How to write a journal

Millions of people keep up a daily journal. They all started one day. So can you!

Here are some basic principles to help you get started writing a journal.

1) Just get started

You’re probably reading this blog because you want to do it perfectly from the start. Right? Well, the only way to do it perfectly is to be yourself.

Don’t browse Pinterest for pretty journal entrees. Don’t Google for beautiful examples. You are writing for you. No one is here to judge you. Not even you are here to judge you! So keep it simple, raw, and pure. Write quick, without aiming for perfection.

But most of all. Start!

2) Buy a physical journal or go for an app

Journal in a notebook or use a journaling app? Well, why not try both and experience the benefits yourself. They both have their pros and cons. Especially when you’re new to journaling.

Writing on paper means you’re automatically offline. Full focus on your feelings and thoughts. There are no easy distractions like on your phone or computer. Plus, writing with a pen really helps to get a good connection with your mind and feelings. There is some magic in it. Something you have to experience yourself. The world’s best ideas still arise and grow on paper.

On the other hand, there are many advantages to a digital journal too. Especially if you want to journal for a longer period. Think about benefits like searching, analyzing, categorizing, help & inspiration, backups, adding photos, emoji, maybe even sharing? Plus, the ability to make it a beautiful, clean journal by default.

Needless to say, but you can always give Mindwave a Try.

3) Private writing space

Your journal should be a private writing space. A safe place for your ideas, feelings, and thoughts. Only you should be able to read your entrees. You must be able to be honest with yourself. There shouldn’t be any boundaries or anything else that is holding you back.

Keep your physical notebook secure. If you go for a digital journal, make sure you go for a paid one. Go for a tool that respects your privacy. Never use a Free Journal App! If a product is free, you (and your data!) are the product.

4) Ask Questions

Reflect on your feelings and thoughts by asking yourself questions. What happened today? How did that make you feel? Are you excited or anxious about anything? Why is that?

Some great reflection questions:

  • What is on your mind?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What made you energetic?
  • What went well, what would you do differently next time?
  • What made you happy or smile?

5) Categorize your entrees

Your journal can be about anything you want. It’s entirely up to you. Experienced journalers (is that a word?) write on an empty canvas and just log whatever is on their mind. But you can also choose to focus on a specific topic, such as:

Gratefulness Journal

You will learn to recognize blessings in disguise. Get a greater sense of calm, a new level of clarity, and a positive mindset on yourself and the world around you. What are you grateful for?

Energy Journal

You will get clarity on your most significant energy sources. You’ll discover treads that make energetic so you can make life’s choices with calm and ease. What gives you energy?

Travel Journal

Traveling is one of the best experiences you can treat yourself with. But it can also be stressful. Especially when you have very high expectations. So keep up a travel journal and document your travels. By focussing less on what to do, and more on what you’ve experienced, you’ll gain a calm and grateful mind. Get most out of your travels by pursuing a mindful journey.

6) Repetition

Writing every single day should be a relaxing routine. It will be, as soon as daily journaling is in your system. So don’t get stressed about writing every single day. Focus on making it a habit first.

How? The power is in repetition. Write in your journal for at least 30 days in a row. Try not to miss once, never miss twice. After 30-day’s, daily journaling is in your system.

You adopted a new, healthy, and positive habit. You don’t want to miss a single day ever again. And if you do? You won’t get stressed, but you just pick it up the next day.

Commit yourself to make a 30-day streak. Start small, it will only take you 2 minutes a day.

7) Re-read & Summarize

It doesn’t matter if your daily entree is a short or long one. Always try to summarize! Re-read what you just have written. Think what words could recap this entree.

What 1, 2, or 3 words describe how it makes you feel? What 1, 2, or 3 words describe what this entree is about? Consider using tags to summarize & categorize your logs.

Also, you can always adjust and add new things to your logs. Don’t mind if you discover some typos or crappy sentences. It shouldn’t be perfect. It makes you authentic.

8) Deep-dive for Treads

Plan weekly and/or monthly reflection sessions. Go over your entrees and try to discover some treads. What do you notice if you re-read your logs? Is there anything that sticks out?

Treads are neutral. Remember, there is no room for judgment.

Read. Discover. Reflect. Did you find some ‘little proof’ in your journal? Gently try to follow up by taking some small steps in the right direction.

Are you 100% convinced (by gut feeling and mind) of a threat, then proceed and make some life-changing decisions if you have to.

The images in this blog are free stock photo’s by the fantastic Pexels.