Morning Journaling: Tangible Benefits & How To Implement it into Your Writing Life
Image of my personal morning journals.

One of the first tips I learned in how to be a better writer was to write. Writing is a learned skill and gets better with practice. Therefore, enter the idea of Morning Journaling. 

Morning journaling is the act of setting aside time when you first wake up to write. Typically, it is three pages handwritten on paper, not on a computer. Use a notebook, blank paper, pencil or pen. It is intended to be free form, no prompts, no structure, just stream of consciousness. The idea is to clear your mind to not only be productive for the day ahead, but to make space for creativity to grow. By putting any and all thoughts that have crept into your mind from the previous night, you are letting go of your anxieties and allowing yourself to be creative.

When I started my writing journey- my serious writing journey, as a children’s book author- I discounted the benefits of journaling. I have kept a journal on and off since I was ten years old. It has always been an outlet for me to organize my thoughts and put them down on paper. I felt I didn’t need to morning journal in order to be creative or work through any problems in regards my children’s book writing career. I had already easily come up with dozens of ideas to explore. But after awhile I figured, why not, I’ll just give it a shot and see where it leads. So I started. It was easy, I am never without thoughts running through my head. But I felt it was taking too much time in my already busy mornings, so I moved to only doing morning journaling on the weekends, or days when I wasn’t pressed for time in the mornings. 

Having the outlet of morning journaling was nice, but I wasn’t seeing any real results from it. Though, honestly, I am not sure how you quantify the benefit of morning journaling into tangible results. I believe it is one of those unseen benefits, as your writing and ability to make sense in words just improves and you don’t realize that it is happening. 

I, however, do have a tangible example of the benefits of morning journaling, which is how this very post came to be. 

When I decided to share my journey to becoming a published author of children’s books, it was very much centered on social media; first Twitter, and then Instagram. I had easily figured out what content to share on these platforms. And I was content to leave it at that. But, authors are supposed to have websites, as well. A few years back, I had snagged my domain name and had played around with different content ideas, etc. for it, but nothing was really sticking. And I wasn’t sure how to integrate my website into my Twitter/Instagram, KidsBookWriting, without regurgitating the same information. So I put it on pause and figured something would come to me. 

And wouldn’t you know, it was through a morning journaling session that the idea came to me. To use my website as a way to elaborate on what I am learning on becoming an author. To fully flesh out how the process is working for me. For example, I may have a Twitter post on morning journaling as an effective way to work on creativity and then I can also have a blog post on how I am implementing morning journaling in my writing life. Thus the seed was born for how to use the website to further my writing endeavors. And it’s all thanks to the exercise of morning journaling. 

There are a bunch of resources out there on morning journaling. Just google the term and see what comes up. Here are a few sites that I found particularly helpful.  

And now my quick 4 Step Guide to Morning Journaling:

  1. Get a notebook, one that you will enjoy writing in. This will only be used for morning journaling. 
  2. Find your preferred writing implement. Pen or pencil it makes no difference, as long as you enjoy writing with it. 
  3. Choose a time to morning journal. It technically is to be the first thing when you wake up, but I don’t prescribe to that rigidity. Instead, choose a time that you can consistently write in. I find it takes me roughly 30 minutes to write three pages. 
  4. Begin writing. Don’t get too hung up on what to write about. Literally put the thoughts that are in your brain as you are staring at the page into words. But here are some starting points if you are stuck. How did you sleep last night? What is the weather? What did you do yesterday? What are you doing today? What do you have to do today? What did you not finish the day before? All these are thoughts that typically run through my head, and thus provide the content for many of my morning journaling sessions.  

Order A Walk Through the Redwoods

If you loved this book review, you might also enjoy my debut picture book, A Walk Through the Redwoodsillustrated by Natalia Bruno. You can order it now from your favorite bookstore: Amazon, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble.