As my 4-year anniversary of having an online journal recently passed, I reflected back on the reasons I started my online journal. I started my online journal for a few reasons: 1) inspired by other online weblogs, 2) I felt it would help me gain more self-awareness, 3) help me be true to myself with all the world having access to it. And all those reasons still hold today. It has been a remarkable journey.

Journaling is a useful tool no matter if you are in the lifestyle or not. It is a way to explore yourself – your thoughts and feelings. It is a mirror to your self-awareness. Journaling allows you a safe place to explore: intense feelings, clarify beliefs, practice being true to yourself, spark creativity, relieve stress, vent, complete idea or thought before communicating it with other people, express feelings that are sometimes hard to express out loud, flesh out where you stand on an issue and many other topics to help you become more self-aware. All these things help to being able to communicate our feelings and thoughts more easily because we are able to explore and reflect.

In all relationships, communication is vital. And in BDSM relationships that is no different. When the activities we indulge in cause intense emotions, clear communications between the partners is important. Of course talking face to face would be the ideal way to do that, but at times, this can be difficult. At times emotions seem to be on a roller coaster so, a person can become jumbled with thoughts and feelings. So another option could be to have a journal either offline or online, to hash out those thoughts and feelings before discussing them.

In the lifestyle, I have heard of Dominants that require their submissive to write in an accessible journal. It can be helpful tool for the Dominant and the submissive. The Dominant not only gets a peek into the submissive mind and how it works but it also for both parties helps create a dialog of communication on perhaps some hard issues.

Sometimes it is hard to start out and take the plunge. You might question if you have anything to write about, how to start writing when you never done it, how do you get in to the routine of it. Just take it one step at time.

Online, offline, handwritten?
First decided if you want to have an online journal or something offline – handwritten or just using word on your computer. I have done handwritten journaling for about 15 years as well as online journaling. Both forms of journaling have helped me in my self-awareness and growth. Maybe you will decide that you need something more private then one that is online. Maybe you feel sharing your experiences will help you in your self-growth. Just find the place that feels like a comfortable place to write.

If you want a handwritten journal then find a journal that fits you. It can be leather bound, pretty as a picture or just a spiral bound notebook. If you want one online, then just need to find the right online one for you. (I will list resources where to find online journals at the end.)

Where do I start?
You have this blank pristine page before you. It can sometimes be a little daunting. I remember thinking, “oh no what if I write something really stupid or boring on these first pages.” A tip for handwritten journaling is to skip 2 to 4 pages. I have used those pages when I finished the journal to go back and do a reflection on that journal. It helped me from feeling I was going to “screw up” those first pages. With an online journal, we don’t have the luxury of skipping the first entry, but how about just start out with a short bio to help you get started.

What do you write about?
I suggest starting out just writing about your day. Recount the events you have experienced and the effects of them. It will become your springboard to expound on other topics, thoughts, and feelings. Soon you will start delving deeper into experiences and emotions behind them. And then eventually you are writing without even recounting the day’s events.

Stage Fright?
When your dominant or even the world wide web of people are reading your journal you can develop stage fright. It is important to try to just write as no one is reading. Write for you and not for others. It can be hard to not write just what the dominant wants to hear when as a submissive you want to please. But when your dominant wants you to write, the purpose is not for pleasing him but rather to see what is going on in your mind. They want to read your thoughts and feelings.

Writers Block?
Even after years of journaling though at times I get writer’s block. There are journal prompts out on the world wide web. All you have to do is put “journal prompts” into google and it will come up with sites that have them. They sometimes have photographs, quotes and questions to help inspire you to write. Journal prompts can also be helpful when just starting out and unsure of what to write about.

One day, go back and read all the pages you have written. Look back and see the growth. See your memories. See the insights you have gained. It is an empowering experience.

Resources for Online Journals
When checking out weblog hosts, know that some are free and others have paid upgraded services. You also need to be careful if they offer adult services if you are going to have a journal that is adult oriented.
Indecent Blogging
Insane Journal
Journal Space
Section 12
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Create a weblog on your own website.
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© within Reality: danae