I’ve always written in a journal, for as long as I can remember. It was never a constant practice, but it was there when I needed it. If I wanted to doodle, if I wanted to keep track of all my summer adventures, or in moments of stress or crisis; I could vent without the pressure of judgement or somebody telling me how to solve my problems.
When it comes to keeping a journal, I’ve recognized a pattern in my behaviour that I’m sure is familiar for many; I found that I would start writing for a while, get what I needed out of it and discontinue. This would go on for weeks at a time before picking it back up again, always followed by the feeling of “damn, why don’t I do this more often!?”
In fact, I have a whole collection of half-finished journals, tossed aside for another day (or year) but that’s OK! What I’ve realized about keeping a journal is that it doesn’t have to be modelled after anyone else’s behaviour, habits or writing style-there are no rules, you literally cannot fuck this one up.
However, there are some great practices out there if you want to write more often, more thoughtfully or to create a more defined purpose to your writing. Here are some tips that I’ve learned along the way:
Emotional dumping, or offloading can be useful if you’re going through hard times, but I’d avoid letting this be your ONLY means of journaling. I find this type of writing leaves me with a heavy, dull feeling afterward. Imagine looking back on your life and only having a record of all the shit you’ve put up with? In the name of balance, throw some humour in there too.
Keep it Simple
Writing daily doesn’t have to be your life’s great work. Simply noticing feelings or thoughts that come up throughout the day is all you need to maintain a clear head. Author and podcast Host, Timothy Ferriss talks about “caging his monkey mind” in this article on keeping a daily journal. I would highly recommend a puruse through his website!
Choose a Theme
It can be helpful to choose a theme to come back to again and again. Many people keep a Gratitude journal which can be a great tool to invite more focus and positivity into your day. I was gifted The 5 Minute Journal for christmas this year and LOVE how simple and easy it is to use daily. It combines the aspects of a gratitude journal, goal setting, and the use of positive affirmation, all wrapped up in a cute little bundle.
Speaking of cute…
Buy a Beautiful Journal
This a book where you CAN judge its cover. Simply put, if you love the way it looks and how the cover feels in your hands you will be more likely to want to use it daily. Treat yourself to something special, and pair it with a nice
glass of wine cup of tea.
Artistic? Try Doodling or Sketching
Again- no rules. Draw to your hearts content and see how it makes you feel, notice what (if anything) comes up throughout the process.
Use Inspiring Quotes
Who says journalling content has to be original ? If you’ve read or heard something that resonates with you- write that shit down! Come back to it when you need a pick-me-up or want to feel inspired.
Create a Space to Write
whether you set aside 20 minutes on a daily basis, or sit down once a month, make this time for YOURSELF. Light a candle, wrap up in a blanket, play some music, meditate- DO YOU.