How I Journal
A couple of my tips and tricks that have helped me journal consistently for the past year and a half.
I’d like to preface this by saying that writing in a journal looks different for everyone, and what has worked for me, might not work for you. However, I’ve found that I’ve never once regretted writing in my journal and would highly recommend it to those like me who are trying to sort out their thoughts and figure out who they are.
To give a little background, I’ve been writing in a journal semi-consistently since I was probably in middle school. There were times that I didn’t write for many months, and some periods where I wrote every day. It’s pretty cool to see how my writing has evolved and how my views have changed throughout time. This past year and a half is the longest period of time that I have been writing in a journal daily, and for the first time, digitally. I’ll go through my setup, as well as the actual content of my writing.
To be quite honest, if you are looking to write more frequently, finding the right setup is really important. By setup, I mean figuring out the medium you wish to write on, what you want to write with, and the time and place of your writing.
For many years, I wrote in a physical journal. I love physical journals because they force you to slow down and the process of filling a piece of paper with your thoughts becomes more mindful and intentional. It’s also really cool to be able to look back on your handwriting, and having a tangible book of your thoughts and ideas. My two favorite companies for journals are Moleskine and Muji. They make a wide variety of physical journals, with different sizes, colors, page types, etc. As for pens, you really can’t go wrong with a Muji 0.5mm black pen.
I will eventually go back to writing in a physical journal, but for now, I am sticking to my digital journal. I used to dislike digital journaling, but once I found my ideal setup on Notion, I became obsessed. Writing digitally is a bit easier for me since I am a fast typist and am generally on my laptop a lot. There are lots of different digital setups that I would recommend exploring if you are someone who wants to start journaling but doesn’t know where to start.
The way my current digital journal is setup is on a monthly basis. I choose a quote for that month and simply create a new page for every entry that has the date on it. I also use this page to write down any goals I have for that month, no matter how small or large.
Lastly, it is important to figure out a time and place you want to journal. I prefer writing in the mornings. I feel that dumping all of my thoughts onto a page before starting my day offers a clean slate for that day. I know a lot of people prefer writing at night, but personally, I end up being too tired at night to write coherent thoughts.
Figuring out what to write can also be a struggle. When I journal, I tend to either write a stream of consciousness or some sort of recap of the events of the day before. I like to start with a blank page and explore my own ideas. A journal entry can also be whatever you want it to be, a drawing, a poem, a series of pictures, etc. Many people enjoy writing prompts, and I would recommend searching online for daily writing prompts. Next year, I would like to try writing prompts daily for a month to see how that goes. In general, the point is to get your thoughts onto paper without filtering and double checking. It can be helpful to tell yourself that this journal is for your eyes only. I’ve found that to be a liberating thought because then I can write without thinking too much.
I sometimes wonder what my brain would be like without my daily journal entry. I’d like to think that writing daily has helped me clear my head, and I genuinely believe it has. It’s led to me writing weekly medium articles, exploring the causes of my emotions, and in general, keeping a record of what I actually do every day. It’s been an awesome tool to look back on my life and get a glimpse into my brain at that given point in time, which in my opinion, is priceless.