How To Start Journaling: Beginner’s Guide, (5 Valuable Tips)

close up photo of notebook with pen

“Journaling is paying attention to the inside, for the purpose of living well on the outside”

– Lee Wise

Journalling. Ah. There’s peace in knowing, one day, your words could be read by millions.

But at the same time, frightening.

In these pages are the words of your soul, whispers that we ourselves are not aware of.

Until they are alive on paper.

The feeling of running your hand over the crisp paper, knowing it’ll hold your deepest secrets.

Paper just waiting for words to fill it up. To have the souls of humans be poured on it, in the formation of words.

It’s a magical thing. In all honesty, there’s no right way to do it. But sometimes, all we really need is a guide.

And if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.

Backstory

A little bit about my journaling history…

I’ve been doing it for about 6 years now.

And I’ll admit, the first 2 years, it was more of a weekly to a bi-monthly basis. Even now I barely have time to journal every day.

Journaling is different for everyone. I personally do it, if something big happened in my life, or a milestone I don’t want to forget.

I love going through my old journals, and seeing how much I’ve grown since the last year.

Earlier this week, I looked at journal entries from March 2020 and realized what a different mindset I had back then.

Quarantine has really shaped me into a different person.

Journaling is all about growth. Understanding that change can be good for us. Because sometimes it happens when we need it the most.

What materials do I need for journaling?

Journaling seems daunting to many. But all you need is a good writing tool. Pen or pencil. Marker or crayon. Color pencil or sharpie. It’s your journal.

And of course, a journal.

You can’t exactly journal without a… journal.

Well, until your journalling digitally, which is a whole different topic.

But any notebook or journal will do. Your local Dollar Tree, Walmart, Michael’s, etc, should carry them. Amazon will too.

A quiet space is suggested, you can’t articulate your thoughts if they’re being interrupted. Find a cozy corner, or snuggle up in your bed.

Put on some lofi beats and just write.

P.S. A cup of coffee or tea would be nice too.

How do I start?

You open it up and unleash your thoughts.

Simple as that.

Although, I would write your name on the front page, and the date you began your journal.

Here a few tips & concepts/ideas:

  • Date every entry(you’ll thank yourself for it in the future.)
  • If it feels awkward writing to yourself, address someone in each entry(more on this later)
  • Title it, so when you want a specific entry, you’ll find it faster.
  • An index is always helpful.
  • Number your pages.
  • Draw doodles, or change up the colors to sPiCe it up.
  • Sign each entry at the bottom.
  • Do bullet points if you’re low on time.

I hope these are helpful!

Regarding the second tip, I find it uncomfortable just writing about myself to myself. This probably sounds really odd, but I find comfort in writing “Dear x,” before every entry.

Perhaps, because x is an unknown variable and can be used in place for just about anything. Who knows.

What do I write about?

Journaling includes a wide variety of things.

Such as self-care tips, life milestones, reflection, inspiring quotes, special events, and moments.

Hardships, gratitude, dreams, fears, time capsule entries(I love doing these), write letters, etc.

The possibilities are pretty much endless.

Imagine picking up this journal in a decade, and going over all the memories. Reliving all those moments and relishing the good old days.

Reading which moments changed you, and others you regret. Fears you overcame, and feelings that possessed you at the time.

It’s you on paper.

How’s that going to look?

What happens if I stop journaling?

It’s okay if this happens! It’s happened to me a ton of times. But the key is to bounce back(key to anything in life : ) and continue writing.

Don’t give up on your journal. You may have forgotten for a month, but do you want a longer gap?

Time will pass, either way, how are you going to use it?

However, if you’re having trouble remembering, set alarms or reminders. Write it in your planner and/or calendar.

Keep your journal in a spot, which you’ll always pass by, so your remember.

I don’t have any time!

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.”

― Lao Tzu

This is partly true. Sometimes we don’t have a choice in who creates it.

A project that took longer than expected. A messed up cooking session. A sudden disaster. All of these can lead your time astray.

So try doing quick journal entries(typing would be faster ?‍), or bullet points that encompass your day.

Fit these journal entries in various parts of your day. When you’re in the bathroom or standing in line. Waiting for class to start, or on the ride home(provided you’re not the one at the wheel).

On the other hand, I understand that you’re journal is private. And writing in public is doing quite the contrary.

Until you want a diary with a tiny lock, like the one you had in elementary school. You’ll have to write at home.

It’s always an option, however, to journal online, and password-protect it. Evernote is a great option since you can always lock your notes.

Conclude

Journaling is a wonderful habit to develop. Not only is it a good form of therapy, but a great way to remind the future self, everything’s going to be alright.

A message from the past. And now you decide what that message will be.

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It’s hard to start journalling when there’s os much information online, thank you for simpling it up!

alina
3 months ago

love this post sejal!

Tammy
8 months ago

This is so useful, thank you!

Loren
Loren
8 months ago

I wanted to get back into Journaling and this is a great intro, ty!

Lauren
1 year ago

This is a great detailed post about journalling and people who are wanting to start journalling. I love journalling. I kept a diary as a kid on and off and I am wanting to start a journal this year again. I gave up last year with everything happening.

Jessica Khater
1 year ago

I have tried journaling when I was younger and I have always been ashamed of my thoughts. Maybe because it is not in our culture, but I will give it it try once again using yout tips.

Meredith Dent
1 year ago

This is such a great post! I tried journaling out a few years ago, loved it, but fell out of the habit. Feeling kind of inspired to try again!

Abayomi Ayo-Kayode
1 year ago

I love the idea of journalling, I started keeping up with diary mid last year, but stopped, maybe it’s time to revisit. Thanks for the tips.

Lyla Stone
1 year ago

I used to keep really long diaries, and then suddenly stopped. I’m a dreadful over thinker at the best of times! Perhaps need to start again 🙂

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