Not often, and not very well, but I thought I’d share my six journaling “rules”.
1. Don’t worry about the content: My entries are hideously boring. Most of them read something like this: “Didn’t do much today. Wasted time on the computer. Hoping to do more tomorrow.” I use my journal as a place to vent and record whatever my thoughts are at the moment. Most of my thoughts aren’t exactly groundbreaking.
2. Make journaling every day (or twice a week or once a month or whenever) a goal, and stick to it: Right now, I’m trying to write in my journal every day. I slacked off for quite a bit this summer, so now I’m making up for lost time. Different people do it different ways, but if I don’t set myself specific goals, I’ll never get around to doing it.
3. Find a good pen: It makes all the difference! And by good, I mean a pen you like, not a super-fancy, super-expensive fountain pen (unless that’s what you like…). I’ve used ballpoints, markers, and even colored pencils.
4. Keep your old journals: And read back over them every once in a while. Mine still make me cringe, but it’s fun to see how far you’ve come.
5. Decorate your journal: I didn’t used to do this, since my artistic skills are pretty much limited to drooling over other peoples’ work. I sometimes doodle in my journals, but more recently I’ve been raiding old magazines for pictures to tape to the pages. My current journal is much more colorful than my others, and I’m always more excited to write in it.
6. Don’t worry about writing something stupid: The most important rule, no question. About 50% of what I write now will probably sound incredibly stupid a few months (or a few days) later. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth writing. Journaling is about capturing the moment, whether it sounds good or not.