Can Writing In A Journal Help You?

Writing in notebookLast month I wrote about keeping an electronic journal, this month I want to talk about keeping a journal with a pen (or pencil) and paper. The form of the paper isn't significant, it can be a “Yellow Pad,” a Composition Notebook, or a little book with a lock and key! Being left-handed, I won't use a 3-ring binder or spiral notebook, but they can be a good choice too.

For your writing instrument, I suggest you use a pen for most things. But, if you like to doodle, colored pencils are great! One of the advantages of using paper is you can draw and illustrate your journal!

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Advantages Of A Physical Journal

Writing in a journal, as opposed to typing, has some great advantages. First, it slows you down; it's not that writing is hard, but typing is so much easier! The fact that your writing, either cursive or printing, you force your brain differently than when you type. Studies show when children composed text by hand, they expressed more ideas.

Writing things by hand requires a complicated motion from your fingers and hand which will increase the activity in your brain's motor cortex creating an effect that's similar to meditation.

It may be easier to tap into your emotions when writing it out. This is because you're writing slower and your brain is more engaged. Plus if you're writing, you can change the color of the pen or pencil you're using!

You can find journals that were made for specific purposes. A morning/evening journal or a goal setting journal. This type of journal comes with pre-printed pages with spaces for you to answer the prompts.

Also, typing on your computer brings all kinds of distractions; email, messages, that game you want to play. With writing, those distractions are gone, it's just you, the pen, and the paper. Maybe a little quiet music in the background to help calm your mind.

Cons Of A Physical Journal

Yes, there are downsides to keeping a physical journal. If you've ever seen my handwriting, you know reading it can be a huge problem! And the more I write, the worse it gets!

I find I'm more likely to skip a session with the pen and paper than I am with the keyboard. Even when I've had a long day, sitting at the keyboard for five or ten minutes, I can put down my thoughts on why the day was the way it was. If I had to write that out, it would take me at least twice as long!

If you want access to your paper journal, you have to carry it around. A lot of the e-journals are available on multiple devices such as your tablet or phone!

OK, So What Do I Use?

My primary journal is a web-based journal. I have often tried going to paper, but the downsides of my handwriting, accessibility, and effort keeps me going back to the keyboard. I do like keeping a paper journal for a lot of the reasons I stated above and I will keep one going.

Do you keep a journal? What type do you keep? Let me know down in the comments!

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