How To Start A Journal | A Beginners Guide
Let me just start by saying that I love journals ♥ Journaling has been one of my favourite things to do ever since I was little. Writing in a journal in the evening is kind of like ‘catching up with yourself’ you know? It has so many benefits and can be a great way to end the day.
So, if you’re wondering how to start a journal, read on. I’ve even added some journal prompts to get you started.
How to start a journal
Did you know that journaling, as well as being a space to write about your day, is actually a great little self care technique that you can easily fit into your daily routine? All you need is a notebook and a pen and you’re good to go.
Journaling is so easy, that you can do it just about anywhere, and at any time.
The main benefit of journaling is that it can help you to clear your mind and to make sense of your thoughts and feelings, and let’s face it, we all need a bit of help with that at times, don’t we?
It can also be used to record all those awesome (or not so awesome) memories from the past and even to make plans for the future. You can use it to have a moan, or you can use it to make yourself smile, it’s basically whatever you want it to be.
There are no hard and fast rules for journaling, which makes it incredibly easy to get started with.
A diary or a journal
Now that we know what journaling is, let’s have a look at the different types of journaling that you can experiment with.
Before you start, have a think about what you would like to gain from journaling. Do you want somewhere where you can write about all the little things that happen during your day, or do you want somewhere where you can write about your memories, thoughts, and feelings more in-depth
How to start a journal – Diary entries
If day to day memories are your goal, then a traditional diary with the date on each page would be good for you so that you can write out the classic Dear Diary entries.
Think about how much you’re likely to be writing, and choose a diary size that will fit your needs. I always tend to go for A5 which seems to be perfect for me. Some days I fill up the page, some days I just write a few lines, and some days I don’t write anything at all. I basically just go with the flow and see how I feel on the day.
Keeping a diary isn’t for everyone, but I find it to be the best type of journaling for me. I love sitting down in the evening with a glass of wine and reflecting on my day. It helps me to make sense of everything that’s happened.
One of the amazing things about keeping a diary over another type of journal is that you capture memories, thoughts, and feelings that you otherwise would have forgotten about.
Reading through old diaries years later can be such a great experience. Trust me, you’ll read that stuff that will make you laugh, cry, and even cringe with embarrassment.
If you’re interested in seeing the power of diaries yourself, have a look at these two classics. They’re beautifully written, and take you right back to where the writer was at the time. They’re well worth a read:
The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals – Dorothy Wordsworth
The Diary of Samuel Pepys – Samuel Pepys
How to start a journal – Journal prompts
Have a search on Pinterest for some ideas and choose one which resonates with you.
After having a look myself, one that stood out to me at the moment is ‘what are 7 things that I am really good at‘ from ellduclos.blog.
When you’re using journal prompts, all you do is grab your favourite notebook, write the prompt at the top of the page and then write down whatever comes into your head on that subject.
It’s a great way to discover things about yourself that you might not have known before, and it can really make you think about things in a different light.
How to start a journal – Bullet journaling
A bullet journal is basically a planner for keeping track of your life!
If you’re a bit of an artist (not essential), and you love drawing, colouring, funky pens, stickers, and all that sort of stuff, then you’ll love bullet journaling.
A bullet journal can be used for so many things. You can keep track of your goals, you can keep lists of books you want to read or movies you want to see, you can record memories, and you can even use it to keep track of finances and bills.
They look both look so pretty and artistic, and I love the honeycomb/bee theme on the May spread. I need to try something like this soon.
How to start a journal – Ready-made
If you’re thinking that the above seems a little bit too much like hard work, and, to be honest, you don’t even know where to start, then why not pick up a ready-made journal?
There are loads of journals out there that are set up and ready to be written in. From travel journals to daily journals, you’ll never be short of something to write about. Take a look at these ones I found below:
Mrs Hinch: The Activity Journal – Activity journal
Travelogue – Travel journal
Q and A A Day – Journal prompt style
Becoming: A Guided Journal For Discovering Your Voice – Journal prompt style by Michelle Obama
What you will need to start a journal
To start your journey into journaling make sure you have at least some of the below depending on what type of journal you’re going to be doing:
- Coloured pens
- Journal prompts
- A quiet space if you don’t want distractions
- Enough time to make a start without feeling rushed
When should you journal?
Journaling can be beneficial at any time of the day, but for me, I’ve found that the best time is in the evening before I go to bed.
You’re likely to be more relaxed and have more time to sit down and write. And when you write last thing at night, you help to clear your mind, which in turn helps you to drift off to sleep easier.
If you take the time each evening to sit down and write for a little while, it can quickly become a habit that you’ll start to look forward to. Even 5-10 minutes a day can be really beneficial.
Give it a try for a week and see how you get on ♥
10 prompts to help you get started
- Who was your favourite teacher at school and why?
- What is your earliest childhood memory?
- Write about 5 things that you’re grateful for in your life right now
- What is your best feature and why?
- Write about your ideal house – what would it have in it and what would it look like
- Which country would you love to visit and why?
- What do you hope to achieve this year?
- Who are your 5 dream dinner party guests?
- Who do you look up to in your life?
- Write about the best holiday you’ve been on – where did you go and what made it amazing?
You can also decorate the page with little pictures, fancy fonts, or use different coloured pens to really get those creative juices flowing.
A few things to remember if you’re a bit stuck:
- Go at your own pace. Write as much or as little as you want
- Start with an easy prompt and work up from there, so that you get used to writing
- Keep a note on your phone of things that happen during the day, and put them in your diary/journal when you get home
- Keep your journal beside your bed. That way, if you can’t sleep, or you wake up in the night with things on your mind, you can always do some writing
The most important thing with journaling is to have fun with it and use it to your advantage. If something is bothering you, then write it down, you’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel afterward. There’s no right or wrong way to write in a journal, it’s your journal, and it’s totally up to you how you use it.
♥ Happy Journaling ♥
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