Starting a Journal?

journal

So this post is not so much book-related as it is life-related. But it is something I would like to discuss with you guys…

The idea of journaling. 

Personally, I love the idea of journaling, but I have never managed to keep one going long-term. I have kept multiple journals for specific periods of time or moments in my life that I have felt needed recording. Mostly in a sort of self-therapeutic way. For example, I suffer with OCD, and for a long time a large struggle that came with this was hand-washing. I would wash my hands so obsessively – 40 or 50 times a day sometimes. I would wash my hands after touching a pen that belonged to someone else, or flicking a light-switch… (I won’t go into full details because this is a blog post in itself). I was advised by someone to keep a ‘hand-washing journal’. It basically entailed me recording moments of washing my hands: why I washed them, trying to recognise which of those times were necessary, and which were a product of irrational thought processes. After a while, I began to notice the distinction much more easily, and was able to really cut down on unnecessary hand-washing. It has now become something I think about a lot less. And so I stopped this journal, because it had served its time and had helped me to overcome that problem.

But I have recently been thinking about all of things that happen in life. Not necessarily exciting, loud, movie-worthy events, but the everyday struggles, triumphs and thoughts of being an adult at uni: thinking about jobs, relationships, the future. Of being an introvert in a big, noisy world and trying to find myself in amongst all of that. Because when I think of just how much I actually think… I could seriously write a book!

So I am finally going to give a long-term journal a go! Hopefully some of it might be blog-post worthy, but I am mostly doing it to provide an outlet for the thoughts in my busy brain that don’t always come out verbally. If it turns out to be something that is only for my time at uni, or an even shorter season in my life, I will be okay with that. But if it turns into a much longer record, that would be great too. I’m just looking forward to a bit of freedom and the ability to express my thoughts in the medium I can communicate in best!

Of course, the idea of actually starting a journal is quite daunting. You have the notebook, the pretty, colourful pens… and then you have to actually start to write something.

So I have been doing a bit of research into some tips on starting a journal, and have thought of a few motivations to (hopefully) help me to stick to it, and I thought I would share some of the ones I will be taking on board!

  • Write an introduction
    – My first entry is going to be an introduction about me: where I currently am in life, what my current hobbies and interests are, my plans for the future etc.
  • Write like no one else is going to see
    – Because no one has to see your entries! I think that by being as open with your feelings as you can, that will allow for so much more creativity and expression.
  • Decorate
    – I’m not the most artistic person, and I am certainly not going to expect masterpiece art or even good doodles. But pretty colours, photos and stickers (to name but a few) all help me to feel creative and expressive, so I am going to make sure to add more than just black ink on a white page!
  • Date your entry
    – I know that some people don’t like to date their journal, and just allow it to be a continued flow of thoughts and entries, but I know for sure that I will want to read back over what I write, and that when I do I will want to know exactly when certain things happened.
  • Don’t write every day
    – Of course, if I have something to add every day, then I will! But I’ve tried this before, and by making myself write every day, or even making myself write to a regular schedule, it’s a sure-fire way for me to give it up! So I will write an entry as often, or not often, as I feel I want to.

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If anyone else keeps a journal, and has any tips or tricks they would like to share, please comment below! I would love to know who else enjoys journaling!

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16 thoughts on “Starting a Journal?

  1. I have made many attempts to keep a journal over the years – I love the idea of recording my thoughts and feelings and being able to go back to them, plus I love journals and tend to want to buy them frequently – but I’ve never been very successful. I should try it again. I like all your tips as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Part of me would love to keep a journal and sometimes my thoughts flow so much like a writers that I feel like I’d love to put them on a page…but I just don’t think that when it comes down to sitting in front of a notebook and writing that anything good or productive would actually come out, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean! That was a bit of my worry too! But I’m planning on doing a few creative pages – such as writing song lyrics to what I’ve been listening to, or using bullet points when I don’t feel like writing in full paragraphs etc, to hopefully get my thoughts across in different ways too ! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This idea sounds excellent! I only have a dream journal where I record all my dreams the moment I wake up, but other than that I never got the discipline to keep up the routine of writing journals 😂 best of luck!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I used to keep a diary in high school, I think because I read somewhere that you should keep a journal if you want to be a writer (who on earth came up with THAT advice?!). I made myself write every day, but it was basically just a dull summary of what I’d done that day.

    I have, however, been thinking lately that I might benefit from actual journalling, in the sense of longhand writing down my thoughts and feelings. In which case I will definitely take your advice and not force myself to write every day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think making myself write every day would just make me give up on keeping a journal! I’ve been doing it now for over a week and I’ve really enjoyed it. Writing down all of my thoughts and feelings, and not just what I did in the day, has actually really helped me to sort through the day, (and sleep a bit better too!). If nothing really happened that day, and I don’t really feel that I have any thoughts/feelings that need sorting through and writing down, then I don’t worry about writing for that day. It’s completely up to you how you want to keep a journal, but I would definitely recommend not forcing yourself to write every day! 🙂

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      1. Yeah, I think trying to write in it daily was the WORST, because it basically became a chronicle of the rather uninteresting life of a suburban teenager (my teenage years were great, but they weren’t really the stuff of stories 😛 )

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