Journal Page as Rough Draft

When I was little, I used to vacation in the Wisconsin Dells. A river runs through there, and you could pan for “gold” or collect stone and rocks. You couldn’t really see what was hidden underneath, so I went for the ones that called to me. Only after some time in the rock tumbler did they revel their beauty. 

This is exactly like working on a journal page. 

Approach it like a rough draft. 

When you’re working on a rough draft, the goal isn’t to create a perfect finished project, but get all your ideas out of your head. 


Whenever I sit down to write, whether it’s an article for a magazine, a blog entry, or a story, I want to create a beautiful disaster. I want to make a mess of things. I want mistakes and funny-sounding sentences and paragraphs that ramble. I want a big mess. I want every idea and thought down on the page. I aim to create just this, which, in turn, takes away much of the pressure to be perfect. 

And I put this to use when working in my journal. Don’t think, just do. Extra points if it’s a disaster. 

The magic comes into play once you’ve gotten everything out of your head. Take a step back. Grab a cup of tea. Go for a walk. Come back with a pretty colored pen or paint and start refining. Paint over bits that don’t work Find shapes in your random brushstrokes and draw them out. Build up layers, covering what doesn’t work and accenting what does. And in the end, you can start over. 

Each step is one in the right direction. There are no steps back. 

I'll be discussing this idea more in-depth in this week's issue of Journaling Deep