I started journaling at the tender age of 9. I have fond memories of my sister and I climbing the tree in our front yard and balancing on the branches while scribbling in our notebooks (scroll down for a photo of my very first journal!). So many people are baffled when I tell them how long I’ve kept a journal, but honestly, it’s not that hard! Some things are only as hard as you make them. Once you take away a few preconceived hurdles you can find journaling to be quite therapeutic. Plus it’s fun to see what I was thinking and feeling throughout my life – it helps give perspective.
I hope these tips help you to begin journaling and figure out what works for you. It’s a practice I’ve valued deeply over the years and I’ve benefited so much from keeping a journal.
Leave The Expectations
There is literally no wrong way to journal. While I aspire to keep a journal “worth” reading, it’s the act of writing out how I’m thinking and feeling that is the true reward of journaling. Don’t put pressure on yourself to become the next great novelist. Write in a way that comes naturally. For me, it’s the way I think and speak, but entries can also just be simple lists! Usually, when I’m traveling I don’t have time to write as often, so I’ll compose a list of what we did that day and will reflect on the trip as a whole once I get back home and have some time. Bullet Journaling is also a fun new way to journal! I like this video describing how to do it because there literally is no right way – it’s all on your own terms.
One word, one sentence one paragraph, one page…anything you write is enough. Sometimes I just write down a funny thing I observed or an idea I had during the day. An “official” journal entry doesn’t have to be lengthy. It doesn’t even have to contain words! Try doodling or pasting pictures of moments you want to remember. This also applies to how often you journal. Don’t get discouraged if it’s not every day, every week, or even every month. If this is a lifelong habit you want to keep it’s okay to have space between entries. I’ve gone months in-between penning entries before and started back up again when I had the urge journal.
On the other side of the spectrum…have at it! Sometimes I’ll write a sentence in the morning and then return later in the day to jot another one down. Write when you feel like it and when you need to.
Sometimes when I journal I go through several versions in my head before getting it all out. But sometimes I just need to sit down and purge. Remember, you don’t need to write an epic, you need to write what you need to write. If it doesn’t come out “perfectly” don’t sweat it!
Choose Your Medium
Maybe you prefer typing over handwriting or keeping a paper journal or a digital one. It doesn’t matter where you journal…even a Word document! I’ve been using Moleskine journals for years. I’ve become super particular about the requirements for my paper journal and it’s always fun hunting for the next one….although it usually ends up being another Moleskine 😛
This is my very first journal! There are some hilarious entires beneath the pink hearts and button snap closure.
Do you journal? Are you going to try? Tell me your journaling tips and tricks!