Journaling About YOU

I recently wrote an article for the Forum over at AAM.  I feel that journaling is a huge and very important piece to our "All About Me" layouts.  Sometimes we have a really hard time working through and processing our journaling.  I thought I would share it here too.  Enjoy! :)

Journaling About You
By Melissa Elsner courtesy All About Me
I've been thinking a lot about how important journaling is on our layouts. For any layout. But especially our All About Me layouts. When I first began this challenge blog, it was kind of a selfish endeavor because I wanted to continue creating layouts that would help me keep a journal but in a creative way. Keeping a journal was something that my therapist always encouraged me to do but I never could keep one more than a couple of weeks. I'd forget. I wouldn't know what to say. I'd get bored with the look of the book. I have about ten different notebooks floating around my room that have the first 15 or so pages filled out and nothing after except random notes.

Thus began my journey of combining my most favorite hobby with this journaling process I needed to go through. A lot of people have a hard time with their journaling. They see a prompt for the layout, they can think about the subject and the topic, even have the photo and the design ready to go but then when it comes to the written word... the mind block goes up.

I think this happens for several reasons. 1) You simply have no idea how to put into words what you are feeling. 2) Overwhelmed by the process. You put so much into the design of the layout that your mind can't handle the word jumble in your head. 3) Embarrassed or shy.. timid. You don't feel like what you have to say is worth being on your beautiful layout. 4) It's too private. You don't want to share what's in your heart and in your head. 5) You simply don't want to take the time to put into words what you know is necessary. (That's me.)

So what are some ways that can help this?

- Sometimes I just need to write about anything to get my brain focused on journaling. It can be about what I had for breakfast, about my day, why I picked out the shoes I have on, about my vacation, my family, etc. It can be something so silly but putting into practice... writing or journaling kind of helps clear my head a bit.

- Don't worry about punctuation or grammar. Write how you talk. If you use slang, if you say a word a certain way, write it that way. This isn't english class. This is something I do with preschoolers all the time. They dictate to me and I write it exactly as they say it. Sometimes it's quite humorous but this honors them as an individual. I'm not going to correct them. And they'll get a chuckle out of it later in life too. So honor yourself! As much as the design of the layout should represent you... so should your journaling.

- Be honest and open.. don't be afraid to be transparent. At the same time, don't feel like you have to share anything. If there is something that you know you need to get out but are not yet ready to share... keep it as hidden journaling but do have something to share. Especially for those layouts that you have to share with others. Like if you are on a Design Team or having a layout published, etc. I've done layouts where I'll give a surface journal. Something that's deep enough to exude what my layout is about but then I'll do some more hidden journaling if I have more to say that I'm just not ready to share yet.

- Practice, practice, practice. The more you journal and let it all out, the easier it will become. Sure there will be prompts that will hit a sensitive area of your heart... something that will make your blood pressure rise a little bit at the thought of having to share... but because you have already journaled so much, the whole process - the big picture - will become easier to work through!

- Enjoy the process. This isn't labor. This isn't torture. It should never become work. This is something that should be therapeutic and should slowly chisel away those weights you've been carrying (if you have..).

I hope this article has helped you or affirmed you in your journaling! At AAM it truly is all about YOU. This is an open article too. Meaning if you have input or struggle with something in particular or just need to "let it out"... this is a safe place! We all need that place to go to right?

Please also know that I'm not a licensed therapist and if you are dealing with something that requires that type of attention I strongly urge you to seek the help of a medical professional.

Loves and hugs,
Melissa