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.
I'm sort of keeping a journal which I always forget to write in. Basically I write in it when I think of snappy and snarky things to say about my day. And I do it on my computer, since these thoughts come to me really erratically. It's not really a journal so much as a "Alyssa's Missed Opportunities To Snark At People." XDReplyDelete
The best thing about journals is that everyone who has them does it a little differently :) I love the idea of keeping track of all the snarky things you could have said, and keeping them on the computer is something I've never tried, but seems like it could be really convenient. Have you ever used any of those snappy lines in your writing?Delete
Oh, this is really cool—I've always wanted to keep a consistent journal, but no matter what way I approach it, my journals have always failed. This year I'm considering trying out the "bullet journal" method to stay productive/organized for school and life in general. I think these tips are golden! Great post as always.ReplyDelete
Thank you! I'm curious about bullet journaling myself. And my journaling attempts always failed for years and years until I had to fill a notebook as part of a school project. I think that experience taught me to just relax and let loose more than anything else, which is key for journaling.Delete
Journaling is so important to me! I definitely agree with #4 as a priority—you CAN'T throw away your old journals. No way. NOOOO WAY. I don't usually decorate my journal, but the rest are very much spot on. Finding something you like to write with, writing often, and writing freely are all crucial parts of my routine. :) Thanks for your thoughts, Alex!ReplyDelete
Sometimes I'm tempted to chuck old diaries in the trash--but I just bury them at the back of my closet instead. I love the Interview a Notebook series on your blog, and that absolutely shows the importance of keeping old notebooks. Thanks for commenting!Delete
Ah, how fun! For years when I was younger, I wrote in a journal pretty much every single day, even if (as you note) I had very little to say about my day. I have about eighteen diaries that span from when I was seven to seventeen, and there are several entries written in the nineteenth. (By that point, however, my journaling was completely sporadic--the latest two entries are dated March of this year, and the one before that, last August. ;) But anyway, I think it's cool that you're making it a goal to journal every day, and I wish you the best of luck with it! It's definitely tough to stick with it sometimes, but if it's your kind of thing it makes for a great way to keep track of your life. Plus it's interesting to flip back through and read what you wrote at different points in the past. Cringeworthy sometimes, of course, but interesting!ReplyDelete
It's so great that you have a collection of journals that goes that far back! I started journaling seriously only about three years ago, so I don't have as many, and I'm not sure whether I'm sad about this or not--as cringeworthy as some of them are, I can't imagine what it would be like if I'd started younger. Still, like you said, it's wonderful to have a record of your life.Delete
Welcome back, Taylor, and thanks for commenting!!
Hey, three years is pretty good, though! And just think, if you keep at it that number will only grow. :) As for my journals, I honestly think I find the more recent ones the most cringe-inducing; probably because I was closer to the person I am now when I wrote them, whereas entries from when I was seven or ten or twelve are a little bit more distant. Either way, though, I do like having those collections of thoughts! Gosh, you're making me want to start journaling again... ;)Delete
This is good advice. I've been writing in journals on and off since I was six. Most of them I've thrown away or burned because I got frustrated. :P I'm trying to get started back up again because even though journaling is kind of hard for me, I go crazy without it. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for the tips! I'll definitely be using these.
--Rebecca at The Silver Flute
I'm so glad you liked the post! Journaling can be hard, but like you said, I'd go crazy without it. :) Thanks for commenting!Delete
Pens are my absolute favorite part of journaling. And the notebook. I don't journal as much as I want to. It's something I do want to get into, but my hand cramps so easily and handwriting takes up SO MUCH TIME. Ugh. If I can write 100wpm on the computer, it's hard to switch to a snail's pace on paper. :pReplyDelete
But, someday I will keep up with journaling and I will be very happy about it. xD
It's hard to get used to handwriting after you've been typing for a long time :) Finding the perfect notebook is one of the highlights of journaling!Delete