The Beginning Journal

Author: Hope © 2005
Hope's Web Site


This article is copyrighted to the stated author(s) and can not be reproduced, copied, reprinted, or posted without the consent of the author. It is used here with permission of the author..


With just a few words here about why journals are helpful, this article is intended to help beginning journalists find some help or insight. For your first journal, I encourage a blank books, without lines, whether it be a sketchpad, unlined notbook, or a hardbound journal. This is to encourage the flow of free thought, release your creative self, let your words flow spontaneously, and let you use your journal to draw, sketch, collage, or do any other artwork you may be so inspired to do with it.

Communication is at the forefront of all relationships, and especially a D/s relationship. While face-to-face talking is the best form of communication, sometimes this is not available, or occasionally, alternative means may be necessary. Perhaps the subject matter is such that the submissive, with her Dominant’s consent, may rather write out a fantasy that she is embarrassed about, for example, or simply one that he would like her to record. Journal-keeping gives submissives and slaves opportunities to record thoughts, questions, desires, fantasies, their dreams as they remember them, lessons learned from their Dominant, or perhaps a list of traits they desire in a Dominant if they are still beginning their journey into submissiveness.

My point is that there are innumerable ways for a journal to be helpful, with one caveat, and this is a big one: The Dominant MUST be able to access the journal ANY time He wishes, and indeed, NEEDS to access it fairly regularly to see what is going on in the mind of the submissive. This does not necessarily mean day-to-day reading, just a familiarity with the journal. Some Dominants also permit their submissives a second journal that they may keep private; this is up to the parties involved; however, a shared journal is a priceless tool of communication.

So, how do you begin one? The first step is to ask your Dominant for permission to begin a journal – if he agrees, discuss any restrictions or preferences he or you may have on the type he or you may like. Then, it’s off to the bookstore! Pick a larger bookstore, or one that specializes in stationery items. The ideal journal will be hardbound, with the interior pages unlined and thick enough for you to draw upon in marker and not have the pages leak through. (Art stores are a good place for finding these too – simply an artist’s book will work well ). Having pages unlined may not appeal to some of you *smiles* -- I ask that you read the entire article, give it some consideration before beginning, and then decide what type of journal is right for you. A type of journaling that has whirled into town like a tornado is the blog – many in the lifestyle are blogging and you can find their blogs almost anywhere on the web if you do a simple search on the search engines. These are a good communication tool in that you can reach other bloggers easily, and have discussion – the downside is there is a lack of privacy often, and actually writing and drawing with your hands on paper brings out more of your creative self.

“Now,” you think, holding a brand-new journal in your hand, “Now I have a journal. How do I get started writing?” Though I have spent years journaling, I by no means claim to be an expert – what works for one person will often not work for another. I will make a short list at the end of the article of books friends or I have found helpful in this area. The method that works best for me, Lucia Cappachione, Author of “The Creative Journal”, simply calls, “Creative Journaling.” This is an apt name for it, but to me it also fits much of the definition of stream-of-consciousness-writing, save that she doesn’t limit herself to writing only, but instead incorporates drawing and other forms of artwork into her journal. In her book, “The Creative Journal,” Cappachione describes Creative Journaling as a method to help you “express feelings and thoughts, play with new media of expression (color, images, symbols), sort out the seemingly random experiences in your life, make more conscious choices and decisions, get a clearer picture of your creative potential and how to use it, deal with creative blocks and negative patterns, enrich your relationship with yourself and others, and find deeper meaning in your life”

As I have not read this book in several years but only cracked it open today to see what insights it might give me into writing this article, let me shut it now and see if I can tackle those individually. Expressing feelings and thoughts is the main motivation of any type of journal, be it blogging, the traditional journal, or a more contemporary one. What Cappachione described as “playing with new media of expression,” I believe is simply incorporating drawing in a stream-of-consciousness-form, much as you would write that way. The images and symbols don’t have to make sense any more than words do when written that way, they are simply things you have done to keep the flow of movement going. As time goes on and you practice this technique more, you will find that your artwork, be it pencil drawing, crayons, markers, ink drawing, colored pencil, pastels, etc etc, l takes on a new dimension and meaning as your symbols “come to life”. Just as it is said that in a dream everything is a symbol, I believe it is so in this method of drawing – it only remains to ferret out what the meaning of the symbols are, without overanalyzing things. (the Killer Word of Journaling – Analyzing)

Sorting out “seemingly random experiences in your life” is not as hard as it sounds. Simply put, it is sitting down, looking at what you have written and drawn, and seeing it as another person would when reading it for the first time. What would jump out at them? What do you repeat, what do you emphasize, either in your words, or with bright or repeated colors, or patterns or themes? When you find the things you emphasize, the things that you repeat, the patterns that you make, you are getting a clearer picture of the pattern of your thoughts. This may be the pattern of how your life is at the moment, how it was in the past, or how you wish it to be; it depends on the content you have written. However, a pattern will no doubt emerge in time – just be patient if it does not emerge right away – mine took about two months of journaling before I truly saw patterns and how to change things.

Once you have that picture in your mind, of the pattern that has emerged, you can look at it yourself, if single, or with your Dominant. Does he see the same pattern you see, or is his mind led in another direction by what he sees? If he comes to different conclusions, it may form a basis for respectful discussion and instruction, to find more concrete examples of what he wishes you to do or in what ways he wishes to help you change goals. If he comes to the same conclusions, it still forms a basis for respectful discussion and instruction; is he pleased with the way things are going, and the pattern formed? Would he like to see something different, or is he satisfied with what he sees? The journal gives him another tool to help evaluate your progress and performance, along with your daily performance, and lets you communicate in a way that sometimes you might not be able to otherwise (stream-of-consciousness-talking is VERY hard to do in front of a Dominant *L*)

Whether you are looking at a pattern that needs to be changed or a pattern that you, if single, or your Dominant if you are attached, find to be a good one, the discussion of the pattern and the contents of the journal will in and of itself create communication that will only enrich your relationship. If you are single, it enriches and hones your insights about yourself, forcing you to be more honest with yourself, and letting you reap the benefits and rewards which that may bring.. The entire process, which no doubt has led to more journaling while it has come about, goes in a circle, a circle that is life-affirming, self-affirming, and helps you to find deeper meaning in your life… with yourself, if single.. with your Dominant, if you have one. This process also creates continuity and stablity in your life, helps you identify future goals and dreams, and to recognize and put to rest the ghosts of the past.

I journaled for several years daily where the topic was mainly my sexual abuse from the preschool age until I went to college, but the words and the art, I think especially the art (as it uses the right side of the brain as well as the left), helped me to put to rest, as much as is possible, the demons of the past. They still haunt me a bit occasionally, but for the most part they are gone. I have succeeded in triumphing over them. They have no power over me; in actuality, I became stronger because of the experience. I would not –repeat- the experience, but it made me stronger and more able to handle some of the other things that came my way in life such as being temporarily homeless and at another time, having to file for disability at a young age and deal with a disability that is “invisible” to most. I believe all things happen for a reason though, and the journaling I did was the primary thing that got me through those periods. I knew it would be there, and that I could express myself. I knew things would be recorded, and put down for history during a time when it seemed everything was changing. Your journal can become such an island of rest in a sea of choppy waters *smiles*. Let the path of journaling from your soul be one that takes you on a wondrous journey that never ceases to amaze you and the one you love.

I am asked often, “what do I write about?” *laughs softly*. The answer to that is as individual as the person himself or herself. You can write about ANY thing. Literally. From writing an ode to an onion to an epic on subspace. One may be more “impressive” to others, but both are equally valid – they express yourself and what you are made up of, in how you construct your work, how your emotions are put into it. The ode to the onion, I would wager, has as much power per word as does the epic about subspace *smiles*. For those who need a jump-start, however, this is perfectly fine also. I have come across a site that is truly wonderful, called “Kindlings,” which is simply a site that posts journal prompts, or ideas for things to journal on or about each day or week:






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