Categories
Food for Thought

It’s Never Too Late To Start Journaling

WRITTEN BY: ALEJANDRO ALAYA SCHMITT


I was first introduced to journaling about 12 years ago when I was working for the Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake City, Utah by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, best known as the Mormons.

My experience journaling isn’t extensive. I started journaling just a bit, here and there, not very often. In the past, I was more used to pondering on important things and sometimes speaking to myself about my own thoughts and feelings, as a reflection of what I have done and haven’t done yet, or perhaps, how good or bad the experience was, according to my perspective or paradigms at that moment.

Then, recently I found JoClub because I watched an interesting and very entertaining series on Netflix, “The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals” where I met Jo Franco, Megan Batoon and Luis D. Ortiz, who are the hosts of the show. After that, I was curious about them and started Googling. I found out more about each of them and found the awesome JoClub project about journaling.

Once I started journaling, it became more familiar to me as I did it more often. For those that visit the JoClub website for the first time, they may don’t know about journaling.

That is why I’ve included a definition here that I found online about journaling as follows:

“Now it’s called journaling. It’s simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. And if you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. It can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.”

And let me tell you more… I believe journaling is so much more than this! How many times do we take things we have or experience for granted? 

How about a journal specifically to give thanks for what we have, experience, and feel every day. Being grateful or thankful is one of the reasons many of us dedicate time to write down in our journals. 

Another good idea to keep those thoughts, feelings and experiences could be a desire to help others to achieve a better life or understanding that can become a book that can reach or help hundreds or thousands of lives… A legacy.

Another example can be a testimony about the benefits of journaling, like the one I found in an article by Hayley Phelan, titled: “What’s All This About Journaling?”. These benefits of journaling are scientifically sound and proven. I’ll just mention one of them because I’m sure you will be more interested in reading the whole article: “Writing in a journal can lead to better sleep”.

Wow, that is amazing! 

Again, here is something else that we may take for granted:

Many of us are able to sleep well, but think about someone that does not, and struggles every night to go to sleep. Think of the many young or elderly men or women that are not able to do so because of their age or health.

She mentioned this in her article and that is very true: “One of the more effective acts of self-care is also, happily, one of the cheapest.”

Well, I hope you enjoyed this article, remember: Journaling is a very powerful way to care for ourselves, become better every step of the way, and help others achieve their greatest potential, as we care for them, as well. It is never too late to get started. 🙂


Alejandro was born Mexico City and was raised in Chihuahua State since he was 7 years old. He was the former IT Manager at the Consulate of Mexico in Salt Lake City, Utah, but now he currently works as a Customer Service Advisor at a Retirement Government Institution. At the moment, he is working on his first book about Type 1 Diabetes in order to share his personal journey to help others. He has been a Type 1 diabetic since age 12.

He joined JoClub to connect with like-minded peers to develop his writing skills by journaling.

Connect with him via email.


Have a post to share?

Send us an email with subject – JoClub guest post! Join JoClub, our international group of journalers brave enough to share their innermost thoughts with the world.

Categories
Food for Thought

Here’s Why You Should Keep A Journal

WRITTEN BY: MARYSE S. MARIUS


Writing in a journal can lead to a plethora of benefits. In essence, journaling helps with clarity and organization.

People start journaling for different reasons. These reasons can be personal, professional, or a mix of the two.

To list some, journaling can help you:

  • Take care of your mental health
  • Track your personal development
  • Alleviate stress
  • Manage anxiety
  • Cope with depression
  • Improve your writing skills
  • Build and track personal habits and achieve your goals

And more.


If you don’t journal, here are 3 of the BEST things about journaling:
(which will hopefully inspire you to start today!)

1. You can start RIGHT NOW.

You don’t need anything fancy to start.

If you want to keep an analog journal, all you need is an empty book (notebook, journal, scrapbook) and your writing tool of choice! (a pen, pencil, fountain pen- if you’re a bit fancier).

If you want to keep a digital journal, open up your writing tool of choice! (Apple’s Notes/Pages app, Microsoft Word, Google Document, Scrivener, Ulysses … you choose!)

2. There are NO RULES.

Journal as you see fit. Your journal is yours and you’re in charge.

Did you miss a day? No worries!
Writing daily is too overwhelming? Try weekly!
Tired of lined pages? Experiment with dots, grids, or blank sheets!

Remember, there is no right or wrong approach to journaling.

3. The results can be instant.

E.g. If you decide to journal for mental clarity:

When you do a brain dump and take everything that’s occupying space in your brain and put it on paper, you’re going to feel less overwhelmed.

E.g. If you decide to journal to cope with depression:

When we write and then re-read your entry, you have the opportunity to take a step back and process the information either through a different lens or from a completely different perspective.

This can help you be more aware: it can allow you to identify triggers, patterns, and even solutions.


How some JoClub members use their journals:


“I use writing as an outlet for emotions, thoughts, and memories. Because otherwise, I’m usually a very highly stressed person, running from one place to another, to another, and not really reflecting upon things. I would often journal in moments of crisis when it all became too much.”


“I started journaling during the pandemic. I needed an outlet for all of my thoughts and feelings as writing them down always helped. It was so important for me to write down my feelings and thoughts, otherwise, I don’t think I could’ve coped with a lot of things.”


“As someone who has a difficult time remembering a lot of my life, I thought it’d be good to document everything I was feeling whilst I and most of the world was going through one of the toughest times we’ve ever experienced in our lifetimes. Committing to 5-10 minutes a day to journal during one of the toughest times in my life enabled me to process everything I was feeling. So many of my highlights from the last year have come about because of journaling and I’m so grateful.”


Tip: Find a journaling buddy and start together!
We don’t have to do things alone.


Maryse S. Marius is a creative non-fiction writer documenting her life experiences in words. She was born and raised in Saint Lucia 🇱🇨 🏝, and loves learning languages.
Connect with her on Instagram: @MaryseSMarius


Have a post to share?

Send us an email with the subject – JoClub guest post! Join JoClub, our international group of journalers brave enough to share their innermost thoughts with the world.

Categories
Food for Thought

Journaling Has Called You. Heed The Call!

WRITTEN BY: BRENDA SANDOVAL


“I’m not pretentious. I write for myself, to sometimes feel my soul speaking, singing, and sometimes crying.”
Clarice Lispector, Brasilian writer


Writing is one of the abilities that differentiate humankind from animals, and we should be proud of how much this capacity has evolved since the first cuneiform script system until today. 

However, despite the fact that all humans started learning this skill at a very young age, merely as an academic requirement, there are some people who are lucky enough to connect with writing on a deeper level and have the chance to discover that it’s actually a living and powerful force.

I’m pretty sure that you, the journaler, are one of them. So, this is a brief message for you.


Did we choose it, or were we chosen?

We may never know.

While some writers and journalers started out on an instinct, others have had to look for years to finally discover that this was how their souls express themselves.

Despite your situation, it is fundamental that you identify what your “why” is:

Are you writing to bring your new projects to life?
To express your inner thoughts?
To help yourself evolve through new perspectives?
Or, perhaps, to practice a new language?   


Take a page from the brilliant journalers’ minds.

After having identified your “why”, it’s time to see it through.

You need to start to be consistent until you finally reach your maximum potential.

Many brilliant historical minds have already done it, for example: Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein started using their journals to record all their new ideas and they ended up changing the world. Frida Khalo, painter, and Clarice Lispector, writer, preferred to use them to explore and understand themselves, and they created incredible art.

Follow the brilliant historical minds who journaled.

You and your writing can bring a great contribution to the world! 


Honour your gift by sharing it.

If you feel this connection with writing, then keep doing it and little by little, you will discover all the wonders that this gift can give to you.

Take care of it as it takes care of you.

That is the best way to honour it.


Brenda is a medical writer and language learning enthusiast. She is madly in love with journaling, and she works on achieving her dream of becoming a polyglot content creator.

Connect with her on Instagram and find her blog here.


Have a post to share?

Send us an email with subject – JoClub guest post! Join JoClub, our international group of journalers brave enough to share their innermost thoughts with the world.

Categories
Food for Thought

Journaling: The Mental Health MVP During the Pandemic

Written by: MARYSE S. MARIUS
Quotations from: JoClub Members 💕


“I was struggling a lot with anxiety during the pandemic and journaling helped with keeping this under control.”

Life is overwhelming, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing less than a lot. Whether you turn on your TV, switch on the radio, tap your phone or pick up the newspaper, it’s there. COVID-19 stories are constantly surrounding us, whether we like it or not.
Learning to manage stress and cope with anxiety will make you more resilient. Journaling can help. Dr. Tiffany N. Brown, clinical psychologist, explains that “journaling helps you gain a better understanding and improve regulation of your emotions.”


“I just want to write down my experiences and see how I handled myself during the pandemic. Then one day I want to read it 10 or 20 years from now.”

Journaling during this pandemic is recording history through your own lens and being able to save and share your experiences and stories. When we revisit old entries, we enter an emotional journey. We don’t know what exactly to expect, but we can anticipate an engrossing, intriguing, amusing and entertaining journey. Our words on these pages give us the opportunity to relive and reflect on past events.

We often wish that we’d written more.

This experience could be like visiting an old friend. We have memories of who we were at the time.

Remember: Our previous journals are not a reflection of our present selves.


“The thing with the pandemic is that I have had the time to reflect more and consider where I am and where I’m going. It’s definitely impacted the way I journal: what I write about and how I write about it.”

We’re able to find meaning in things that have been or become unclear when we journal. We see new perspectives. Defining our experiences and situations in pen allows us to enter into a reflective state, and get clarity.

Free therapy. Grab it.


“The feeling of uncertainty was everywhere and I felt like journaling was something I could control at this time. I was able to commit to something that I knew would stay with me forever.”

Journaling doesn’t need a special, write-only-this structure. You’re able to create your own safe space to express your feelings. There’s no need to worry about making errors or making it pretty.

Journals keep the order when the world is in disarray.


“When COVID hit, I resorted to the one thing that’s always brought me peace and sanity: journaling.”

Writing in a journal creates a safe place for us to open up with ourselves. It can be difficult or uncomfortable at first to lay it all out there in ink. However, writing down our concerns helps us process them and deal with them.

It’s self-care.


Journaling is enjoyable and simple to start (little preparation) with loads of benefits. Since you’re reading this, you’ve already taken a step further to journaling.

If you haven’t as yet, start today:
(Tips from Jo Franco)

1. Buy yourself a journal that’s going to inspire you to write.
2. Maybe even get yourself a fancy new pen.
3. Always put the date on the page.
4. Write down where you are.
5. Start writing about your present moment.
6. Get out in public (if you can) and journal.
7. Number your pages.
8. Create your writing ritual.
9. Write titles to your pages to keep track of what you’re writing about.
10. If you don’t know what to write about, ask yourself: How are you?
11. BONUS:  Join JoClub. 😉



Maryse S. Marius is a creative non-fiction writer documenting her life experiences in words. She was born and raised in Saint Lucia 🇱🇨 🏝, and loves learning languages.
Connect with her on Instagram: @MaryseSMarius


Have a post to share?

Send us an email with subject – JoClub guest post! Join JoClub, our international group of journalers brave enough to share their innermost thoughts with the world.


Categories
Food for Thought

Manifesting: It Actually Works.

Post by Diana Modupe

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Journaling Career: 5 years

Over the years, I may have heard the word “manifesting” in passing, but it wasn’t until my junior year of college that I learned the true essence of the word and started my own manifestation journal. At the time, I was taking an Afrofuturism Literature course, which introduced me to the late author Octavia Butler. Along with reading some of her novels, we watched a documentary about her life that featured some of her manifestations. Octavia Butler wrote her desires and intentions on paper in the present tense as if she was actively achieving each goal she wrote down. Some of her affirmations were as simple as “I am a bestselling writer,” and others were more detailed like, “Every one of my books reaches and remains for two or more months at the top of the bestseller lists of….,” where she listed several publications. The amazing thing about what she wrote down is that it all ended up happening. 

That same semester, I purchased my first journal and got to manifesting. If Octavia Butler could do it, why couldn’t I? I started off with very general affirmations like “I am healthy” or “I am financially abundant,” but then I wondered what would happen if I wrote more specific affirmations. In a matter of days and over the next few years, I began to see some of my journal affirmations unfold before my eyes. I found myself living in France (twice), traveling throughout Europe, meeting financial goals, and paving the way to live out my dream career of becoming a writer. 

So How Does It Work? 

A main idea surrounding manifestation is that seeing your goals or intentions repeatedly in writing (or another preferred method) and believing that these goals are possible will inspire you to take small steps each day to reach them. Forming habits like having a positive outlook and consistently practicing gratitude can be the fuel you need for your manifestations. The key to manifesting is letting go of pressure that the specific manifestation needs to happen and just having fun imagining the outcome. How would you feel if this really happened? Channel those emotions and get to writing! When manifesting, believing that the outcome is possible will make all the difference, so I suggest starting off with something small if it’s your first time. I’d like to note that I am not a manifestation coach or expert, but these are just some things I’ve done in my personal experience and that I’ve learned from doing my own research over the years. 

Easy Techniques for Manifesting:

  • Speaking positive affirmations/intentions out loud: Saying positive sentences to yourself in the present tense can be an easy way to manifest. It might feel unnatural at first, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll feel.
  • Writing down what you desire in the present tense: If you prefer journaling, this may be the manifestation technique for you. Instead of saying your affirmations or intentions out loud, write them down!
  • Creating a vision board: Picture where you’d like to be in life and create a collage of images to represent those goals. You can even make a digital vision board on your phone.

I still have my original manifestation journal from 2017, and every now and then I get overwhelmed with gratitude as I like look back at all the amazing things I was able to materialize in my life. Throughout the last few years, I’ve kept little pieces of my manifestations, like postcards from my travels in my journal and even a mini elephant collection from all the countries/cities I’ve visited, to remind me that I really can create the life of my dreams.

Have you tried manifestation before? Do you have a preferred method of manifesting? Let us know!

Happy manifesting,

Diana Modupe

Check out more of Diana’s work here: linguistanoire.com

Have a post to share? Send us an email at jo@joannafranco.com with subject – JoClub guest post! Join JoClub, our international group of journalers brave enough to share their innermost thoughts with the world.

Categories
Food for Thought

What Journaling Has Meant in 2020

Join JoClub here!

I’ve been journaling for as long as I can remember. From the heartache I felt at age 7 when a school friend broke a pinky promise right up to the recent exhilaration of hauling a Christmas tree through my neighborhood- past deserted restaurants with chairs stacked up against the windows- at age 25. 

And journaling, like Christmas traditions, has been one of the things I’ve tried to keep up this year despite this pesky global pandemic. 

During the first lockdown period here in Paris, my journaling reflected the novelty of the experience. In a fluffy pink, heart-shaped notebook I scribbled daily recounts of life inside: watching the president’s speeches on TV, talking to friends on the street from our living room window, choreographing dance routines for my flatmates and even venturing into an activity I’d never envisioned for my life: cooking. I wrote about everything, e v e r y t h i n g. A quick flick through my lockdown journal has reunited me with profound entries about how much I (still) love Gwen Stefani’s song “Cool”, impressive results from a new eyelash curler, and a note on how nice it was to eat macaroni and cheese in the bath. One entry from March reads, in its entirety, “Today, Friday, I did a barre workout in my living room. It hurt my arse.” 

I used all the colors of the rainbow to journal- metallic gel pens, bright purple calligraphy markers, glitter glue, stickers… everything was fun and funny. I was living something that would one day be in the history books, and I was creating a bright pink fluffy one of my own. I rarely looked inwards or adopted a serious tone. Looking back, perhaps this was because, subconsciously, I didn’t want to even begin to try to understand the absurd reality we had begun living in. Or maybe it actually was fun, in its own, strange little way. Back then, we didn’t know, of course, how long all this was going to last. I was happy to participate in collective responsibility by doing a whole lot of nothing.

Our summer of (cautious) freedom in France meant the end of my daily journaling. It was almost like I was happy to be rid of it- I had an actual life again and didn’t need to invent one in a notebook!

And then the second lockdown came. This time, to put it lightly, I no longer wanted to reach for anything pink and fluffy. I felt blue, the bluest. 

The contents of my journal came to resemble the sad, restless, sometimes despairing tone of entries from trying times in my late teens and early twenties. Not the kind of headspace I had been hoping to return to. It’s like I began treating my journal like people at my Christian high school told us not to treat God- as something we turned to and used only in our darkest times. While I’m in no way religious (and certainly do not consider my journal a deity, no matter how much I worship my own handwriting), I do feel like I used to be much better at turning to my journal to document everything I’m grateful for and blessed to have. I don’t want its pages to be filled only with doom and gloom- if nothing else, it’s no fun to reread. This is part of the reason why it’s been so important to us to have JoClub prompts that directly ask us to stop and smell the roses.

Another change in my journaling this year came in the form of JoClub. For the first time in my life, I had something that was usually so solitary become a collective experience. I met strangers from all corners of the world- and not only did I meet them, I met their inner thoughts, the pages of their journals, their triumphs and heartbreaks and fears and frustrations. In a year where it was more important than ever to remember that I was not alone, JoClub gave me exactly that. Reminders that my worries were found on the journal pages of so many others, too. That we were in this together, all clumsily trying to figure it out.

So this year, whether happy or hopeless, journaling has been a salve when I’ve really needed it, a distraction when I’ve wanted one, and, sometimes, an inadequate search for comfort. 

It hasn’t managed to be a bandaid for this horrid year, but it has often felt like tending to a wound- even if this has sometimes meant picking at the scab, then redressing it, only to watch it start bleeding once more. Importantly, it has at least reminded me that this wound, like all the rest, will one day heal.

What has journaling meant for you this year?

Article by Alyssa Perrott

About JoClub

JoClub is an online movement. It’s an Instagram page with daily journal prompts, and it’s also a membership program that includes daily emails, a discord group, and fortnightly Zoom calls where members share journal entries and write new ones live, together. 

JoClub, above all, is a community, inclusive of every type of journaler. Follow us on Instagram for daily prompts!

Categories
Food for Thought

22 Lessons Learned in 2020

Good morning. Jo here, writing to you from the Connecticut home I bought in cash at the end of July. The same home I’ve only slept in six nights total – cut the check and had to replenish these funds. I filmed a video about the purchase and still haven’t had time to edit it… yeah, it’s been a crazy last six months. I’ve been off the grid and on a journey that’s taken up my entire 2020 – filming a project that will only come out next Summer that I’m legally unable to tell you about. So for now, I’ll give you nuggets of wisdom I’ve collected along the journey, and thoughts to wrap up 2020.

Join JoClub here where I share my thoughts daily and watch the full YouTube video here.

Here are 22 lessons to live by:

  • You must cut out toxicity to make room for positive things and people.
  • Introspection is not only recommended but should be mandatory.
  • Helping family may drain your energy and wallet but it’s a beautiful honor to give back to those who brought you into the world.
  • Music helps maintain sanity when things seem to be unbearable. Play Bob Marley on a crappy day and you’ll see how much better you feel.
  • Finding true love is incredible, but it doesn’t solve all of your problems.
  • When in doubt, drink water.
  • If you’re around people who make you feel guilty for being you and loving the things you love, those are not your people.
  • When you know something no longer serves you, cut it out.
  • You can only move forward if you’re looking forward.
  • Being grateful for things that haven’t happened yet shows the universe that you’re ready to receive it.
  • Paper will always be more patient than people, grab a journal.
  • Noticing that a moment will become a memory is a gift, sharpen it by appreciating small moments every day.
  • The five people closest to you should be a reflection of not only who you are, but who you aspire to be. Take inventory and modify if necessary.
  • Reading will always give you more than refraining from doing so.
  • You don’t always need to solve problems right away. You’ll notice that if a problem solves itself, it wasn’t ever really a problem.
  • Collaborating with people is one of the greatest gifts we humans are capable of. Find someone worthy and build something with them.
  • You are a prisoner to the things you say and a master of the things you keep to yourself.
  • Not everyone wants the best for you. Learn to recognize genuine care, and keep those ingenuine at a safe distance.
  • Being light is one of the most desirable qualities in a person. Practice letting things go, you’ll train yourself to be lighter.
  • The struggles are what give your character texture. Learn to embrace hard times and thank them for making you a more evolved person.
  • Nature is essential. When you’re stressed, take a deep breath outside and enjoy the fresh air.
  • Speculation is poison because it’s giving energy to things we cannot control. Focus on what’s in your power.

That’s it for now. Sending my love and gratitude always.

Introspection is the key to unlock the soul – there’s goodness awaiting you.

With love,

Categories
Food for Thought

JoClub Membership is Now A Thing

I’ve been wanting to develop this for a while. So I sat my a$$ down and developed it. We’ve built a nice little community on Instagram and some of you have been journaling for 300+ days! JoClub is growing, and so should the access to the community.

I’m officially rolling out the JoClub membership program where you get to commit to journaling, be a part of a tight-knit community, and make journaling a life long habit.

So what is this all about? Here’s a breakdown of what you get

Don’t worry, we’ll still be updating the JoClub Instagram account daily with free prompts, there’s a little something for everyone 😉.

When You’re a JoClub Member:

Price: $12/month

This membership is for anyone who wants to make lifelong connections with other people who want to dive into self-improvement, mental clarity, and journaling for life. We’ll help you turn journaling into a daily habit with the following perks:

  • 30 thought-provoking questions on a monthly basis to your inbox (so you won’t have to wait for them daily on Instagram)
  • Access to a Facebook group exclusively for the JoClub community of all levels
  • 2 Monthly live journaling event/journal slam
  • Access to an intimate Discord group for this tier only
  • 1 on 1 with Jo every quarter.

Can’t wait to grow this movement with you!