Thursday, July 10, 2008

Journal Writing Rituals

Rituals can be extremely helpful in centering ourselves and preparing our minds for journal work. If we engage in a ritual for long enough, it can help give our minds the push they need sometimes to get into the mental space where we do our journal work.

Journal writing rituals are as varied and individual as the people who come up with them. What's important is not so much what the ritual is, as that you have a small thing that you do before each journal writing session. Eventually, this ritual signals your mind that it is time to slide into your mental writing space. Over time, the ritual can facilitate getting you to that writing place even during stressful times when it would otherwise be a difficult place for you to come to.

Rituals I have used and enjoyed include the following:
* having a special place where you sit to journal, or a special time of day when you do it.
* lighting a candle before you start and allowing it to burn during your writing time. Blowing out the candle is a signal that the session is finished.
* if you like incense, choose a favorite scent and reserve that scent for journal writing. The scent of sandalwood and frankincense means journal time for me.
* reserving certain music to use during journal time. I find that instrumental music works best--vocals can be distracting, unless it's something like a Gregorian chant.
* reserving a favorite tea to make to accompany your journal writing time. I used to drink Numi's Monkey King Jasmine Green Tea sweetened with a bit of honey during my journal writing time...and I still get in the mood to write whenever I drink it!

Writing Prompt: What are some rituals that you have used for journal writing? Did you find them helpful? In what way? If you have never used rituals for journal writing, consider what kind of ritual might be helpful for you and give it a try.


Wellness Writer said...

I once talked to my rabbi about religious rituals and said I wasn't comfortable with them. But, now I realize it was just "those" rituals.

Now that you bring this topic up, I've decided to begin developing some new rituals that are meaningful. And I think that the tea you describe sounds yummy and would be a good accompaniment when I write. Also, I haven't burned incense for 35 years, and I, too used to enjoy Sandalwood.

Great post. I think I'll spend some time "noodling" new rituals today. (First I noodle things in my mind, and then I try them.)


Jazz said...

I've never been comfortable with religious rituals, either, having been brought up without any sort of religion/spirituality. But I do think rituals are important to us as human beings, and coming up with our own rituals that are meaningful to us is one of the things I've really tried to do with my even though we don't have religious traditions, we have our own family traditions.

Hannah said...

just have to say, 'noodling' I love that! what a tingly word!

Jazz said...

I love that term, too, Hannah.'s just so...descriptive!