Journal writing is a powerful tool for transforming your life. But if keeping a journal is new to you then you may feel intimidated by the idea. This feeling is actually pretty common for new journal writers. I often hear people say they don’t know how to start or they don’t know what to write or they don’t have the time to journal.
While these are legitimate concerns, I want to let you know that having a journal writing practice is not difficult. Instead it is quite easy, life changing and enjoyable.
If you are interested in journal writing, I want to share with you seven tips to help you cultivate a fulfilling and enriching practice.
- Paper or Digital. I am truly old fashioned when it comes to this choice. I love the feel of the pen and paper as I glide across the page with my thoughts. Some people prefer the digital option of journaling on their phones or computers. If you are unsure of which option to choose when starting out, experiment with both to determine which one works best for you.
- Journal Consistently. Research has shown that if you do something for twenty-one days in a row you will develop a habit. Establishing a routine around your journaling helps to create a habit that is sustainable. Journal writing is a flexible practice that can occur in the morning,on your lunch break, before you go to bed at night or any other time that is convenient. Choose a time that will allow you to show up regularly for your journal practice.
- Start with five minutes. A recommendation I often hear suggests carving out twenty minutes for journaling. This is a great idea but if you are new to journal writing easing in slowly may be a better way to go. Start with five minutes,three minutes or even one minute. I have been journaling since I was a kid and there are times when five minutes worth of thoughts are all I have. There are other times I can write pages and pages; it just depends on what I need to express at that moment.
- Be Real. Always come to your journal with the intention to be real. Honesty on the page is how you begin to confront,heal and transform whatever issue you may be dealing with in your life. The old saying goes, “If you can’t be honest with yourself then how can you be honest with anyone else?”
- Don’t Judge. When you are honest in your journal, remember not to judge what you write. Choosing to be honest allows room for your truest expressions to come through. Learn to accept your feelings and thoughts for what they are without making judgements about them.
- Put a Date on It. I always put dates and times on my journal entries. I like being able to go back and read my old journals to see what was going in my life, to identify my areas of growth and where I still may need to do some work on a particular issue.
- Just write. The best way to deal with something you are resisting or fearing is to just confront it. Make the decision to create a journal writing practice and then sit down to write. Let your words flow freely with short or long entries.Try not to get caught up in worrying about things like grammar,punctuation and spelling; they are irrelevant in journal writing. Focus on what is in your heart such as a specific issue you are dealing with or use journal prompts to help get started. Today I feel… or I am thankful for….are examples of prompts.
In the end, there is no right or wrong way to keep a journal. The only way is your way. The more you journal and begin to experience its’ power to change things in your life, the initial fears and resistance to it will dissipate. If you would like to receive free journaling prompts and other ideas to help you create a practice, click here and in the meantime Happy Journaling!
My name is Tara C. Pray and I write over at wordsbytara.com. I am currently hosting the Pen*Paper*Write Journaling Series and working on my first book. You can learn more about me by visiting my site or by following me on Instagram@tpraywrites.