Five Steps on How to Start Journaling!
In this post I want to provide you with five steps on how to start journaling. I’ve journaled off and on all of my life. I remember the first diary I ever received. It was a small Brown diary with golden gilded pages and lock and key. It was a gift from my parents for my 5th Birthday. Most likely it was the start of my obsession with all things stationary. I’ve gone through longs periods where I’ve journaled quite heavily, and other periods where I didn’t at all. Either I felt like I didn’t have enough time or my entries were super quick and precise.
But I know that whenever I’m consistently journaling, however that may be, I feel more like myself. I can look back and see how my style, writing, and thoughts have grown. It can be quite cathartic and therapeutic. For an introvert like myself, journaling can be a saving grace. A private place to go to to dump all of your feelings good, bad, or ugly. It will not scrutinize or judge you and it will reveal to you your own thoughts. It’s also a great place for those who don’t feel comfortable laying their burdens on friends and family.
Many people have the misconception that journaling is a difficult activity to get into. Though the thought of pouring yourself out onto paper can seem daunting, I’m here to assure you that journaling can be a fun and creative process. It will set you free and assist in allowing you to grow into the person you always envisioned yourself being.
Step One on How to Start Journaling: Decide on Your Focus
What is your goal in wanting to start a journal? What do you hope to accomplish with your journal? There are many ways to journal and you should decide what kind(s) of journaling is best for you. Is your goal to be creative and have fun or have a record of your thoughts? Do you want to keep track of your goals and growth, show gratitude, or record your dreams? These are just a few things to consider because one should have in mind a goal they want to accomplish with their journaling. It doesn’t have to be anything difficult or over complicated. It can be as simple as, I want to have fun or track my personal growth from year to year. Journaling is a great way to keep memories, analyze thoughts, set and complete goals, and keep a record of artwork. So ask yourself what is it you want to accomplish when you journal?
Step Two on How to Start Journaling: Pick a Journal
This is simple enough. Pick a journal/diary/notebook that speaks to you. It can be as fancy or as plain as you want it to be. Pick a journal that represents you and your personality. When you look at it you want to want to write in it. You can even write in a plain composition book or decorate it to your liking. Believe me when I say there are a myriad of choices out there that will fit your personality and needs. Try out different types of paper and decide what you like. For instance do you like wide ruled paper or college ruled? Or would you prefer dot grid or grid? Currently I’m using an A6 Midori Grid notebook.
Consider the weight of the paper. If you plan on doing some art journaling with watercolors or paints, you may consider a journal with a heavier weight. You want something that will absorb those mediums without warping your paper. If you want to try a few different types of journaling, then choose a book that can be split into sections. Or choose a different notebook for each type of journal. It is completely up to you. I’ve found beautiful, reasonably priced, journals at places like Ross, T.J. Maxx, Home Goods, and Marshalls. Tuesday Morning also has a great selection. Of course these are not the only places you can get a beautiful journal. Figure out what will best fit your needs and budget and go for it!
Step Three on How to Start Journaling: Choose a Writing Utensil
Also simple, but NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING beats a good pen that writes nice and smooth. And thankfully you don’t have to break the bank buying one. Most people already have pens they love writing with around their homes or at their workplace. I’ve even gotten nice writing pens from the Dollar Tree. My favorite’s happen to be the Pentel Energels or the Pilot G2 pens. But whether gel pen or ballpoint, pick something you love to write with. If you’re into writing in color, almost every brand of pen offers them in a myriad of colors.
Step Four on How to Start Journaling: Start Small
I feel many people have great intentions when they begin journaling. But when you create lofty goals this can cause you to end up giving up or being really inconsistent. Sometimes you just need to start small and slowly build up to what you want to accomplish. I liken it to meditation, which, when you’re in the flow of journaling or creating is basically another form of meditation. I tried jumping right into meditation and going for about thirty minutes. While I am sure there are some people in this world that can do that, I’m not one of them. As someone who lives in their head, trying to quiet my mind and focus for that length of time didn’t work for me. So I decided to start small with five minutes. Soon I got used to the five minutes and wanted to go longer. So I increased my time to seven minutes. Eventually I was ready to go beyond that. As of now I’ve worked my way up to 20 minutes a session and I love it!
For those just beginning to journal, I suggest this method of starting. Do a little bit at first, even if it means only starting with one sentence. As you get used to it and become more aware of your own wants and needs as it pertains to journaling, work your way up. This may help in those wanting to begin journaling to actually stick with it. It will help you to journal on a more consistent basis without it feeling like a chore.
Step Five on How to Start Journaling: Just Start!
This is the most important step of them all! You’ve decided how you want to journal, picked out your notebook and pen(cil), now it’s time to start! Just write or draw if that is the kind of journaling you want to do. Remember there is nobody there to judge you but yourself. Your thoughts and feelings are your own and everybody is entitled to theirs. Your journal is not there to pick you apart! It is merely a vehicle for self discovery. It allows you to let go of your feelings and emotions that you don’t necessarily want to express to others. So crack open that notebook and put pen to paper, and watch yourself grow and change into the person you want to be.
Bonus Tips on How to Start Journaling!
Take the Pressure Off!
The most important thing to remember about journaling is THERE ARE NO RULES! Though it is a great goal to try and journal each day, don’t pressure yourself to stick to any strict journaling routine. Life happens and you don’t want something that is supposed to be an outlet to become something you dread. I remember when I started a Fauxbonichi journal a few years ago. I used the MiquelRius Grid Notebook from Barnes and Noble. I’d dedicated myself to completing an entry every day but as you can imagine that didn’t work out. I found myself playing catch up often and eventually it became more of a chore than a fun and creative outlet for me.
In my journal this year, I decided I would create layouts when there was something I really wanted to remember. Or when inspiration struck and I was just feeling creative. Now that I have taken the pressure off of myself, I enjoy it so much more. I actually look forward to pulling my journal out and creating my own personal magic within the pages. So journal HOW you feel like it, and WHEN you feel like it. Remember what you wanted to accomplish in starting a journal in the first place. There is no right or wrong way to journal, only a right way for you! If you find there is a memory you want to journal but aren’t feeling it in the moment, write a quick note on a sticky and get to it later.
Make it Your Own!
Experiment! When I decided to start a Fauxbonichi Journal it was because I was inspired by several online Fauxbonichi journalers. I tested different formats, art mediums, pens, etc. in my journals. After playing around with different things, I came to a point where I knew what I liked and didn’t like. I ended up developing my own journaling style. It is perfectly fine to draw inspiration from others. There are some amazing and talented people in the journaling community. But never doubt that you are just as amazing and talented as they are.
You have something inside you to offer the world. After some time in your journaling journey, you will begin to express that in a style you’ve developed of your own. Even if you started off trying techniques from others, you will eventually stumble onto your own unique expression. And consider that this is an ongoing journey. Your style will change and morph throughout the months and years and that is ok. We are beings who are continuously growing and learning. So there is no doubt that this will present itself in the way you journal. Go create something wonderful that makes you happy and don’t worry about anyone else. Make it all your own!