- Buy a journal - There is something about a composition book that I just love. I have received many gifts of pretty journals but I always feel like there is too much pressure to write something profound. But over the years, I have used binders with plain notebook paper too.
- Commit to reflecting - When I am most productive, I am also journaling all the time. It helps me focus my thoughts and prepare for the next day. I usually write my journal at the end of the day right before I go to bed. I have fallen asleep writing my journal many times and I think that I probably should avoid writing my journal in bed. My goal has been to fill up at least two pages of writing every night, an idea I got from reading The Artists Way many years ago. Sometimes I succeed - other times I don't. But the goal is set.
- Find a quiet place - I often struggle with this because of my two young children who pop up out of bed from time to time. Still - my room is quiet and comfortable and meets this criteria.
- Choose the right time - As an instructional coach, there is no such thing as not being interrupted when I'm at school. I want to be available to my teachers for anything that might come up. This means I have to journal at home and with my sons at home - this can also be a challenge to find.
- Write whatever comes to mind - Going back to the idea of always writing something profound - sometimes empty pages are incredibly daunting to me. Part of writing for most people, even accomplished writers I have heard, is just doing it. I will (and do) make excuses to not write but just getting the messy ideas down allows for the better ideas to come to the surface.
- Don't share your journal with anyone - I have to say I disagree with this one. I am not saying that we should always share ideas all the time - certainly there are ideas that I want to keep to myself. But I do think that selectively sharing our ideas, even the messy ones, with people in our thought community or personal learning network can help us grow. But then again I am a huge Vygotsky fan and agree with him that knowledge construction happens through dialogic communication.
I also like to track patterns in my journal. I like to end each entry with:
- Things that I'm proud of:
- Things I need to work on:
- Book(s) I am reading:
This regular pattern helps me close out my final thoughts for the night.
I would love to hear if you keep an off-line journal. If you do - how many of Adler's ideas are you able to apply? Is there any ideas that you struggle with?