A journal and a pen

How To Start A Journal + 10 Awesome Prompts

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.

2 journals on a fluffy blanket

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

Journal prompts are a great little tool to use if you’re looking to discover more about yourself or want to give your wellbeing a boost.

You can find some really nice notebooks in places like Waterstones and Etsy, and then all you need to do is choose a journal prompt and get writing.

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.

I’ve never actually tried bullet journaling myself, so I’ll leave it up to the lovely Lauren from bournemouth.com to show you how to do it:

This is her 2020 Bullet Journal Spread

And this is her May Bullet Journal Spread

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:

  • Notebook
  • Pen
  • 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 ♥

A pink 2019 diary

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.

Helpful tips

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
A pink journal on a fluffy blanket

Have fun

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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17 Replies to “How To Start A Journal + 10 Awesome Prompts”

    1. Anything that gets you writing and thinking is good, whatever way you choose to do it 😊💜

  1. There are so many ways to journal – there’s definitely something for everyone! I would love to start properly bullet journalling but I don’t have the patience or artistic flair! I usually just write down my daily thoughts. But I also have another notebook where I keep track of what I’ve watched, read and my money!

    1. Ah, I know what you mean. I’d love to start bullet journaling too, but I feel the same as you! I may give it a go next month and see how I get on.

  2. This is a lovely post! I used to have a traditional journal during school and switched to bullet journalling when I started college. One of my favourite things to do is look back on them all.

    1. Me too 😊 I must have started my first one when I was about 10! I’m so glad I kept them all.

  3. I think what I do is more of diary-ing! I have been able to journal in the sense of drawing fun charts, as mine always come out as single color doodles, but doing what you need to do is so important to finding how keeping a log of emotions works best for you. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing this!

  4. Great post! I didn’t realize there were so many ways to go about this! I think maybe the bullet journalling is right for me. I love to make lists and plan and keep track of things. Recently I’ve been trying a simple gratitude journal where I put three bullet points of things I’m grateful for each day. I also have a little journal I keep for my workouts each day. But I really like your idea of having prompts!

    1. I didnt think to add a gratitude journal to this! I may have to go back and add it in. I do love writing down some things I’m grateful for each day.

  5. Great suggestions! I’ve been meaning to start one but I’m always too picky and a bit of a ‘perfectionist.’ I can never settle for what I’ve written so I give up.
    I’ll have to give it another go and just forget about being perfect.

    1. Ah, don’t worry about being ‘perfect’. A journal is such a personal thing, and it’s whatever you want it to be. Having fun with it is the most important thing 😊

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