After keeping a journal for several years now (see my post about when and why I started here!) I have learned of all the wonderful benefits of writing down your innermost thoughts and feelings, and the great feeling of reading over how you felt after a bad day that you look back on with the brilliance of retrospect!
Whether you already have a journal or would like to start (or even have set a new years resolution to keep one!) I know from my own experienece that it can sometimes be difficult or go forgotten for a while and then you kick yourself that you let it go.
I have worked out a few tips that have helped me and I hope will help if you want to start a journal, or have had trouble sticking to keeping one. Happy writing!
1. Invest in some gorgeous stationery.
Writing is always more inspiring if you have something gorgeous to write your innermost thoughts in. It makes your journal more special.
Buy yourself a gorgeous book and some lovely pens to write with, and lots of colours. That way, if you can’t think of anything to write, you can doodle away in a beautiful book until you can work out how to phrase the things you are thinking about.
2. Keep it with you always.
You never know when something is going to happen that you want to record. You never know when you are going to have 20 minutes to kill before a meeting or when your friend is running late for coffee. If you always have your journal with you, in your handbag or your backpack, you are always ready for when the moment strikes you to write things down.
3. Don’t set yourself rules!
Write when you want, about what you want. If you need to write a shopping list, do it! If you are having a terrible day and just want to write a page of expletives in different coloured pens (yes, I have done this!), do it! If you have nothing to write about, and don’t want to write, don’t.If you just want to doodle, do it! (See image after number 6…)You are in charge – there are no rules!
4. Don’t get pissed off or embarassed, and don’t make excuses – you just don’t need to!
If you forget to write for a few days, a week, a month, 6 months even, don’t apologise for it or try to excuse it. It is for you, so don’t let it become something you feel negative about. It is an offload for you, and should be there for you whenever you need – even if it is few and far between.
5. Bullet points can be a god-send.
If you haven’t written for a while, or a lot has happened in a short space of time, or even if something happened that you find hard to write down or dont want to write all the details for; use bullet points. You can expand on each of them to make sure everything is included, or just leave them as bullet points that you know the meaning of without having to write down every detail.
6. No-one else has to understand it – you dont have to explain yourself or anything you do.
This journal is for you. If you do something you are embarassed about, you can confide it. If you know who someone is, you don’t have to explain what they do and how you know them. It isn’t meant to be written for anyone else. Write for you. Don’t over explain or try to justify the things you do as you would to a friend – this is you.
7. Don’t stop if you take a break!
If you haven’t written for 4 months and you have so much to write in to update on where you are and what you have been up to etc, don’t give up. There are so many benefits of keeping a journal, and one of them is the blessing of retrospect. Sure, you have missed 4 months, but one day, you are going to want to look back on today and see how you have grown. Don’t stop just because you paused. Even if you only write a couple of sentences, don’t stop.
8. It doesnt have to be tidy!
You can stick things in it. (if you like doing this, google “Smash-Booking” – something I’d love to learn more about!)You can scribble in it.Your handwriting can be messy. You can spell things wrong.You can write in colours.You can cry mascara clad tears into it (Been there, done that!)It does not, I repeat, DOES NOT have to be tidy!!
9. It is private. or not. your choice.
I decided very early on when I first started keeping a journal that mine was to be private. Personally I think that the only way you will be truly honest in your journal is if you know that you are the only one to read it. No matter how close you are to anyone, there are still things you keep in your own head and things you don’t say. This is your place to say that. If, however, you are of the mindset that you dont mind if your partner or family read it, that is completely up to you. Don’t let the fear of someone else reading it let you censor what you write no matter who is reading it. If you feel like it is a safe space where you can say anything, you will be honest about everything and you will learn things about yourself, when you read it back, that you never knew.
10. Prep and get cosy.
If I know I have things I want to write; something going on that I want to work out in my head, something I need to write out and a bit of time to write, I know I want a few things. Firstly, Tea, a hot cup of tea and possibly even a cheeky chocolate biscuit, I believe, literally works magic.
The second thing is comfy clothes. Just taking my shoes off if I’m in a rush, or slipping into my onesie if I have a bit more time to get myself set up will put me in the perfect mindset.
Then I just need somewhere comfy to sit, telly off, maybe some soft background music but nothing more distracting than that and I am set.
So grab yourself a cuppa, curl up somewhere comfy in your PJs or some cosy joggers (Ladies, bras off!) and get writing.
Let me know how you get on in the comments and if you have anything you would like me to write about in the future, please tell me what you want to see me write.