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How to start journaling: 5 tips for beginners

Photo by Alina Vilchenko for Pexels

I’ve loved journaling ever since I was a child. To me, it’s a powerful tool for understanding myself better and reducing stress. I love immersing myself in my thoughts and writing about whatever I want freely. It’s a healthy habit everyone could benefit from.

However, starting a journal can be very overwhelming, whether it’s your first time or not. I’ve noticed a common concern people have is not knowing how to start or what to write about. So, I want to share 5 tips that will help you get started on your journaling journey. 

Photo by Bich Tran for Pexels

1- Don’t set strict rules for yourself

Photo by Binti Malu for Pexels

I think this is the most common mistake people make when starting a journal. They set strict rules that are hard to follow such as “I will journal at least 30 minutes every day.” or “I will write 10 pages every week.”

I know rules can be helpful for some people but this can get overwhelming and boring real fast. To me, what works best is having no rules whatsoever. Some weeks, I journal every single day while some weeks, I don’t journal at all! This freedom is what makes me love this practice and makes me want to do it more.

So, if you’re like me, and you like to be freer and more spontaneous, try having no rules. If you’re someone who is motivated by rules, set easy and flexible ones such as “I will journal a little bit every Sunday.”

2- Try different methods and approaches

There are many different approaches to journaling such as bullet journals, art journals, creative journals, morning pages, and more. Some people think of journaling as just keeping a diary but it can be so much more than that. You can write about anything you want.

So, if you don’t want to write about your day or your feelings, you don’t have to! Just write whatever you feel like writing. You can write your movie reviews, dreams, fictional stories, or crazy ideas. You can also incorporate your other hobbies into your journal like drawing, scrapbooking, or photography.

Some people like to keep different journals for their different approaches. I prefer mixing it all together in one journal. You can try different methods to see which one works the best for you.

@happyolivestudio

Just a few #journalingideas for you! I’ve been so into journaling lately and have made it my entire personality 🙋🏻‍♀️ Also hi! I’m Amy and I’m an artist. I created some of the stickers shown in this video! They are on TikTok shop here/check profile 🫶🏼 #stickers #stickershop #stationery #journal #readingjournal #bookjournal #readingtracker #readingnotebook #bookstickers #journaltok #planner #bookdiary #readingdiary #kindletok #scrapbooking #junkjournalideas #junkjournal #scrapbook #traveljournal #travelersjournal #sketchbook #watercolor #mixedmedia #dailyjournal

♬ Sky Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

3- Use materials you already own

When you’re first starting journaling, you might want to buy the best materials to really get into this hobby. However, this can be quite expensive, and you might feel discouraged as a result. 

All you really need for journaling is pen and paper. You can get creative and use other items you already have in your home such as tickets, receipts, brochures, flowers, photos, and more. You can even cut pictures from newspapers and magazines you already own. 

So don’t feel like you have to spend a bunch of money to get into this hobby. Use your creativity and resourcefulness, it makes it much more fun. 

4- Don’t worry about the aesthetics and content

When I start a new journal, I always make the mistake of wanting it to be “perfect”. I worry if my writing is pretty or insightful enough. This makes me want to journal less. 

Now, I write even if I think my writing looks messy or what I’m writing about is silly. I’m not afraid to make mistakes and this makes my writing more authentic. Some days, my pages look beautiful and inspiring, while other days, they’re messy and ugly.

So, don’t worry about what you’re writing or how you’re writing it. This is your journal, and you can be as free as you want. Letting go of perfectionism will allow you to enjoy journaling much more. 

@mostlymady

Yes I will continue to expose my mistakes in 2024 because between that and my handwriting it held my back for years. Normalize a messy, lived in journal! #journalmistakes #journalwithme #journalwithme #journaltok

♬ original sound – mady
@noparticularorder.co

and this is why we needed to reconfigure what a journal company preaches! you don’t need a “perfect” practice to get a lot out of journaling. #journaling #2024resolutions #prompts #messy

♬ Ilusión De Amor – Jensine Benitez

5- Find inspiration on the internet

Lastly, finding some journaling inspiration on the internet can be extremely helpful. You can find a lot of good ideas and prompts. If you’re having “writer’s block”, this is the perfect way to get through it.

My favourite places to find journaling inspiration are PinterestYoutube, and TikTok. You can find many creators who are creating journaling content on these platforms. Exploring their ideas can enhance your journaling experience and make it much more enjoyable.

Those are all my tips for now. I really hope these tips will be helpful and you will appreciate journaling as much as I do. Happy journaling!

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