By Tara Pray
I had never participated in a journal writing challenge before.
I also was not a person who journaled every day, but I did write often.
So when I saw the email about the 14 Day Journal Writing Challenge I initially dismissed it and clicked delete.
But for some reason I was not able to let the idea of the challenge go. I knew I was experiencing resistance to journaling and I knew I needed to do something about it. While I was writing things down in my commonplace book regularly, I was not writing on a deep level about my inner most thoughts and feelings. I was also writing weekly for my blog and other sites, but my journal writing practice was slowly fading away.
I knew the resistance was strong and I had all these assumptions as to why I was not journaling, but I could not go to the pen and paper. I could not go to the place, where in the past I would always work things out, gain clarity, peace and many times a sense of direction.
I retrieved the email, read it again and decided to respond by accepting the challenge.
Going into the challenge I set two intentions; to bust the resistance wide open and to recommit to journal writing.
Now it was not easy for me to start the challenge on Day 1. It had been weeks since I last wrote in my journal. The other part that was difficult for me was the idea of journaling every day. Many people journal daily, but I was not one of them. The last time I had such a practice was during my teen years.
I finally began two days after the original start date of the challenge. I had committed to it and I could no longer delay.
Day 6 of the challenge was the turning point for me. The prompts on this day were all about dark emotions and trying to avoid issues in your life that needed to be addressed. There were some things that had occurred in my life recently that I had definitely been avoiding.
The resistance I had been experiencing was due to me not wanting to fully deal with those issues, but my soul had been saying something different. It had been telling me that it was time. Which is why when the email came for the challenge I could not ignore it.
The questions asked on Day 6 brought to the forefront all the things I had already known, but now had to face head on by writing them out. For me when I journal, all my feelings and thoughts become more real. Putting my life down on paper requires me to deal with things in a way that is different from just thinking or talking about them. Everything is there, in front of me in black and white. Concrete. Tangible. Real.
By the end of the challenge, I had fulfilled my two intentions.
I am continuing to develop my routine of journaling. While some people have specific times for their journaling i.e. first thing in the morning, I don’t. Instead I follow the rhythm of my day and write according to it. My intention is to capture my thoughts and feelings in my journal by the end of each day.
Also by being able to figure out the root of my resistance, I’ve gained clarity and released some things that had been major blocks for me. Journaling again, has also informed the writing I do on my site and has opened the door for me to explore other writing forms such as personal essays, entering contests and perhaps one day writing a book about the things that were at the root of my resistance.
I am glad that I finally was able to get back on track because I came away with a renewed vigor for journaling. The challenge forced me to be accountable to myself, to create routine around writing and to help me deal with some of the things that had gotten in the way of my love for journaling.