As we live a Methodist Way of Life, we can expect to have amazing encounters with God and people. Journalling can give clarity about the experiences of our days and weeks; it can help us notice God at work.
Journalling is an activity that creates memories as you do it – we do the thinking as we write. And offloading memories into a journal helps us to think better and be more creative.
Digital or paper?
There are lots of ways to journal and different advantages to digital and paper. Why not try both and see which works for you.
Pen and paper
- A slower process that works at the right speed to make memories.
- Simple, without distractions such as a low battery and file management.
- Tactile and embodied – your personality gets baked into your journal.
- Convenient – can be done on a mobile phone.
- Easy to achieve a polished look.
- You can delete and make alterations.
- The information is backed up, so less likely be lost.
Four effective ways to journal
1. Bullet journals
The core concept of bullet journaling, a method created by Ryder Carrol, is ‘rapid logging’ – writing in very short bullet-pointed lists that are linked and indexed so they can easily be retrieved.
Some people create incredible artistic bullet journals (check out #bujo on Instagram for inspiration), but others are more minimal.
The best way to learn the method is to watch the official video.
For Christian reflection, bullet journals have some real advantages:
- It is quick and efficient, so you can capture more of what happens each day than in a traditional long-form diary where you have to select the most significant events.
- Everything gets jumbled together, allowing for serendipitous discoveries, and reminding us that all of life is holy.
A sketchnote is a mix of handwriting, drawing, hand-drawn typography, shapes, and other visual elements such as arrows, boxes and lines. And you don’t need to be good at drawing to create them!
The process of creating sketchnotes, involving both visual and verbal information, engages your whole brain.
"I combine sketchnotes with my bullet journal. When there is something big that I want to reflect on more deeply, like an event or a good book, I’ll create a sketchnote in my bullet journal and add cross references to connected ideas or projects on different pages.”
3. Bible journalling
This involves colouring and sticking things directly on to the pages of a Bible.
Some people buy special journalling Bibles for this, which have extra white space on the margins, but you can use a regular Bible if you don’t mind obscuring the text.
There are lots of tutorials on Instagram and YouTube to give inspiration.
“I am a visual person. I hope to notice God in the scriptures and in the world. Bible journaling offers me another way to explore my faith. I get to spend time with God. And I take a pause from the digital world that can be so busy and noisy.
Check out this video of Susie Fishburne demonstrating her Bible Journalling for Bible Month 2023
You can also download the journaling kit for this year’s book of the Bible.
4. Extended writing
A traditional, long-form diary invites you to go deep and take time to explore your feelings and thoughts.
Some people can find it hard to maintain a regular habit of journalling, but it’s a practice well worth persevering with. Be kind to yourself if you miss a day!
An extended writing technique that many people find valuable for centering themselves and clearing their mind for constructive thinking is known as ‘Morning Pages’. At a set time each morning, write three pages of whatever comes into your head, without any self-censorship, and with no intention of anyone else ever reading it.