Last week I shared three tips for daily journaling – just three simple ways to reinforce the act of waking up half an hour earlier to write in your notebook. I often hear people say, but what do you write about? I have nothing to say! And I totally get that. I write the same thing in my morning pages nearly every day! But today I’ll be helping you master the art of small talk with your notebooks to prime the pump for the things that are really on your mind.
Thank you to Carole for hosting Three on Thursday! Be sure to visit her linkup to find a fun group of bloggers who are writing about anything and everything on Thursdays!
The good thing about morning pages is that no one is ever going to read them, including yourself! Even if you want to share them on social media or on your blog, there are apps you can download to blur out the actual text. So you can say whatever stupid thing you want. You can make mistakes and not worry about being judged. You can curse like a sailor and no one will ever know. You could even repeat the same sentence over and over for a half hour without anyone becoming worried about you! So don’t let a fear of not doing it “right” stop you from getting started. Perfection isn’t necessary in your notebook!
1. What’s the weather like?
How about this weather? is the ultimate small talk line, right? And it’s so cliched and uncomfortable in real life, but it definitely has a place in your daily journal. I always start by writing the current temperature and then complain about it. It’s hot, cold, muggy, freezing, I hate this weather. It’s amazing how much you can say about the weather within the pages of your notebook. After complaining about the weather, I usually start writing about what I avoided doing the day before because of it, which then turns into something deeper. Or I might say what I’m not looking forward to doing today because of the heat or cold, which of course leads to some other topic hiding in my brain. The weather is a great conversation starter for good reason!
2. Was it easy to get up?
I snoozed three times today.
I got up with the first alarm!
It’s still dark?
Why do I do this?!?!?
All of those sentences are perfect for your journal. It might feel silly to brag about getting up earlier than usual to your spouse or best friend, but your journal is happy to absorb your joy!
If it was hard to get up – what made it so difficult? Was it a late night for you? Has it been a busy week? Are you feeling overwhelmed or exhausted all of the time? Is there too much on your plate? All of these are things to write about in your journal. And of course, how did you ultimately get out of bed? What was the little pep talk you gave yourself right before you heaved out of bed and faced the world? How can you insert those thoughts into your self-talk earlier in the waking up process?
If it was easy to get up – time to celebrate in your journal! And what made it so easy? How can you replicate that motivation and the feelings you had when you were ready to hop out of bed? Is there something in particular that you’re looking forward to today? Or maybe it’s because you’re anxious about something and you were ready to just get it over with.
The ease at which you get out of bed is a rich topic for your journal. It says so much about what’s happening in your life and changes nearly every day. Use it!
3. What’s pulling your attention away?
What would you rather be doing right now? Scrolling IG? Reading the news? Knitting? Quilting? Listening to a podcast? Are you behind on things in your home or at work? Oops, did you just pick up your phone and spend ten minutes on Instagram again? Write about it! You’ve set aside this time for your notebook, so use it to help you remember why you chose to make this a habit.
Is it because you want to improve your attention? To slowly build a collection of full notebooks? To have a place for all of your confusing thoughts and unresolved challenges? To free your mind of the little worries clouding your ability to focus on bigger goals in your life?
We’re all distracted and your particular distractions are journal-worthy. Examining them and their role in our lives tell us a lot about ourselves. And when we understand the benefit we get from those distractions, we can come up with a plan to tame them.
Anything that redirects your attention back to why you’re choosing to write morning pages is a good thing. It reinforces your decision to crawl out of bed and reminds you that you’re doing it for a good reason, even if that reason isn’t always clear in the moment. The thousand reasons why it’s been challenging to forge this habit? That’s the very thing to write about, even if it feels silly and self-indulgent.
And remember – it doesn’t have to make sense. Your sentences don’t have to be perfect, your thoughts don’t have to be linear, you don’t have to tell some sort of beautiful story. Words that pop into your brain flow down to your pen and on the page. Simple and end of story.
So many people have commented and said that they’ve been turning to their notebooks since the pandemic began. I love hearing from other notebook lovers, so please let me know how journaling has been going for you! I’ve started a link up on Mondays for sharing our notebooks. It’s a simple space to share inspiration and encouragement. All types of paper love are welcome and and I’d be delighted to have you join me!