With a degree in Psychology I never thought my career would involve being a writer but over the years I have found so much joy and comfort in writing and I am proud to say that “I am a writer”! With that being said, recently I have found myself needing to write but for myself not for my website or brand. This has led me to the world of journaling and it has been quite therapeutic and enjoyable. Sometimes we feel the need to express ourselves in writing but we aren’t sure how to get started…using these tips on how to start journaling I am sure you will find comfort and joy just like I have.
9 Tips On How To Start Journaling
1. Put Away The Screen
We are so attached to our screens: TV, computer, phones, tablets and so many more. Instead of typing out your feelings and thoughts try putting away those screens and focus on the pen or pencil hitting the paper as you journal. Writing by hand also gives you a break from the screen, allowing your mind to unplug, especially if your work requires you to use a computer or phone all day. Think about how distracting those notifications are and how amazing it feels to unplug for a moment.
2. Find A Favorite Journal and Pen
To encourage yourself make sure you invest in a great journal or notebook. Find one you are comfortable writing in and don’t forget to pick up some of your favorite pens, markers or pencils. If you are like me I love going to the stationary section of a store to look at all of the pretty journals and paper. Finding a journal that you love will really help you stay motivated in your journaling.
3. Find Your Flow
I used to think that journaling had to be done a certain way. Starting with the date and moving forward with what you did for the day. Recently, I found my journaling flow. Instead of being worried about the structure of what I am writing I just write. This is also called Free Writing. This essentially means jotting down your stream of consciousness until you feel like stopping – just throw your random thoughts on the paper in the form of disjointed sentence fragments, bullet points, or crazy scribbles. Being able to turn off that internal editor is the challenge but once you do it you will find your flow.
4. Keep Your Journal With You
Just like my calendar I have found that it is important for me to have my journal near me. This helps me when I start feeling anxious, sad, upset or happy. I can quickly journal about what is going through my mind in that moment. My own little therapy session on paper. You never know when the need to journal will strike, so it’s safest to just carry your journal with you wherever you go.
5. Make Time
While I find myself writing randomly through out the day I do have days that get really busy. Those are the days that I have to make sure I make the time to write. 5-10 minutes is plenty of time and think about the benefits your body and mind are getting from unplugging for those minutes of journaling.
6. Journal Prompts
For some, a blank page is really intimidating. To get away from that fear of a blank page some find that using journal prompts help the flow begin. A journal prompt is just a question or topic that helps get your mind flowing. Since journaling from scratch is difficult for some people, prompts give you a starting point. Reflect and answer each question as honestly as possible. This exercise is guaranteed to bring to the forefront of your mind the causes of most of your problems and what to do about them.
Some journals even have some journal prompts in them to assist you. Otherwise you can google a few journal prompts to get your started.
7. Doodle and Create
Journaling is not always about writing words out on paper. Let your journal be a private place to experiment with different forms of expression. This space is for you. If you feel like drawing what you are thinking, do it. If you feel like creating a bookmark out of flowers in your journal, do it. Journaling is truly a creation no matter how you decide to get it out on paper.
8. Enjoy This Time
Journaling has a lot of great, anti-anxiety benefits, but only if you enjoy doing it. If journaling starts to feel like too much of a chore, take a break. Let your journaling time also be the time that you remember to take a few deep breaths and stretch. Get comfortable when you are journaling, consider this a break and part of your daily self-care.
9. Do it for YOU!
Treat your journal as a sacred object. If you want to share your journal, do it, it is your space and your creation. However, remember that this creation and project is YOURS. We are so used to sharing life updates on social media, or writing posts on a blog. Give yourself permission to keep your journal private. This will help you to write without thinking about who might read it. A journal isn’t a place for polished and edited work, it’s a place to vomit up all your worries, hardships, hopes and dreams after a long day interacting with other people.
Do you find yourself wanting to journal more? If so, what tips or advice would you give others to get started?
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