Journaling is a great habit. It helps us unburden our thoughts. But, how to journal when you are just starting? How to journal when you’ve never done it before? How to journal when you have no experience? How to journal when you are a beginner?
Here is a complete guide to give you an idea of how to journal as a beginner.
A journal is a platform~ a notebook, a diary, or a digital portal where one can pen down thoughts, feelings, emotions, ideas, and opinions. A journal entry has no rules. You don’t necessarily need a paper journal.
One does not have to stay within the lines while working on a journal. A journal can be anything~ organized, messy, ruled, without lines, colorful, black and white, decorated, or plain.
What all can be done between the pages of a journal is limitless. One can draw. One can write. One can paste pictures. One can scribble. Anyone can do anything of their choice in a journal.
Developing a journaling habit proves to be very helpful in everyday life.
Journal writing is an art that heals us from within because it acts as a medium between our physical self and our soul. Writing and sketching feel cathartic when we get in the stream of consciousness.
Christina Baldwin has rightly said, “Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”
Journal writing has many mental health benefits. Developing a journaling habit can prove to be life-altering.
Benefits of Journaling
Journaling has many benefits. Once you start journaling, you discover a lot of positive outcomes.
- Journal writing leads to self-awareness. It brings us closer to our thoughts and thought processes.
- Journaling is a journey of self-discovery. It gives us a chance to spend time with ourselves and helps us get in touch with buried aspects of our personality.
- Journaling enhances our creative side. A journal is a perfect way to bring out our creativity because there are no rules.
- Journal writing has calming effects. It relaxes us from within and soothes our minds.
How to Start Journal Writing and Develop a Journaling Habit
Starting a journal might seem intimidating. But don’t worry, just find a beautiful notebook and start. Here are a few journaling tips on how to journal and maintain a journaling habit.
How to Journal: Tip No. 1
It may be overwhelming whenever you sit and think about journaling, but don’t overthink. As soon as you find the motivation to work on journal entries, don’t stop to think; just start writing or drawing, or scribbling.
Don’t let your negative thoughts get involved in the process.
You don’t need any journaling practice. Just start from scratch. Start by doing whatever you feel like. Grab your notebook or open the notes app on your phone and start doodling or jotting down everything that comes to your mind.
How to Journal: Tip No. 2
Decide the Kind of Journal You Wish to Maintain
As suggested earlier, too, maintaining a journal has no rules whatsoever. You can decide to do anything in a journal. There are many forms of journals that people hold. Choosing what kind of journal you want makes it easier to figure out how to journal.
Some of the most common journals maintained by people are:
A Diary Entry
A diary entry is like a letter quite often mentioned in the diary. In this letter, people talk about everything that has happened over time. People write down everything they loved or everything that made them sad during a period of time.
A Gratitude Journal
A gratitude journal is a journal wherein people write and draw about everything they are grateful and thankful for. Gratitude can be for big things and the tiniest of things. One might be thankful for a job or a promotion. One might be thankful for one’s family, friends, and pets. One might be thankful for anything and everything imaginable.
A Personal Journal
A personal journal is a journal where people write, plan, and sketch about their personal thoughts, goals, and personal growth. A personal journal is a space for penning down your expectations from yourself.
One writes or draws about what one is feeling after waking up in morning pages. These can be notes to self or a to-do list. One might feel really motivated on a particular day. One might feel lethargic on other days.
An Art Journal
An art journal is a powerful tool. It is like a scrapbook where one decides a theme and creates collages with pictures, sketches, and stickers.
A Q&A Journal
A Question & Answer Journal has a question for every day of the year. It is a guided journal. These journals often have space for several years, such that you come back to the same question after one year.
An Unsent Letter to Someone
This is an excellent way of expressing how you feel about a loved one. You can even write notes to yourself, your past self, your future self.
An All-in-one Journal
As the name suggests, an all-in-one journal is one where you can do anything you like with no conditions. You can write about your day or about anything you want. You can paste pictures or write about things you are grateful for. It is the most flexible journal because you have the freedom to let your hands flow.
A Journal in Any Way You Like
You can come up with your own ideas for a journal. Any statement that seems interesting to you can form the basis of your journal. It is purely in your hands to do whatever you want to in a journal.
How to journal: Tip No. 3
Journal regularly. Make journaling part of your daily routine. You don’t have to write pages after pages every day. Just make sure to be regular.
Journal at least once a week. Pour your heart out on a blank page.
You might experience writer’s block from time to time. It is natural and familiar. Just keep scribbling, drawing, and writing. Spare a few minutes from your schedule to spend some time with yourself. If possible, create a daily journal where you work every single day.
Set up a journaling routine or a writing routine. Don’t be very strict and harsh on yourself with it, but try to stick to it as much as possible.
How to Journal: Tip No. 4
Build a Peaceful and Calming Atmosphere
Sit in a peaceful, calming, comfortable, soothing, calm, and quiet space. Find a nook or corner with minimum noise and zero distractions.
Play some music of your choice. Light up a scented candle. Sit in a comfortable chair or sofa. If possible, sit near a window.
Sit with all the stationery you need, pens, pencils, colors, rulers, stickers, pictures, scissors, and everything else that you might need. Having to get up, again and again, to get things would disrupt your thoughts’ flow.
How to Journal: Tip No. 5
Look for Some Journaling Prompts
When you initially start journaling, you might find yourself out of good ideas.
Some good journal prompts to start with are:
- What is your biggest strength?
- When do you feel the most beautiful?
- What do you want to achieve?
- Who is your hero?
- What defines successful people?
How to Journal: Tip No. 6
Don’t Chase Perfection
American Author Julia Cameron, best known for her book/journal The Artist’s Way, has said, “Progress, not perfection is what we should be asking of ourselves.”
Don’t try to seek perfection in any form while journaling. Journaling is all about imperfections.
Fill up two to three pages every time you journal with the wrong ideas, thoughts, sketches, paintings, pictures, and words.
There is beauty, rawness, and purity in imperfections.
How to Journal: Tip No. 7
Be Raw and Honest
Whenever you journal, don’t filter out your thoughts. Jot down everything that comes up in your mind and heart.
Be as expressive of your ideas and thoughts as possible. Don’t hide any of your intense emotions.
Use the best possible symbolism while sketching. Don’t be afraid to put each and everything that you are thinking on paper.
Expressive writing is highly essential. While writing, use the most powerful words.
Be your most authentic self while journaling without thinking twice about anything at all.
How to Journal: Tip No. 8
Always Carry a Journal With Yourself
Carry a journal with yourself at all times. You never know when the impulse to write journal might strike you.
The entire journaling process becomes enhanced if we start writing or sketching to get inspiration.
Inspirations lie in every corner. You might feel the urge to journal when you see an old-age couple taking a walk in the park or when you see children playing or when it starts to rain, or when you see someone chasing a train.
Don’t let these inspirations go to waste. Fill in the sheets of your journal whenever you can.
How to Journal: Tip No. 9
Always Mention the Date of Any Journal Entry
It is very highly recommended to date the journal entries you make.
This way whenever you look back, you will become aware of what and how you were feeling on a particular day. You will see on which days you were feeling uninspired and on which days you were feeling pleased and excited.
How to Journal: Tip No. 10
Be Clear About Why You Wish to Journal
Having the answer to ‘Why you want to start journaling?’ can be very helpful.
There are uncountable reasons why one might want to start journaling. One might want to get in touch with one’s creative side. One might want to build a writing habit. One might want to journal to pause the everyday hassles of life.
How to Journal: Tip No. 11
Use Your Journal as a Stress Management Tool
All of us become busy with our lives as we grow up. We become more and more stressed with every passing day.
If we look around, thousands of things will seem stressful, career, job, health, finding love, not being able to spend time with our loved ones, and so on.
In times of stress, worries, and fears, it is essential to identify the cause.
Journaling helps us arrange a series of thoughts and allows us to make sense of every thought running through our heads.
Journaling can act as a great stress management tool. Whenever you are under a lot of stress, sit down, take out your journal, and scribble your thoughts.
How to Journal: Tip No. 12
Journal for Self-care
Taking care of our own selves is very important. Negativities surround us all around us. In that case, we need to be kind to our own selves, and we need to make sure that we are happy and that we take our of ourselves.
Is there a better way for self-care than penning and sketching down all our thoughts?
Journaling will help you unload all your thoughts, emotions, and feelings and will make you feel lighter.
How to Journal: Tip No. 13
Keep it Simple
When you journal, simply write, draw, paint and sketch.
Don’t make the entire process of journaling seem too hectic to yourself. Don’t treat journaling as a burden.
Remember, it is not something that you have to do necessarily, even when you don’t want to. There are no rules. You can journal the next day.
Keep it simple. Start with a basic pencil and just keep going where your ideas lead you.
How to Journal: Tip No. 14
Be Your Most Authentic and Real Self
Be who you indeed are with the words and sketches in your journal.
Talk about anything and everything in your journal. Talk about what you love without the fear of being judged. Talk about your opinions. Talk about your future plans.
Don’t try to be something you are not. Be genuine. Be real. Be authentic.
How to Journal: Tip No. 15
Develop Your Journaling Techniques
Everyone has a unique way of doing things. Ask ten different people to perform the same task with no instructions. Each person will adopt a different technique and style.
Similarly, journaling can be done through a lot of different techniques. Stick to the ones that match your preferences.
Some people prefer to sit with their journals for hours at length. Some people like to take breaks.
Some people like to be organized and keep their pages neat and clean. Some people want to fill in pages with lots and lots of elements.
Do whatever suits you best.
How to Journal: Tip No. 16
Start Small and Basic
Your first journal does not have to be extravagant or over the top.
You can maintain an essential pen-paper journal when you are just beginning to journal.
Work on easy ideas and prompts. Think of ideas that you feel most attached to and start journaling. It will be an excellent way to start because you will have a lot of thoughts to write about.
Don’t try to go out of your way to create a fancy journal entry. Stick to the basics, for starters.
How to Journal: Tip No. 17
When you journal, don’t put your thoughts in a cage. Let your thoughts wander.
Think creatively and out of the box. There is no need to think straight. Allow your thoughts to take control of your words and creations.
Being creative is one of the essential tips on how to journal. Let your creativity cover every single page of your journal.
How to Journal: Tip No. 18
Never Stop Journaling
Never stop journaling. Journal consistently.
Journal things that speak to you, that appeal to you. Write in your journal whatever you want to write. Draw in your journal whatever you want to draw. Sketch in your journal whatever you want to sketch.
Do things in your journal your way. Make it a daily habit.
Never stop journaling, and you will have the most fantastic journaling experience.
Keeping a journal is one of the good habits that you can teach and see instant changes in yourself and your life at large. Journaling will surely add a lot of sense of meaning and purpose to your daily life.
Refer to all the tips suggested above, and journaling will indeed become your relaxing activity.
A journal is a gift that you give yourself because when you flip through the pages of your journal after some time, you feel connected with your past self and realize how far you’ve come since then. You will be proud of yourself and how much you have grown individually.
When you journal, you preserve a part of yourself, and every time you revisit the pages of your journal, you get acquainted with a version of yourself that once existed and made you proud. Journaling truly is an art because it gives you the chance to explore your magic through your thoughts, words, sketches, portraits, and paintings.