If you've ever stared at a blank page wondering "what's the best way to journal?" or "how do I start?" you're not alone.
While that answer will vary from person to person, a great place to start with a simple practice -- and a simple practice starts with a timed writing exercise.
The timed writing exercise works like this: Grab your notebook, a pen or pencil, and set a timer on your phone. Commit to whatever time you have and write for the entire timer. Once the timer ends, lift your pen from the page. That's the practice.
If you're just starting out, keep your timer short -- thirty seconds to five minutes -- and build from there. A short timer signals to your brain, "this isn't so long, I can do this" and so returning to your practice is easier. (Our Medium-sized Map Journal, is a favorite for getting started with timed writing.)
From there, just move your pen. Write, draw, sketch, make a list, take notes. It doesn't matter what your handwriting looks like, what you write about, whether you love what you're writing about -- what matters is that you do the process.
"The basic unit of writing practice is the timed exercise," encourages writer, painter, and Zen meditation practitioner Natalie Goldberg, in her book on practice, Writing Down the Bones. (Explore this book and writing practice more in our upcoming online class, Beginner's Journaling: A Four Week Series).
Try this timed writing exercise out for a week, or a month, just to get into a rhythm of putting pen to paper. Think of journaling like a friendship you're building with yourself, one without rushing, just curiosity and coming back to the page.You're just getting to know yourself and your habits on the page. No perfectionism or judgement needed. Just set the timer, do your reflecting, and that's the practice.
Try it out. Keep it simple, and keep going.
Featured product: Map Journal in Medium