Hey, my friend.
You’ve settled in your favorite chair, blanket wrapped over your lap, as you pull out your notebook and pen. You’ve been looking forward to journaling about some things that have been stirring in your heart lately.
Taking a deep breath, you open the cover and find the right page. Your pen is posed to start writing.
And then your husband walks in. He hasn’t seen you all day and wants to hear about what you’ve been doing.
Or your littles climb over the arm of the chair to sit with you. “Mom, look what I drew!” they exclaim.
You love your family–so very much–but you also like to journal. It’s something that helps you find peace and live more intentionally. Plus, it helps you notice how God is showing up.
But right now, it’s hard to focus. It’s hard to feel like you have the privacy you need to write from your heart.
Part of you wants to grab some paper folders, like in grade school, and set them upright on your desk to provide at least a little privacy while you write. Know what I mean?
Journaling is an amazing spiritual practice—but we can’t always wait until we have the entire house to ourselves for an hour. Sometimes we need to write when conditions aren’t ideal.
I’ve been there. And that’s why I’m passing on some tips that have helped me continue to write, even when others are around.
Here they are:
Tip #1: Write about lighter topics when others are around, and save the deeper or heavier stuff for when you’re alone.
There are a lot of different types of journaling, plus various topics we write about. So save the more personal stuff for when you are truly alone and able to focus.
What might fall under “lighter” stuff?
- Gratitude lists
- Scripture journaling
- Daily recording or notetaking
- Favorite memories
Tip #2: Use your phone or a small notebook to record short phrases or journaling points to write about later.
Sometimes a thought or insight will come to you when others are around. You’re just doing life as usual. (Isn’t that how our best thoughts come to us? When we’re busy doing something else?!)
You don’t want to lose that insight, but you also don’t have the time or space to give it your complete attention.
So grab your phone or small notebook, record the insight, and return to it when you have time to devote to free writing or more reflective type journaling. Record just enough to trigger your memory when you sit down to write again.
You can use a Notes or Memo app on your phone, or text it to yourself. For me, I often email myself these little notes so that I see them once I log on to my computer.
Tip #3: Utilize small breaks when others are busy to focus on your writing.
There are times when others are around, but they are focused on something else. And while this doesn’t offer the complete and utter privacy that being home alone can have, it still offers you some safe space to write.
So take advantage of it when you can and dive into a topic that is a little deeper.
- Prayer journal
- Bible journal
- A journal prompt or guided journal
You don’t have to let a lack of complete alone time prevent you from journaling. You can find ways to write and reflect, even when others are around.
What do you think? Are you up for giving it a try? Which one of these do you think would work well for you?
More Journaling Opportunities
If journaling is your thing, I would love to invite you to check out my free journaling workshop, 3 Ways to Encounter God on the Pages of Your Journal. Because journaling is one thing, but journaling with God is even better. You can find that workshop at lovedoesthat.org/journalingworkshop.
And if you want to create a journaling routine that is right for you in this season of your life—because journaling looks different through the years, doesn’t it?—know that this is one of the first things we work on in the Journal Gently program. You not only create space to meet with God, but you also determine where and when and how and what works for you right now. You can learn more and sign up at lovedoesthat.org/journalgently.
Thank you for being here with me today, my friend. May your journaling bring you great communion with the Lord and insights into what is going on inside of you. Until next time, let’s encourage one another…
- Episode 54: 4 Simple Ways to Start (or Keep) Journaling
- Episode 55: Reflection and Journaling as a Lifelong Practice with Business Strategist Elizabeth McCravy
- Episode 45: Grief Journal Prompts
- Bonus Episode 18: [Journal Prompts] For Seasons of Change and Transition
Learn more and register for Journal Gently, an 8-week program designed to help you use writing as a way to process hurt, grief, and trauma with God.