Writing Wednesday: At what point does your journaling become too verbose to be useful?

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radical wellness art journaling page

There’s a fine line between useful journaling, and writing too much. This line, of course, differs for everyone.

Some examples of when it’s too much writing:

Journaling feels like a chore. Journaling should be relaxing, mind-clearing, and/ or a useful record. When journaling feels like homework, you are more likely to quit.

You end up writing the same things every day. If you are journaling the same ideas every day such as, “what should I be doing with my life?” or venting about the same issues over and over, you are stuck in a rut.

You feel compelled to write every detail of every day. In one of his travelogue books (I forget which one), Mark Twain noted that travelers spent the first few days of their journey recording every detail in their journals. As their trip got going, they quickly discovered it was more interesting to spend their time experiencing their trip than recording it.

If any of these sound familiar to you, you might want to change up the way you’ve been journaling.

Here at Quo Vadis blog we have a couple of journaling series to help you journal consistently in a way that is useful to you.

One is our Page Per Day Challenge, where you write, sketch, and/or stick things into your planner or notebook each day. The goal is to limit yourself to one page each day so you don’t fall into any of the traps above. You can jump into the Page Per Day Challenge any time. See all the details on it here.

Another is our Daily Journaling Prompts series where there is a new journaling prompt every day. Of course you can also combine the two and use the daily prompt as your topic for your Page Per Day Challenge!

At what point does your journaling cross the line from useful to over-writing?

4 thoughts on “Writing Wednesday: At what point does your journaling become too verbose to be useful?

  1. Hello. Thanks for the above encouragement(s). It IS my journal, and I should not feel encumbered by “rules”… I simply need to stay on my original path, and not stray. No journaling should have to be a certain amount of characters; just what you feel and how you react to and in life… Best, LeRoy

  2. The first rule in journaling is… There are no rules! You make of your journal what you want it to be.

    This post sounds like your inner editor is getting the upper hand. So what if you write drivel or detail every little thing? It’s YOUR journal, so you call the shots.

    There is no such thing as doing it wrong.

    • Hi Joni, you are absolutely right, the point of a journal is the freedom for an individual to do what they like. But for some people, myself included, we find ourselves falling into the trap of writing to the point where it is no longer useful or helpful. That’s when the above suggestions can help. 🙂

  3. My journaling becomes a liability when I start thinking too much! My initial thoughts begin to stray away from the subject at hand… When I journal, I like to “doodle” also. I have OCD, and this causes me to write-down thoughts. and “visions” that have nothing to do with my original journaling intent…

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