I’ve kept a journal for a while, and I love unloading my brain into my notebook at the end of the day. It gives me a chance to sort through some of the sticky parts, jot down ideas and feelings, and pretty much write about whatever is important to me that day.
There isn’t just one way to journal, but here are some tips to get you started.
Old school or new school?
Decide on how you want to capture your thoughts. Do you like using the word processor or diary apps on your iPad or laptop to journal digitally? Or do you prefer having a paper notebook or a lockable diary?
There are pros and cons to both: Notebooks are convenient to carry around and you can quickly write in them any time, but paper can get ripped or damaged. Computers and iPads need power and it’s more of a process to get your thoughts down but some people find typing faster so computers are easier (and password protectable!)
It doesn’t matter what you write about, you just have to write. Jot down event details, feelings, thoughts, inspirations, fears, and maybe even try some poetry or creative writing in there too. Or you can keep a journal to chronicle a trip or special occasion. Writing in a journal helps you remember things that happen, can be a great way to work through a problem and sort out your feelings, and it can kick start your creative juices.
Say NO to editing
Your journal isn’t being graded. Don’t worry about correcting spelling or punctuation mistakes and don’t focus on all those grammar rules from Language Arts class. And DO NOT worry about what anyone else would think. It’s not for anyone but you. Write honestly and let the ideas flow!
There are no rules!
Anything goes in journaling. Doodle and draw. Glue in pictures. Add mementos to celebrate an event. Try new things. Your journal is your safe place to experiment – go crazy!
Find a comfortable, private place to journal so you can settle in and write with no distractions. I usually set aside at least 15 minutes to devote to journaling every night.
Make it a habit
I try to journal at a set time and place every day. It has become a part of my daily routine. Daily is key. If you only write when you’re stressed or upset, it will seem like that’s all your life is. By writing every day, you start to realize that these crises are only a small part of your life, and that as tough as they are, they pass. You’ll see that there are lots of silly and positive stuff in there too!
So if you’ve ever thought about starting a journal, grab a pen and paper or your laptop and get going. Now is the very best time to start!