Keeping a journal can help you absorb your feelings, keep track of the good things that happen to you in life, and write more often. Buying journaling supplies that you like and use, setting a schedule that helps you commit to writing every day, and deciding what to write can help you start a journal.
Part 1 of 3: Shopping for Journal Supplies
Step 1. Decide what type of journal you want
There are many options for journaling (you don't need to limit yourself to the paper version). You can keep a traditional paper journal, but you can also use a website or blog that is private and has a password. You can also simply use a document on a computer.
- Notebooks give you full control and privacy, but you won't have the option to backup unless you make copies.
- Keep in mind that anything you store online is susceptible to hacking, so if your online journal has a password or is private, there is always a chance that someone might break in.
Step 2. Choose a paper journal
If you choose to keep a paper journal, you will need to purchase a journal. You can use any notebook as a journal, even something as simple as a subject spiral notebook or composition notebook. However, you can go for something more sophisticated and choose a leather notebook or a notebook with thicker, higher quality sheets.
- Some good options for paper journals include the "Leuchttturm 1917", Moleskin or Whitelines notebooks.
- Most stores have a notebook section. Search the shelves and see if something catches your eye. If you don't like the journal, chances are you won't write in it.
- To increase the security of a paper journal, you can buy one that has a lock. Just make sure you keep the key in a safe place.
Step 3. Buy the writing instruments
When it comes to the things you will use for journaling, you have a lot to choose from. You can use a regular pen or pencil, including those you might have around the house. You can also intersperse a bit with colored pens, fountain pens, and even colored pencils and markers. The more you enjoy the item you write with, the more likely you are to write regularly.
Part 2 of 3: Commit to Writing Every Day
Step 1. Create a schedule
If you want to make sure you write every day, schedule a specific time to write. You may want to write about the day before as soon as you get up in the morning. Perhaps writing in your journal at the end of the day is a good way to relax. When you write is not as important as making sure you write every day.
To help you stick to your writing schedule, you can use a smartphone, a watch, or your computer to set a reminder to write at the same time every day
Step 2. Set time limits for writing
Some days it will be difficult for you to find time to write and others you may have too much to say, which will make you feel like you need all day for this activity. Setting a time limit can give your writing structure and make it become a daily routine more easily. Start with ten to fifteen minutes a day. If you feel like you are always running out of time, you can increase the amount of time you spend writing.
Setting a timer can help you type within the time limit without having to look at your watch every so often
Step 3. Pick a place to write
Writing in the same location every day can help you stay committed to writing regularly. If you go to the same place every day to write, this measure will create a pattern and give your writing even more structure. It does not matter where you write (it can be in a cafeteria or in a room in your house) as long as you write in the same place.
Take things further. If you write at home, always sit on the same sofa or at the same table
Step 4. Don't give up if you lose your way
It can be easy to stop journaling if you put a lot of pressure on yourself. It's okay to skip a day or two occasionally. When you rewrite, just jot down short summaries of the days you didn't write.
Part 3 of 3: Deciding what to write
Step 1. Start with a quote or poem
Sitting in front of a new or blank journal can be a bit intimidating. If you feel blocked, start by writing one of your favorite quotes or poems. This will help you gain inspiration and also take the pressure off you to write the first journal entry.
You can also copy new quotes or poems as you go along
Step 2. Date entries
Be sure to date each entry you make in the journal. This can be useful if you are trying to remember when a specific event happened or if you simply want to know how your writing (and therefore your life) has evolved over time. How I date tickets is up to you.
- For a more elegant touch, write the full date, such as "July 14, 2020."
- If you want to keep things simple, go for a date like 2020-14-07 or 07/14/20.
- If you plan to keep several journals, one for each year, you can simply write 7/14.
Step 3. Mix the input formats
If you start journaling, don't feel like you have to stick to one particular type of journal entry. The journal should be a place where you can record your thoughts (and your thoughts can take different forms on different days). Try some of the following formats:
- traditional paragraph-like entries
- to do lists
Step 4. Write short entries
You don't need to write page after page every time you sit down to journal. A paragraph that summarizes the day is enough, especially when you are just starting to write.
However, you don't always have to write short posts. Sometimes you will have a lot to say about the day or something that happened in particular. It's okay to write long posts in those cases
Step 5. Try the same method if you are blocked
Some days you may have so much (or so little) on your mind that it's hard to know where to start. Try writing "Right now, I feel …" and just write the first thing that comes to mind. This can be a good way to start and can make words flow much easier later.
Search the Internet for the phrase "typing prompts." The Internet is an excellent resource for this kind of thing
Step 6. Write to other people
Sometimes you may wish you could say certain things to certain people. Maybe it's someone you can't talk to or don't talk to anymore, or maybe it's someone you don't see regularly. Maybe there are things you need to tell yourself. Using a journal entry to write to other people can provide the closure you seek and help you absorb your feelings.
If you're not sure how to start this type of post, just think about the format of a letter by putting the date and address of the person you are writing to at the top
Step 7. Write something you want to forget
This may seem illogical, but if you want to forget about an event, writing about it can help. Once you get it out of your head and put it on paper, your brain won't cling to the memory as much.
For example, imagine that something very embarrassing happened to you at school or at work. Writing down all the details helps you get them out of your head and can prevent you from reliving the event over and over again
Step 8. Record the things you are thankful for
A good way to contribute your daily entries is to make a list of the things you are thankful for on that day. It also helps to keep track of the good things in life.
They can be things as simple as "the sun is shining" or as detailed as a conversation you had with a friend
Step 9. Be open and honest
The best part of journaling is that you can be totally honest without worrying about being judged. You can write down your deepest fears and your biggest secrets without worrying about the journal telling someone else. If you feel like you need to edit yourself, then you will be less prone to journaling, so staying open is essential.
- If you have trouble getting ideas about what to write in the journal, you can read books like Dork Diaries or Greg's Diary. These books will provide you with wonderful ideas and inspiration for journaling.
- Do not tear the pages of the diary. You will regret it when you are older and want to see your journal.
- You don't need to always write in the journal. If you think you can better express your feelings through sketches, drawings or doodles, this is also valid.
- While it's fine to write in pencil, it can fade over time, so the ballpoint pen might be a better option.