Dear dumb diary, I always thought that journaling had to be some kind of documentation of my inner monologue that I’d read again one day and cringe with embarrassment. Turns out it doesn’t have to be like that. Journaling can be anything you want it to be. It can be emotional, creative, therapeutic, expression and so much more.
It can be visually pleasing, literary or funny. Journaling is a great way to get all those thoughts swirling endlessly around your head out and down on paper, a way to clarify and solidify what you’re feeling. If you’re looking for an outlet, journaling might be right for you, so I sat down to give you all the steps a beginner might need.
Find A Journal You Love
The first thing you have to do is find a journal you really love. Something that’ll make you want to sit down and use because it’s so pretty or feels so great in your hands. Something small enough to carry around with you for those moments when inspiration strikes, for the days sitting in the park or at the library. Leather bound, fabric-covered, paisley, Harry Potter-themed, whatever floats your boat.
Don’t Force It
You don’t have to write or draw everyday. Journaling is supposed to set you free so try not to force yourself to adhere to a schedule. Write when you feel like it. If something is bothering you and you’re not ready to talk to anyone about it, consider journaling about it. Had a bad day? Journal. Had a good day? Journal or don’t. Go with whatever you’re feeling and remember that it’s there for you when you need it.
Get Out Of Your Head
It’s hard not to feel silly at first. I remember feeling about ten years old when I started journaling last year and figured my writing probably sounded that amature too. But who cares? Your journal isn’t your next masterpiece. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have good writing too. Set yourself free. Your journal is the one place you won’t be judged for whatever you say by anyone else so make sure you aren’t judging yourself as well.
Try Out New Things
A good way to keep journaling interesting and to stoke your creative flame is to use it as a place to experiment. Try writing some verses of a song or a poem. Write some flash fiction that isn’t but somehow is about your life. Illustrate your entries with doodles or full-blown sketches. Incorporate color. Buy some sparkly gel pens and use those for a week. Leave a page you come back to at the end of every month to reflect on what you learned.
Use It To Hoard Memories
I’m a memory hoarder. It’s why I have 3,000 pictures on my phone, half of which are useless. Your journal can be a great place to store memories. If something happens that you know you’ll want to remember, write a quick entry about how you’re feeling in that moment. When you go back and read it, it can have the power to take you right back to where you were when you wrote it. It’s impactful and nostalgic and one of my favorite parts about journaling. It can be a guide to your own personal growth. And it doesn’t just have to be writing. Take all those movie stubs and concert tickets and receipts you’ve been saving and glue them right in too! Oh, and don’t forget to date your entries so you know exactly when they happened.