By: Crystal Webster
Everyone knows they should journal. We’ve heard it a hundred times. Having a tough time processing your feelings? Journal. Have to make a big decision at work? Journal. Can’t decide what to have for lunch? Journal.
It seems like the answer to everything is writing it down. But journaling is hard. A blank piece of paper is intimidating and overwhelming.
I once heard someone say that they buy the most expensive and beautiful notebook they can find because they believe it elevates their words to a point of being worthy of being written on that page.
I prefer the other end of that spectrum. I would find the fun-est, funniest, and often cheapest notebook for my journaling – it was more important to me to get my thoughts out on paper then formatting them eloquently – or spelling anything correctly.
When I get a nice, fancy lined notebook I feel like I need to wait until a special occasion to use it – wait until I have just the right thing to put in there (kinda like that bottle of wine that sits in my cabinet for the celebration that never comes).
I have a graveyard of barely touched, beautifully lined notebooks.
After my Madelyn died, I realized I wanted to journal, I needed to journal – and do all the other things I as supposed to do – but I just couldn’t, I didn’t have the brain capacity or wherewithal to think in complete sentences.
So, I started improvising. I started writing in incomplete thoughts – it was the best I could do. I made lists. I bullet pointed key feelings. I doodled when the words wouldn’t come…
There’s something almost magical about getting your thoughts from your head, to your heart, to your hand, and out on the paper…no matter what form those thoughts take (words, shapes, shades, doodles…) My ‘journal’ almost looked like kindergarten refrigerator art – but it was a start.
I found, the more I did it the ‘better’ I got. Not better in the sense that it was prettier or was more logical – better in that it came more easily for me to express myself. But it was still a little overwhelming starting with nothing – with just an empty page.
So, I decided to look back through all the notes, and bullet points, and doodles and see if there was a common theme. See if there was anything I kept going back to over and over again… Turns out there was. I kept mentioning things I was grateful for, things that brought me comfort, and things I did right.
I took that information and started asking myself, each night before I went to bed, to write down the three things I was grateful for and the three things I did right that day. They didn’t need to be earth shattering – or even special for that matter – they just needed to be written down.
Months went by with my new nightly ritual and I found that I enjoyed it. I even looked forward to adding to my journal. I started making lists of things that made me smile, places I wanted to visit someday, books I liked to read. Then I started tracking how much water I was drinking every day, if I was eating healthy meals, and how I was spending my ‘me time.’ My little notebook of dots and doodles had completely morphed into its own being.
Since then, I’ve turned that funny looking little notebook into a way of life…and it has changed my life.
I’ve even designed a pretty version of my notebook so I could share it with others who wanted to start journaling but didn’t know how or where to start. (Oh, and writing (incomplete sentences and all) in that ugly little notebook I started all those years ago got me to the point where my first book will be published this May – so you really don’t know where these things will take you.)
Starting is almost always the hardest part, whether that’s journaling, drawing, cooking, or running (it really doesn’t matter what it is).
Whatever it is that you’re contemplating doing I encourage you to just start – and to remind you that ‘done is better than perfect’. So just start, get going, and see where it will takes you!!!
About Crystal Webster
Crystal Webster is Madelyn Elizabeth’s mother and Founder and Chief Solace Officer of Sharing Solace.
Madelyn died just 8 short hours after birth while still in her mother’s arms. As Crystal grieved the loss of her only child she began to feel isolated and ill-equipped to handle her emotional journey. Vowing to honor her daughter’s brief life and support others from feeling as lost and lonely as she did – Sharing Solace was founded.
Sharing Solace’s patented concept brings together those grieving any type of loss by intersecting physical keepsake gifts INTENDED to be ‘paid forward’ to others with the online community and resources often neglected. View our mission here.
Remember. You’re not alone.