These are my notes for the book “Journal to the Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth – Open the Door to Self-Understanding by Writing, Reading, and Creating a Journal of Your Life” by Kathleen Adams.

Section 1: Overview

The book “Journal to the Self” by Kathleen Adams is structured into 4 major sections. For these notes, I will focus on section 1 only, as sections 3 and 4 are rather specific and I did not learn much from them. Section 2 is useful, but it is more about prompts for your writing and that does not warrant any summary or notes from my side.

Section 2: Notes on journaling as a therapist

Right from the beginning, Journaling is presented as (an alternative to) a therapist:

Quote: My therapist is my journal, which I write in spiral notebooks, obtainable for under a dollar in any city in the country. That’s why I call my journal “the 79 therapist.” (Adams, 1990)

The author also gives more reasons to journal, for example, to discover the writer within, keeping record of your life, getting to know yourself better, or exploring your creativity. She then nicely links these goals with specific exercises that follow later in the book.

Section 3: Notes about helpful tips for journaling

Adams lists 8 helpful tips for starting and maintaining a journaling routine. If you are a current practitioner: How many boxes do you check?First, start with an entrance meditation

Quote: Just about every journal session benefits from a few minutes of focused quieting at the beginning. (Adams, 1990)

Second, give every entry a date.

Quote: Even if you use a bound book, dating every entry is an excellent habit to develop. Your burning issue of today may seem like something that deserves a permanent place in your memory bank, but chances are pretty good that a year or two from now, you won’t be able to pinpoint its exact moment in time. (Adams, 1990)

Third, keep what you write.Fourth, write quickly to increase spontaneity. The handwriting is also allowed to be sloppy at times!

Quote: Your handwriting can be an amazing barometer of your inner process, but you can also use it to help you achieve desired results. (Adams, 1990)

Fifth, start writing and keep writing. The main message here is: Just begin.Sixth, “tell the complete truth faster”. This should mean: Just jump right into it. Be direct. Be courageous to uncover also more difficult feelings. Just get it out!Seventh, protect your privacy.Eight, write naturally.I found these tips both quite understandable and helpful. In the book, the tips are followed by a section about the actual booklet to do your journaling in. I think it is worth thinking about this matter, but still I would categorize spending a whole chapter on this as “overthinking” (and not just jumping right into it, see tip 5 and, partially, tip 6).

Last section: Sign-off

I found the book “Journal to the Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth – Open the Door to Self-Understanding by Writing, Reading, and Creating a Journal of Your Life” by Kathleen Adams a useful book for getting started with journaling. I’ve been a practitioner myself for years and nevertheless found the tips given useful for incorporating in and enhancing my journaling practice.

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