Keeping a journal can be much more than just documenting your life, it has been shown to be a greatly beneficial self-care practice. Studies show that as well as improving writing and communication skills, journaling can help to increase an individual’s confidence, inspiration, memory and imagination, along with working to reduce stress and anxiety.
So where to start?
Take a look at these tips and get ready to begin your journaling journey:
There are no rules
Let’s get this one out of the way. Your journal is yours to use however you wish to. There is no set way to format it, no specific time of you need to make entries, it doesn’t even need to be written on paper. You may want to have a browse of Instagram or Pinterest to see what others are doing with their journals for some inspiration. Ultimately, though, it’s whatever works for you – that’s the best way to journal.
It’s unlikely that your first entry will be historically regarded as one of the great pieces of literature. As such, you should have realistic expectations, with both the content of your entries and the length (especially if you were not much of a writer before journaling). As you’re starting out, you should set yourself small, achievable goals for each entry you write, slowly building as you grow in confidence and ability.
Schedule it into your day
This is by far the best way to ensure you are making time for your journaling. Though it would seem rational to only write when you are in the mood and feeling inspired, this isn’t sustainable. You should strive to make journaling a habit, and write even when you feel like you have nothing to write about – the inspiration will come.
To help with this, it can be useful to connect it to another habit in your daily routine. For example, try writing after you finish breakfast, or when you sit down to watch some Netflix in the evenings, try scribbling down a few lines just before you press play.
Keep it handy
Life is full of those short periods of time where we’re doing nothing. Whether you’re sitting on the train or waiting at a restaurant for a friend, the default activity seems to be scrolling through social media. However, these moments offer a great opportunity for you to do some journaling and jot down those thoughts.
Experiment with format
As we’ve said, there is no one way to journal. You may wish to experiment with how you present your entries (or even the actual content), exploring different avenues of journaling. Through doing this, you might find a style that you feel suits you better, or it might just be a fun shake-up to keep your entries feeling fresh.
It is inevitable that at some point writer’s block will strick and the well of inspiration will have run dry. An incredibly handy workaround to combat this is to keep a list of writing prompts in the back of your journal full of ideas you’ve saved for a rainy day. Pinterest is also an absolute treasure trove of these prompts along with mountains of other journaling ideas and inspiration, so you should definitely have a scroll and see what you find.
Hopefully, these tips have given you some guidance as you begin your dive into the world of journaling and will help you find inspiration to keep writing.