[Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at best journaling practices for artists. To learn much more, please take a peek at The Great Book of Journaling.]

A lot of people like to journal. They keep journals for all sorts of reasons—as a special private time, as a way to record and preserve their life experiences, as self-dialogue and self-therapy, as a place to vent and to dream, and so on.

Journaling can also serve as a self-coaching tool that keeps you focused on your goals and your intentions, including your intention to complete your creative projects. It’s an eight-step process that, in addition to helping you complete a given project, also helps you organize your life and align your thoughts and your actions with your intentions.

The eight steps of the focused journal method are:

1. You identify an issue
2. You examine its significance
3. You identify core questions
4. You tease out intentions
5. You notice what shadows get activated
6. You identify the strengths you bring
7. You align your thoughts with your intentions
8. You align your behaviors with your intentions

How does this process work? Imagine a painter who is having trouble making sense of the next steps in her career. She paints pretty regularly, is pretty happy with both the number of paintings she finishes and with their quality, but feels stuck trying to decide “how to market herself.” She can’t really align her thoughts with her intentions yet because she doesn’t have any clear intentions, just the general intention “to market myself somehow.” Her first step is to zero in on a clear intention by chatting with herself via journaling.

More next week! And for a wonderful all-around introduction to journaling, please take a look at The Great Book of Journaling.

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