Smart Journaling Is a Tool You Can’t Ignore

Valerie Jégo Marsh
6 min readAug 15, 2022

You have your notebook, now what? If you tried to journal but couldn’t get into it or didn’t see the benefits, you might not have found the type of journaling that suits you. Read on.

Photo by Thom Holmes on Unsplash

A disclaimer first: I’ll be talking about journaling assuming we are both doing it in a notebook. You might prefer doing it on an electronic device and that’s fine. I just don’t know how that works. There is no right or wrong way of doing it. I write in notebooks because I love the physical act of writing. I also love stationery. Handling notebooks makes me happy and I find it easier to refer back to something I wrote in them. It works better for me. Choose what works for you.

The Mind Sweep

Although the expression comes from David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, I started doing them after reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, who, herself, got the idea from Dorothea Brande’s Becoming a Writer, published in the 1930s. When an idea has been around for a long time, you know it’s a good one.

I write things down on the page so it’s out of my mind and I try to seep every corner of it so that those thoughts are either analyzed, recorded or organized.

For a long time, I wrote to just express what was on my mind and especially what was weighing me down. I really needed to get through this phase; it was like talking therapy. The good thing is, I could do it when I needed to, wherever I was and it only cost a notebook. Again, it worked for me, but a therapist might better help others.

With time, my notebook evolved and I started penning my goals for the month, taking notes and glueing pictures I cut out of magazines that made me happy or depicted the mood I was reaching for.

Later, I got quicker at expressing myself and getting to the bottom of what was going on and I made a point of always finishing with what I should do about it. That’s when my smart journaling truly started — although I am tempted to say that any form of journaling is smart as it always ends up serving you.

Can you skip the mind sweep? Maybe you could but I find it most useful as the obstacle we face is often within ourselves. It’s what we think and feel, and it needs to be questioned so it can be removed. When…



Valerie Jégo Marsh

Loves ☕️ 📚🖋 🎨 🧘🏻‍♀️ A Parisian forced into exile in London for preferring tea to coffee😉🇫🇷🇬🇧