Journaling can be an interesting and obscure concept sometimes. For those of you who are novice or first time journalers I decided to lay out a small guide to get you started.
The best way to start journaling is just by doing it. Don’t put it off and don’t say that you are going to get around to it later because you probably won’t. Instead, just start now by setting aside fifteen minutes to kick back. Once you are ready to write grab your pen and paper because it is now time to decide what you want your first page of your journal to be. Most popular journal topics are about self reflection or processing your thoughts, being creative and writing something for fun or expression, or simply cataloging a to-do list. These are only some of the many things you can do. It really depends on what you want to write about.
If you are the kind of person that doesn’t know what you want to write that is fine too because sometimes when we have nothing in mind we can get our best journaling done that way. When you can’t think of anything in particular just start jotting down ideas as they come to mind. It doesn’t matter how weird, insane, or incoherent they are as long as you start filling up the page. With some luck hopefully you can begin stringing things together until you can create something meaningful.
A quick side point I also want to mention goes out to everyone who struggles to get over this initial hump: you are not alone and your situation is completely normal. As you begin to write more frequently you will notice that initial “writer’s block” begin to melt away. Consistent practice with the art of writing will help you be able to organize your thoughts much more efficiently as you put them down on paper. Believe it or not writing efficiency is useful as you can directly translate it to real life things such as a verbal speech and work e-mailing too.
Setting aside the skills that you can gain from writing it is good to stay in regular form regardless of the reason. You will notice your ideas become much more fluid when you can externalize your thoughts and put them on paper. So start with fifteen minutes a day and adjust as you need to. You may end up writing more on some days and less on others. If that is the case don’t feel bad if you aren’t hitting your mark every day. The main takeaway here is that you are making the effort to decompress, whatever that may be. If you find joy in planning out your day in a journal or if you like drawing pictures with funny captions that is all the same. The point is to create something that you can keep for yourself. It can hold your deepest darkest secrets or your calendar for the upcoming week. It doesn’t matter what it is. As long as you get enjoyment out of it at the end of the day that is all that matters when it comes to journaling.
Below is a summary of five tips I also recommend to help you get in the swing of things.
1. Journal for fifteen minutes a day if you can but don’t feel bad if you aren’t reaching that daily goal. Journaling is meant to be fun, not stressful.
2. The topic does not matter. If you have nothing in mind just start writing and see where it takes you.
3. Try to write without interruption. It will give your mind the most time to relax if you aren’t being disrupted while journaling.
4. Allow your mind to wander if it wants to. You may start writing in one place and end up in a completely different one. That is totally fine.
5. Let it be something that you can get excited for by creating a personal routine around it. I know some people who enjoy throwing on some music and a cup of coffee every time they journal as they sit on their favorite couch. The idea is to allow yourself to get comfortable and excited for journaling.