The Value of Journaling for Creative Artists


One of my best teachers told me that “every creative artist should journal regularly.” After years of journaling I feel that I understand this now.  Artists are on a path of growth and journaling allows you to see this path in a more linear fashion. This way, when you are lost you can get back on the path and reorient towards your deepest desires and goals.  Any path of growth will have confusion, uncertainty, and steps forward and backward. Looking back at where you were in the past will allow you to see your present situation more clearly.

What should you journal?   Here are 2 major components of useful journaling.  

1. Stream of consciousness writing - “morning pages” from Julia Camerons classic book “The Artist’s Way” is a great example of this practice.  The basic idea: just keep your pen moving until you fill 3 pages. Don’t worry about it making sense. Don’t worry about reading it over afterwards.  Its just to clear your mind in the moment. Once you dispense of your surface thoughts you can get to deeper and more substantial ideas and inspirations.

2. Write about the things that you are most focused on and have a way of expressing "where you are at” with them.  When you journal consistently you will find that certain themes have a way of repeatedly coming up. Those themes are relevant to the core work of your life and of your art.  If you can consistently track your progress with them, your journal will become a friend who will help you to move steadily along the path.