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What My New Journaling Habit Is Teaching Me

I've been taking Karen Walrond's Create.2013 journaling course since the 7th of this month. I had an inkling when I started that constructively working through my thoughts out of the public eye was something I needed to do more of, and so far journaling has proven me 100% correct.

#Create2013 word of the year journal page

I barely kept a journal, let alone wrote, before I started blogging back in 2003. In my heart, I still classified myself as a creative, and primarily a writer, but self-doubt kept me from creating any regular work until blogging came along. Somehow, even with all my self-doubt in tow, blogging was the key that opened me right up, and I've been creating out loud ever since.

The problem with blogging being the thing that got my creative ball rolling, though, is this: my creative habit now is to think, make, and do in public online, and I do so much of this that I end up rarely taking the time to work out some of the grittier stuff behind the scenes, the stuff that my brain needs to move through to stay healthy psychologically, emotionally, and creatively.

Working almost solely in public has become a way of avoiding the stuff I don't want to look at and of ignoring the things that I can't easily pin down, which I didn't fully and honestly realize until I spent the last two weeks detailing heavier self-doubt and anxiety on paper than I knew I had. If my journal were a new romantic partner, it would have hooked me up with a good therapy group and gotten the hell out of Dodge already.

#Create2013 word of the year journal page

Karen had us break out our art supplies yesterday — in my case, this means a box of wax crayons — and illustrate our word of the year for 2013. This word of the year is a concept from Ali Edwards' One Little Word, which she describes as "...a word that I can focus on, meditate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life."

The word I keep coming around to is "focus", which to me involves a number of ideas that involve paying closer attention, clarity, and carrying through, and the quote from Mark Twain that I found to go with my word for the year feels terribly apt:

"You can't depend on your eyes
when your imagination is out of focus."


I have become increasingly less focused and clear as my professional and personal selves have begun to shift, and even imagining clarity of purpose and careful attention to particulars feels delicious.

When you think ahead through 2013, what words come to mind for you?