5 Ways Journaling Builds Your Creativity


Written by: Linda Bonner| THE SEWING SISTERS

Capturing Creative Ideas Through The Written Word

By Linda Bonner

The age-old practice of journaling dates as far back as ancient philosophers like Aristotle and Socrates.  They kept ongoing accounts of their lives and centuries of highly successful people in a variety of industries such as business, science and entertainment kept journals.

Other successful people including Leonardo da Vinci, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Marie Curie, have also journaled. They used the journaling process to keep personal notes and records of thoughts, ideas, and their lives. They may not have used the term “journaling” but it was certainly a springboard that led to their most celebrated achievements.

Many famous people used journaling to not only fuel their success but unlock and spark their creativity. Some other famous journal keepers include inventor Leonardo da Vinci, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

How many of you had journals as you were growing up?  It probably had a bright, fun cover and, of course, the lock and key!  I recall keeping journals as a child and it was a safe place to record my feelings, my dreams and my wishes.

As an adult I still journal regularly to capture creative ideas and as a special place for self-reflection.  Whether you’re a raising a family or an entrepreneur or busy executive, the process of journaling provides an opportunity to clear your thinking and be more creative.

There are no rules when it comes to journaling!  That’s part of the attraction to this process. You can record your successes or challenges, your goals, personal feelings, reflections, and new ideas.  You may be surprised what comes out of the pen and onto your page.  When you’re writing things out by hand, your mind is just a bit ahead of your pen.  This is where those creative ideas come to life and allow you just enjoy the process.

Here’s a list of 5 ways journaling can help build your creativity and spark new ideas.

  1. Journaling provides a safe space where you can share thoughts and cultivate ideas in private and without any pressure.  All those ideas you’ve been pondering, a problem you need to solve, a new creative project you want to explore…you can record all this and more!  Since this is a personal space for your eyes only, you can let go of expectations, worry, and fear.
  2. It allows you to connect more fully with your environment.  We spend so much time in our heads, that it can be refreshing to truly pay attention to what’s going on around you. Journaling teaches you to engage all five senses when you’re writing.
  3. It makes room for new ideas.  When you have a great idea and you commit it to paper, it makes room for new ones to float to the surface. Also known as “brain dumping”, this process of getting ideas down on paper ensures there’s always free real estate in your head for new ideas to start forming.
  4. It allows you to exercise the creative part of your brain. Journaling by hand exercises your brain in ways that typing just doesn’t. Regardless of what we do for a living, we tend to spend a lot of time at the computer. The trend is that the written word is becoming extinct. But sitting down and putting pen to paper puts us in touch with our more personal and authentic self. Once your brain is stretched through the journaling process, it becomes more likely to access that lesser-used world of inspiration
  5. It creates a rich well of creative ideas to draw on.Your journal is a receptacle for life, which can be recycled in a variety of ways into new forms of expression and creativity.  Old journals are a treasure of material from your daily life that can be turned into mixed media pieces.  Collections of writings and musings can become the foundation of a story, blog post, article or even a play.  Recurring themes can help cultivate a new creative medium such as poetry.

Creativity is all about the process. When you focus on final product rather than the process, you can quickly lose sight of your original intention or stall your inspiration. Journaling is an ultimate exercise in process over product. It teaches you to create for the sake of creating and not for a specific result. Knowing that your journal is for your eyes only, you can just be yourself without forcing your creativity. You can journal and create just for you.

Journaling is one of the easiest ways to build a daily creative practice.  Are you a morning person or are you more inspired at night?  Do you have time during your lunch break to put pen to paper?  The good news is that there are no requirements for journaling at the same time every day, allowing you to be spontaneous. 

You might also consider a special place where you feel most comfortable  journaling.  It can be a comfy chair in your bedroom, a corner in your home office or a creative space you’ve established.  It should be a space where you can write without interruption or distractions.

I encourage you to set journaling goals based on the time and energy you spend rather than looking at results.  Let your journal be your safe space where you can let go of fear and perfectionism and just focus on the process of getting your ideas, stories, and inspiration on paper.  When you focus on the process you can stop worrying about the outcome and take time to be playful and free.

January, 2023

Linda Bonner



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