I recently picked up a book called, The 4% Fix in which the author, Karma Brown, convinces you that waking up 5:30am is a great habit to make you “do what you say you would do if you had more time”.  I don’t think I’ll ever get up that early, however I do make the effort to find time for my own morning habit which is making a cup of tea, reading and journal writing.

I find journal writing very centering and calming and there have been many studies done about its benefits, including that it boosts the immune system!  Julia Cameron in her famous book “The Artists Way” recommends doing three ‘stream of consciousness’ morning pages a day to kickstart the creative process.

Mostly I write in a 6” x 9” coil bound notebook that is inserted into a leather case with a latch that my mom bought me at the Filberg Festival as a highschool graduation present.  I write 2-4 pages of whatever is at the top of my mind which might be a current problem or simply recording a bit of day to day life.  My main topics have bounced around over the years, from marriage, to motherhood or the insecurities around being an artist; “I don’t know if my paintings are any good.  The tall one, not sure what is going on the foreground….! It’s always such a relief when I have a painting that turns out”.

Reading back on some some old journals I discovered that I wished I had mentioned more about what was going on around me at the time, or even written down the year.  Now I try to include a news headline, interesting weather or names of people I’ve seen to give things context.  Through journal writing I also learn things about myself – looking back, I can see how much I may have (or haven’t) changed.  I have also burned some old journals which can be therapeutic.

My journal is like a non-judgemental friend that I can be completely honest with, bounce ideas off of and express feelings to.  It is always there for me and often pleasantly rewards me with new insights. Visiting my journal in the morning on most days is like clearing my mind and checking in with where I’m at, so that when I get to my painting (or whatever else I may be doing) I can more easily give it all of my focus.