the experience of taking some time to write and reflect.
Why is it important to be a part of a community like the IAJW if you are journaling?
Our IAJW community fuels connection and creativity. There are groups for anything and everything, and there is a good reason for this. When we come together, and are a part of a community with others who share our interests or have similar goals, we gain inspiration, ideas, and in the case of the IAJW, transformational growth. Our members often share that they experience belonging, validation, and connection in our global journaling community. Being part of a community can help you deepen your journaling practice and take it to the next level, whatever that might mean for you! Communities also create support and creative synergy through the power of stories. But the best reason of all is that we have a lot of fun.
What is the ‘why’ behind everything that IAJW does?
The IAJW is on a mission to become the largest inspirational and educational membership community for journal writers worldwide. Why? Because journaling changes lives. It improves health, fosters greater self-awareness, and supports people to live empowered, self-expressed lives. Journaling is a transformational practice for individuals and groups alike. For example, journaling in community with others can build creativity, compassion, and connection. We engage in regular “Writing Alone Together (WAT)” circles in our IAJW community. I facilitate these monthly WAT circles as one of our IAJW member benefits and we have members from all over the world regularly participating in this event.
Are there any other tips that you’d like to pass on to those who are curious about journaling and how IAJW can help them?
IAJW can help new and avid journal writers alike to start writing, keep writing, and get the most out of their journaling practices. We do more than teach you how to journal, we help you live your best life through journaling. As a Registered Social Worker and Life Coach, I have been working in the transformational, wellness and personal growth space for over 30 years. I have witnessed many people improve and transform their lives, health, careers, relationships, and more with the help of purposeful journaling.
The International Association for Journal Writing exists to provide inspiration, information and connection for journal writers worldwide. To learn more about them, you may visit www.iajw.org or follow @iajw__ on Instagram and @IAJW.org on Facebook.