In my last post, I talked about the 6 different journals I keep and why. Today, I hope to nudge you in the direction of starting one of your own 🙂
So, here are some tips to help you start a journal…and actually keep it.
Before you write…
1) Buy a journal that appeals to you.
There’s just something about a classy, personalized journal that makes writing so inviting.
A simple leather journal may satisfy you just fine…or maybe viivid colors and artsy pages are your style.
Either way, make sure to purchase a journal that fits your personality. After all, the book will be filled with your thoughts!
2) Designate a place of storage.
One of my best friends has curious little siblings and a paper-loving cat (not many books survive his brutal treatment), so journals aren’t super safe in her house.
If you face similar problems (and even if you don’t), make sure to designate a safe and private place to store your journal.
I keep mine in the drawer of my nightstand so it’s easily accessible to me, but I know not everyone can afford that luxury. Here’s to all of you with cats and little ones in the home! 😉
–> Tip: Kindly explain to everyone in your house that your journal is personal, and you don’t want it read. It shouldn’t be a problem if others are willing to respect your privacy. This way, you can write with confidence.
3) Schedule journaling into your week.
Like any new habit, journaling can be a tough one to establish.
Too often we underestimate the time we have, and fail to accomplish everything we want. Truth remains that there are 24 hours in a day, and you can tackle any task you set your mind to! Careful planning is the key.
So, when sketching out your week, pencil in a time to write in your journal. (Point #7 shows you how you can do this).
You may even want to use a reminders app or alarm to help you remember 🙂
4) Put away distractions.
If writing isn’t your forte, then chances are, distractions are readily available for your personal convenience.
In other words: Put away the phone, laptop, TV show…whatever it may be…and focus on the task at hand.
I hate to say it, but journaling will ( probably) feel like a task when you’re starting out.
Grab your pen…
5) Make lists.
No need to dive into full-blown entries right away!
Sometimes it’s best to work through a “planning stage”–brainstorming ideas, in this case– before you jump into drafting.
Before you let blank pages overwhelm you, grab a few sticky notes and scribble down a list of things you’d like to write about. It doesn’t have to be organized or pretty. Just a list. Maybe like this one:
6) Use writing prompts.
If you are absolutely clueless as to what to write, writing promps can be a great help.
Google offers tons of writing prompts/suggestions worth looking into.
My best friend bought me a nifty book called “300 Writing Prompts” for my last birthday, and it’s a fabulous tool!
If you struggle to get your creative juices flowing, this journal would be a great one to have. It’s packed with thought-provoking questions and entry ideas 🙂
Now that your creative juices are flowing, string the items from your list (or from a list of writing prompts) together, into cohesive thoughts and paragraphs. And voo-a-lah! You’ve got an entry! Sure, it’s a little rough, but that’s why we practice. You’ll never sharpen the skill if you don’t practice. LOTS.
[Once you’ve established a journaling habit, you’ll be able to ditch the lists and planning stage. These are just good nudges to help you get moving.]
7) Set goals.
Play a game with yourself by setting goals!
Week one: write 6 days/five minutes per day (equivalent of about half a page).
Week two: Write three days/7 minutes per day
Week three: Write two days/15 minutes per day
By the end of the three weeks, you should have about 15 pages written.
Continue setting goals for the next three weeks, aiming to beat your page count from previous weeks.
Keep setting little goals until you reach the ultimate goal: Completing one journal.
Who knows? You may not wanna stop after journal #1 😉
8) Refer to old entries as a guide for constructing new ones.
Now that you’ve struggled through a few pages, you can start sorting out what you do and don’t want to include in your journal. Let your past entries be a guide for new ones!
You can ask yourself questions like…
- “What is my favorite thing about this entry? What elements did I include that I could use in the future?”
- “What was unnecessary about this entry? Is there information here that I won’t care about later?”
…And so on.
You’ll probably have a lot of jumbled and unnecessary information in early entries, and that’s just fine!
The point is to learn and keep trying. With enough practice, you’ll come to know exactly what you want write down and save for later.
9) Make it precious.
Alright, so you’re past the awkward beginnings. Your jaw is finally relaxed (after the teeth-grinding that took place over the first few weeks) and you’re subconsciously planning new entries as you go about your day 🙂
Now it’s time to make that journal worth something.
It takes a while to get used to pasting your heart on paper. Brutal honesty can be a hard thing to practice, and, at first, it triggers discomfort. But I promise the uneasiness goes away eventually, and that book will soon become your closest friend.
Open up your heart as you open your journal.
Collect everything. The sweet moments, funny memories, all the stomach-butterflies…The regrets, the trials, and gracious lessons from God.
Let your journal hold the greatest adventures.
Make it your haven.
10) Do it heartily.
Journaling isn’t always be easy. And you may find that after completing your first one, you don’t wanna keep on.
Just remember, that while you’re trying, try hard. Remember to be creative and diligent, for the glory of God.
He says to honor Him in everything we do. And that means even in journaling.
So, unusual as it seems, do this for Jesus. Please Him with your words, and seek to honor Him through the lessons you’ve learned during this experiment.
Let the glory of God be your ultimate goal. ❤
So,will you give it a go? I hope so!
Let’s talk in the comments a bit, shall we? 🙂