How to keep a journal: writing tips for beginners

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Humans have kept diaries for centuries, writing great works in prose, recounting historical events, recalling intimate personal details, and recounting fortuitous events. But there really is no secret to a good journal because all you have to do is put a pen on some paper.

Logging has long been used as a method of manage feelings like stress and anxiety and track progress against personal goals. It also keeps your mind sharp by stimulate your memory and comprehension, according to an article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? But where to start ?

We spoke with journaling influencers to get their advice on creating a functional and sustainable journaling practice. Find out their top tips for beginners, as well as tools and products you can use to personalize your journal at home.

The # 1 rule of journaling is that there are no rules. It’s about creating an experience that’s organized for you, your goals, and your life.

“It doesn’t have to be what you know your favorite Instagrammer is doing; it doesn’t have to be what your best friend or your mom does, ”says Elizabeth ghekiere, founder of the Elizabeth Journals blog. “This is what you do with [it] and that’s literally all it needs to be.

The possibilities for your journal are endless. It could be a daily planner, goal tracking, or a place to collect your thoughts and solve problems. Really, all you need to get started is an old journal or a notebook.

This journal is available in 18 different colors and has numbered and perforated pages for easy tracking.

If you like having lines to write on, this Moleskine notebook is a great choice and comes with internal storage folders for little notes and reminders.

If grids are your thing, this hardcover notebook can easily lay flat and comes with a pen holder so you never have to waste time looking for something to write on.

This dotted goal journal features numbered pages, an index, and two separate calendar sections to keep all of your important dates in one place.

It’s good to stick to a journaling schedule, but don’t worry if you miss a day here or there.

“Don’t give yourself these rules that you have to write down every day, or you’ll just be disappointed and don’t make it,” says Marlena larson, licensed psychologist and founder of Blog A pen and a goal.

Pick a time of day when you know you have a few minutes to sit down and focus on your journal. It can be the first thing in the morning or just before going to bed.

You can also set a reminder on your phone to keep you on track, or store your journal somewhere you’ll see it everyday, like right next to your bed, so you can easily write in it.

Again, this journal is for you, so tailor its purpose and layout to suit your lifestyle.

“Keeping the layouts that you use regularly and the things that you actually come back to is really important to maintaining interest, because if it’s functional, you’ll keep doing it,” says Ghekiere.

the original bullet journal concept was very simple: just a bulleted list of thoughts or tasks, hence the name. Today, bullet journals can have more complex and artistic interpretations, but like most things, there is nothing wrong with the original.

Sometimes simple works best. “If you follow everything, you’re really not doing anything,” Larson says. “People can learn to use journaling to talk to each other, then track the things that matter and see their changes over time.”

If you never know when or where you might want to keep a journal, try this weatherproof notebook that repels water, sweat, grease, and mud.

Personalized Zodiac Astrology Journal

If your life revolves around your horoscope, get one of these personalized astrology-based notebooks. You can have your name or initials under a beautiful engraving of your zodiac sign.

This durable, cork-covered journal is also made with acid-free paper, making the pages recyclable and pollution-free.

Monogrammed leather notebook

Want a little more personalization for your journal? Take one of the these chic monogrammed options of paper.

Journals can last a long time, but you don’t have to plan everything all at once. Ghekiere recommends planning your journal for about a month at a time. This way, you have the freedom to change layouts or designs and keep up with improving your skills.

There is no limit to what you can write in your journal, whether you want to use it as a daily planner or as a place to jot down your to-do list or weekly schedule. If your journal is more of a place for self-reflection, start by making simple lists.

“[That’s] kind of how I started. I was like ‘100 things that make me happy,’ ”says Larson. “I would sit and list these things because the first ones you list are really easy and then you have to really dig.”

It can be intimidating feeling like you have to recount a day in your life every time you sit down because sometimes, let’s be honest, the days just aren’t that interesting. Making a list of a few sentences about your future goals is a great way to go into a daily entry.

If you still don’t know what to write about, guided journals and prompts from books or online can be a good place to start.

This interactive journal invites you not only to write but also to take action, with tasks like coloring maps of the places you want to visit and sending your dreams to sea in a glass bottle.

Take one line at a time each day with this colorful journal that lasts for five years.

If you liked Michelle Obama’s book “To becomeThis could be the journal for you. By focusing on personal growth and self-discovery, this journal helps tell your life story.

The Simple Elephant Planner is perfect for those who want to organize their goals and daily planner. The planner comes with monthly calendars and spaces to express gratitude and affirmations.

Another good choice if you have a busy schedule, this journal takes just five minutes to complete each day and focuses on all the good in your life.

This quinquennial journal asks you a variety of questions, including questions as simple as “What did you eat for lunch today?” To more thoughtful questions like “Can people really change? ”

While YouTube and Instagram can be great places for journaling inspiration, some of the design can seem overwhelming to those just starting out. “I always recommend: start simple,” says Ghekiere. “The kind of artwork that you see on Instagram and Pinterest is not what happened the first time. ”

Your journal is only for you. Feel free to try out new designs and ideas, but don’t be afraid to go wrong. “I’m just saying open your book and scribble on the first page,” Larson says. “So you don’t have to worry about ‘What will my first page look like?’ because you ruined everything.

Sometimes the white veil can be your best friend. In the worst case, you can always just tear up a page and start over. And if you want to quickly add more visuals to your journal, you can easily use stickers, stamps, and stencils.

This set includes 20 different stencil sheets that let you quickly create cohesive boxes, banners, and designs.

If you don’t have time to draw an entire calendar, use a sticker instead. This bundle includes month labels, to-do lists, and goal tracking stickers.

Washi Tape is an easy way to add color to your journal with simple designs and prints.

These simple stickers give a subtle decoration to journal pages for those who want a mostly minimalist theme.

If you constantly travel or like to keep a journal on the go, this carrying case can hold all your journaling essentials.

Keeping all of your supplies together makes daily journaling easier. This bamboo rack is durable and large enough to hold your favorite design materials.

These stamps will help you keep your journal tidy. Sold individually, all you have to do is purchase the tampons that suit your use.

A Ghekiere favorite, these markers have both a brush and a fine tip, which are great for illustrative drawings or for writing short notes.

Paper Mate Gel Pens, Pack of 10

There’s something about a gel pen that just makes you want to keep scribbling. This adorable rainbow set can make it easy for you to coordinate the colors of your notes.

You don’t need expensive pens or markers to have a colorful journal. This affordable set of 100 RoseArt markers has all the colors you can think of.

Pilot G2 Premium Refillable Retractable Roller Ball Pens ($ 7.70, originally $ 9.31; amazon.com)

If you like the clean look of simple black and white, these smooth black gel pens are all you need.

Zebra Mildliner Pen, Double Ended Highlighter, Wide and Fine Tips, Pack of 15 ($ 17.74, originally $ 26.99; amazon.com)

These highlighters are great for emphasizing dates or phrases, and with both wide and thin tips, you can mark in as much detail as you want.

Larson likes to keep a journal with a fountain pen like this. This smooth looking pen creates smooth lines with any ink color of your choice.

This value pack of fine point pens is perfect for everyday writing or for tracing stencils and doodling.



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