Dig the gems out of your journal

One of my favorite, coolest things about journal writing is the thrill of the find. Some people love to window shop. They can browse, or as my mom calls it, poke around, with no real intention to buy.

Your journal can be a place where a similar kind of discovery awaits. Weeks and months of entries pile up and fill pages. After a time you’ve built up a collection ready to sift through, searching for the gems.

What are the gems? They’re the nuggets that carry a deeper meaning.

Ideas you want to pursue.

A-ha moments when you learn something about yourself. I like to think of these as personal growth wins.  They might not mean anything to others, but they have significant ramifications for you. You move forward, or see things differently.

Times that you’ve read or heard something new that you jotted down in your journal to look up later.

Inspirational stories, quotes, or even people that encourage you to reach new heights.

Why would you want to find your journal’s gems? Excellent question! Finding your gems is a great activity for when you get stuck. It could be that you’re not sure what to write. It could be that you’re frustrated with your journaling practice and need a reminder for why you take the time to do this in the first place.

How do you find your gems? If you’ve got a deep and abiding love for office supplies, this activity will satisfy your inner organizer. Choose some of your favorites. Highlighters. Sticky notes in bright colors. Maybe index cards. It can be helpful to have your day planner with you too.

Grab your journal, your favorite supplies, a tasty beverage and/or snack and head to a comfy spot. Open up your journal to a spot of your choosing. Read over your entries and use your office supplies to mark any phrases you want to remember or ideas you’d like to pursue. Use your calendar to schedule any action steps so that these gems don’t just sit on a sticky note, but become tasks. For the inspirations bits you want to keep, put them on a sticky note or index card and leave it somewhere you see it regularly.

This practice can make your journal a place of discovery. You get to write regularly, dumping your thoughts, feelings, and ideas on paper, and every so often, dig through with your sifting pan and find the gems that you’ve left there in the dirt. What will you find in yours?

Sara Marchessault is a writer, publisher, teacher, and mom who is on a mission to increase joy on the planet. Through the practice of self-reflection, we become aware of what brings us joy and what does not, and we make choices to move forward or stand still. Journal writing is a powerful reflection tool that can help any of us move forward, even in the darkest of times. For ideas on how you can get the benefits of journal writing without always keeping a traditional journal, check out Sara’s book, Beyond Pen & Paper: 33 Experiments in Journaling.

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