Why the Most Creative Minds Journal
Do you journal? Have you ever considered it? Or do you think it’s only for people who are good at writing? Journaling is a practice that can greatly enhance your creativity.
Artists, authors, inventors, entrepreneurs, and scientists have used journaling over the years. It’s not only the great minds of the past like Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Mark Twain, Frida Kahlo and Maya Angelou who have used journaling as a tool to enhance their creativity. Although these famous visionaries kept journals, present-day great minds like Tim Ferriss, Michael Hyatt, and Jim Rohn still keep journaling. So it’s not a thing of the past.
“A life worth living is a life worth recording.” ~ Jim Rohn
I started journaling when I was a teenager. There was something about writing my thoughts on the pages of a book that was very liberating to me. I didn’t write because I wanted anyone to read about my life’s accomplishments or keep a record for future generations. No! It was nothing like that. Contrary to all that, I just wanted to express myself and in fact, it was important to me that no one read my journal.
Your journal doesn’t have to be pretty. It just has to be written by you and for you.
As a bookworm who read a lot of mystery books like Nancy Drew, Secret Seven, and the Hardy Boys, I created my own code language (very nerdish, I know 🙂) which I used to write in my journals to make sure no one could read them. And that truly is the purpose of journaling:- self-expression. Your journal doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to meet any expectations. It just has to be written by you and for you.
Over the years, I’ve continued to journal consistently (well without my teenage secret codes). And it has served me really well. Now I know all the research behind why journaling is a good habit to develop. But back then I had no clue.
“If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured, and unique individual, keep a journal.” ~ Jim Rohn
Benefits of Journaling
- Gets your creative juices flowing. Our mind space is important for cultivating our creativity. When your mind is cluttered with all kinds of thoughts, it can make you blocked and unable to be your creative best. Julia Cameron’s book The Artist Way made journaling, which she calls, “Morning Pages” very popular among creatives for that reason.
- Makes you resilient. Although I didn’t intend it that way, my journal has become a record of my life journey. When I review my journal, it makes me realize that the things I was anxious and worried about, fearful of, and stressed over did not utterly “wipe me out” like I feared they would. So if I could overcome those things, I can overcome today’s challenges as well.
- Gives you an abundance mindset. Your journal will make you grateful for all the little things we often overlook in our lives. It makes you see how blessed you are with the joys of everyday life.
- It’s great for your health. The literature on the health benefits of journaling is really extensive. Here are a few health outcomes when you journal: improved immune system functioning, fewer stress-related visits to the doctor, reduced blood pressure, improved lung & liver function, improved mood, and feeling of greater psychological well-being.
- It helps you clarify your thoughts. Author Flannery Connor says, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” And if you’re journaling by hand, there are special benefits for handwriting too.
- Trains you to build your creative confidence. The more you journal, the more you learn to express yourself freely and overcome that inner voice of judgment which blocks creativity.
- A source of ideas for creative work. I write everything in my journal, including my creative ideas. Usually, when I wake up in the morning I get fresh ideas. Journaling helps me capture those ideas before they elude me. Author, Elizabeth Gilbert in her famous TED talk explains how sometimes the creative spark comes when you’re not ready for it. As a result, you have to have a way of capturing it before it flees away from you. Journaling is a good way to accomplish that. Keep your journal next to your bed 🙂
- Helps you reflect on your creative process. I’ve written about this before. Journaling and in turn writing, has helped me tremendously to understand my own creative process and to blog about it. Without writing, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate my creative process as well as I do now.
There are definitely tons of reasons you should try journaling. If you’re convinced and interested in journaling, here are some tips to help you.
Simple Tips to Help You Start Journaling
- Get a specific notebook, journal, or app you will use for journaling
- Set aside a specific time of day to journal (mornings work for most people)
- Decide on a specific duration of time you’ll journal every day. Start small. 10- 15 minutes will be fine.
- Be consistent.
- Don’t judge what you write. You don’t want to edit or make it pretty either. And absolutely don’t worry about grammar. Just write!
- Write fast.
- Use journal prompts if you need help writing.
Journaling is a means to an end. It helps me think more deeply about my life, where it is going, and what it means ~ Michael Hyatt
Questions: Have you ever tried journaling and gave up? Why did you? Or do you currently journal? What do you like about it? Can’t wait to read what you’ve got to say.
Also published on Medium.