Journaling is frequently used in different power exchange dynamics to give the submissive a space to write about their feelings and reflect on their submission. Sometimes it is read by the Dominant, sometimes not. In this post, I’m going to explore some other kinds of journaling that can be useful in dynamics and how to utilize them.
The Submissive’s Journal
A popular concept, the submissive’s journal is frequently designated a safe space for a submissive to write about their feelings without repercussions. Personally, I believe a submissive should be able to share their feelings at any time without repercussions but I digress. Either way, the submissive’s journal is centered on the submissive and their personal journey.
The submissive might write daily about what they did that day, about a scene they had, what feelings they are struggling with in regards to their submission. Prompts are common and a quick Google search will show you plenty of them. Essentially, the journal typically centers on self-reflection and exploration of submitting and surrender.
As I mentioned before, sometimes these are read by the Dominant, sometimes not. I feel that sharing one’s journal is an act of trust and the Dominant should read a submissive’s journal assuming good intent. They should be willing to discuss, not punish or argue, things they may have concerns about.
The Bullet Journal
My journaling falls more into this category – bullet journaling. While I do have a designated journal for writing about my slavehood, I pick it up rarely. My bullet journal is my bigger focus. It’s where I record goals, wish lists, and book notes. Since I reference a lot of books, having my own notebook with specific notes helps me not have to flip through every book any time I’m looking for something.
If you’re interested in learning more about the practice of bullet journaling, I recommend reading the original creator’s website.
Bullet journals can be works of art or utilitarian. Instagram has tons of examples of different ways people utilize bullet journals. I like this format because it is flexible and easy to adapt whatever formatting I need to use for different topics. If I want to do a list, I can do that. If I want a two page spread on cigar service, easy enough. Essentially, I use my bullet journals as a way to create reference books for myself.
Letters to Each Other
This is something I did within a prior relationship. We would write an entry and respond to each other in our own entries. It was another way for us to communicate and give ourselves time to process different information. We would still make a point to bring critical things up in regular conversation but writing letters to each other is a different kind of thinking.
But these could also be devotional love letters rather than journal entries to process with each other. Or maybe they are dirty fantasies, wish lists of things you want to do but have a hard time saying out loud. This method can be handy for that.
kame bat wrote this book about how she utilizes her journal. She was ordered to keep one by her Master but it needed to be functional for her. Her journal wasn’t just for self-reflection but also notes about the person she was serving, to-do lists, and related tasks. Its a journal, a note keeper, and a planner all in one. This personally doesn’t work for me – I like things to be in specific notebooks – but it’s a good way to see what is going on in your life all at once and can provide prompts for journaling.
If you’re deeper into service and lean more towards a 24/7 lifestyle, I recommend checking out this method and considering whether or not it’s useful for you.
Journaling Frequency and Prompts
One common question I see is how often should a submissive journal and what the heck do they even write about. In my own exploring of journaling, I’ve found that daily journaling can be difficult to keep up with unless you can slip it into an existing routine. This may not be true for everyone so give it a shot. I find a few times a week or once a week is easier for me when I’m making notes in my personal planner or 5 year journal.
There are tons of submissive journaling prompts out there on the internet. A quick Google search will lead you to plenty of them. Also check out 30 Days of X prompts like Loving BDSM’s 30 Days of BDSM. That gives you a daily prompt for a whole month!
I also suggest writing thoughts about books you’ve read, write bucket or wish lists, and write entries about scenes you’ve had. Make notes about what kinds of things you want to try or something you saw recently on FetLife or at a party that intrigues you.
The Purpose of the Journal
If a Dominant gives an order for their submissive to keep a journal, I feel there should be a purpose behind it. Is it to ensure that the submissive is exploring their feelings around submission? Or is it a way for the Dominant to see into the submissive’s psyche? Is it a communication tool or kept private just for the submissive?
Discuss with your partner what they want you to get out of journaling. If the Dominant is going to read the submissive’s journal, I advise that nothing in that journal is then used as a weapon against the submissive. Doing so will only result in the submissive holding back or outright lying in their journal to avoid conflict and punishment. Journaling should be providing a way to get to know each other better and for the submissive to know themselves better, not providing ammo for a fight.
I’d also recommend discussing what kinds of check-ins there might be for the journal. Will the Dominant read every entry or do they just want to view it weekly to ensure the submissive is making progress? I’ve seen it many times, and felt it myself, but it is disappointing and frustrating to be given a task like this from a Dominant only for that Dominant to forget about it completely. If you’re a Dominant thinking about including this practice in your power exchange, please don’t forget to at least ask about it. It shows that you care and are going to follow up on orders you give, that your orders are important to you and so is your submissive’s follow-through.
Go Forth and Journal
In the end, however you choose to utilize a journal in your dynamic, it needs to work for you. Whether that’s just a planner to keep track of events and new protocols or a daily reflection of your submissive journey, it’s important that it adds to your life and isn’t a chore. Experiment with different kinds of journaling, play with different formats, and explore what sharing the journal does.
What about you? Do you keep a journal of any kind? Is it something that interests you or is it just another thing to get done? Let me know in the comments.