On the blog, I've written quite a bit about journaling because it's a creative outlet For. Literally. Everyone. It doesn't matter how old you are, what your day job is, what other creative outlets you enjoy...Journaling is someone everyone can benefit from.
And there are different types of journaling. Even though I have practiced what I call "Daily Journaling" (journaling about your day basically) since middle school, I've never been good about sticking with a regular routine. Then there is freewriting or brain dumping (and this is what my friend had shown me with her writing notebook). THIS is what I want to show all of you!
I started practicing regular brain dumps back in July, and now that we are into November, I've written in a journal consistently (approx. five times a week) for four months! I'm so excited that this has become a regular routine for me now. Thanks to brain dumping:
- I am less stressed. Anything that is bothering me or I find overwhelming gets poured into my journal. I get it all out. Every idea no matter how silly or even stupid it might sound is moved from my brain onto the page.
- I am discovering what I really want out my life and my business. I can't count the number of ideas that have come through thanks to brain dumping. This site for one! There wouldn't be a byemilyscott.com if it wasn't for brain dumping.
- I am sleeping better since I don't lay awake at night thinking of all the things that I need to do.
- And as a fiction writer, it has been easier for me to write in the mornings since I don't waste time trying to figure out my story. At night, I'll often spend time brainstorming ideas for my novels in my journal, so when I wake up in the morning, I'm ready to dive into the story.
- P.S. The same can go for blogging! I'll brainstorm blog ideas and write outlines in my journal, so when it is time to type up a post, the process is faster.
Bullet Journal: What the heck is this and how does it fit into brain dumping?
I'm going to include this link here (BulletJournal.com) because it explains the "official" bullet journal system. But if you've been hanging out with me long enough, you know I always have to do things my way, so I've created my own adapted version of a bullet journal.
Let me back up very quickly for a second. I'm a notebook lover, and therefore, I have notebooks for everything. I have one just for writing poems, one for fiction ideas, one for business brain dumping, one for to-do lists, one for daily journaling, etc. About three weeks ago, I finally realized my system of scattered notebooks was crazy and NOT working for me.
NOW introducing my version of the bullet journal. I decided to go ahead and take ALL my notebook sand put them into one. I wish you could jump up and down with me right now because I don't how to convey to you that doing this, has simplified my life So. Much. It is awesome. It is not confusing (I was afraid it would be), and I don't lose important information (again, something I was afraid of when I first read about bullet journaling). What has helped me keep track is 1) indexing and 2) putting all important information (like product ideas) either into my planner or Evernote.
What do I include in my bullet journal?
- Daily journaling. I don't write about my day every day, but when there is something happening I want to remember, I record it here.
- Morning Pages
- Brain dumps. And any ideas that come from those brain dumps, I transfer so they don't end up lost in my mess of handwriting.
- Notes. The picture above shows notes taken from two webinars. Again, any actionable items are copied into my planner.
- Fiction story ideas.
- Poems (which are later typed up in Word and saved).
- Blog ideas, topics, and outlines.
- Product ideas and outlines.
- Business and personal goals.
- A daily to do if I am having a busy day (see below)...
I'm sorry the above picture is blurry, but there are some personal details that should stay between me and the journal. If I have a day that is just crazy busy and full of to-dos, rather than squeezing everything into my planner, I like a fresh page that I can dedicate to the entire day and write down EVERYTHING that needs to get done. (BTW: this is more of a true bullet journal style here). Yes, even tasks like shower, which I don't need a reminder just so you know, but when I feel anxious about getting things done, I want to see my whole day laid out for me.
How do I start bullet journaling and/or brain dumping?
This is the best part! You start NOW. Today. All you need is a notebook and pen. You don't need a special notebook, although if you want one in a bright color or with a cute design on it, go for it. My notebook is bright yellow, and I love seeing it sitting on my desk. Save the first 3-4 pages of your notebook for indexing (table of contents) so you can later find specific lists or days, and then just start writing. The only way you are going to know for a certainty how to use your journal is to write in it. Write regularly. Set a timer on your phone for 7:00 each night, so you don't forget.
As excited as I am to share this post with you, I'm even more excited to hear from YOU. Have you tried brain dumping or regular journaling? Do you want to? Or better yet, are you going to? Let me know in the comments!
Want to dive more into journaling and bullet journaling? Check out Write it Your Way, a beginners course for creatives looking to create an inspiring journal practice using daily journaling, brain dumping, and freewriting strategies.