The Power of Journaling


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A few years ago I wrote a post entitled, Keeping a Leadership Journal. It has been one of my most popular posts ever since. In that piece, I suggested four good reasons for keeping a specific journal on leadership. I hold to those four principles to this day.

In today’s Wall Street Journal there was an article that quickly caught my eye . . . 52 Years and Counting: The Power of Daily Writing. Clare Ansberry writes about a man named Charley Kempthorne who has been keeping a daily log since 1964. There are some wonderful principles about the tangible benefits of journaling. You need to click on the link and glean from Charley’s insights.

In the sidebar, there was a section on “How To Build a Daily Writing Habit.” Here are the 6 practical steps to get you there.

  • Write 500 words every day for 28 consecutive days, preferably at the same time and same place, to create a routine.
  • Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation. Be willing to write badly. Authenticity is more important than excellence.
  • Use prompts to get you going. Make a list of 6 of the stories you commonly tell. Get a photo and tell the story of that picture. 
  • Keep it private. If you show it to others, you might worry about what they will say and never start.
  • If you can’t think of what to write, describe the room you are in, what you are wearing, or a room from your childhood home, or what it felt like to brush your teeth.
  • Carry a notebook to jot down ideas or a recollection, conversation or image. 

(From “Narrative Journaling: 28 Days to Writing More or Less Happily for the Rest of Your Life”-a workbook by Charley Kempthorne)

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