One of the best ways to reflect on an experience or an event is to write a reflective journal. A reflective journal is different from an ordinary journal entry because it captures additional elements such as your thoughts, emotions, and views about the event or the experience. This gives you a new perspective that you may not have realized in the journal.
Writing a reflective journal can be challenging, especially when you do not have the best guidelines. Most people write plain and common reflective journals because they forget to include critical elements. After reading this article, you will write the best and most informative reflective journals.
Keep your journal close.
When you plan to write a reflective journal, you need to have your journal closer to capture all the events and forget important events and ideas. You also need to be present to capture everything that occurs. You need to make regular entries without focusing on whether they are necessary or not.
You need to focus on related events that boost your journal entry when making entries. Such events can be used to explain the triggers of the prior experience. You can also include your thoughts in the process. While you are resting, probably in the evenings, you need to go through your entries to revise, improve or reflect on what you have captured. This will help you capture other aspects, such as emotions and opinions.
Have some draft
The draft plays many roles in the writing process. It gives a guideline on what you will capture and include to write the best reflection journal. A draft should contain everything that comes to mind about the experience and the event. It should capture the main points you want to discuss in the paragraph and what you would wish to include. Besides the main points, it should also capture your thoughts and list your emotions and opinions.
A draft saves you the burden of having to think and scratch your head longer, waiting for ideas to pop up. Once you have it, it enables your content to flow smoothly. You will also notice that the sentences and ideas can easily transition to the next draft. You need to take more time developing the draft, and you can revise it continuously until you have the perfect content on what to include.
This phase involves you capturing the events vividly and how they occurred. To write a perfect description, you need to follow the rules of 5WsH. This involves where, whey, who, what, and when describing the event that occurred. H means how the event occurred and any other things. These elements will help you capture everything, and they will provide you with a perfect guideline on how to write the best reflective journal. When describing the event, ensure you capture all the elements such as people, time, nature, and any other relevant thing.
Whatever you describe should be based on what you captured in the draft entries. You also need to make the description flow logically to avoid mixing up. You can rely on the draft and the journal entries to ensure the flow of ideas. You need to capture what happened, with no exaggerations, nor should you ignore essential incidents.
Capture the feelings
Reflective journals allow you to discuss how you felt about the entire experience and events. As much as you describe the event or the experience, it is all about you. Therefore, you need to capture first-person perspectives and include your opinion. Your opinion includes what ought to have happened, why you think it happened, and many more. To effectively capture your feelings, you need some guiding questions.
What do I think about the experience or event? How did I feel from the start to the end and after the event? Does it remind me of anything? What about the other people? You can include many more questions to guide you. Just ensure you capture your true feelings and do not ignore any negative or positive feelings.
You have control over what you include in the reflective journal. It is more like your story; hence, you control what appears and does not. When writing your reflective journal, you need to ensure you are as honest and objective as possible. The reflective journal may contain positive and negative aspects, but you need to ensure none is exaggerated.
While doing the evaluation, you can rely on these questions to guide you. What was suitable for my audience and me? What was/will be negative for my audience and me? Focusing on these questions lets you critically review the journal to capture what is necessary and ignore what is not. The questions will guide you on what to eliminate and what to include.
The Bottom Line
The tips to writing the best reflective journal are planning, preparing, and being realistic about what happened. You also need to capture your emotions and opinions. You should also focus on what is suitable for you and the audience. These guidelines will help you write the best reflective journal; however, you can include other strategies that you may find helpful.