Journaling Techniques To Help You Start Writing Daily
Author: Adriana Pacheco
L.M.Montgomery was a prolific journal keeper, chronicling her life and the places that were important to her. She wrote of her hopes and dreams, thoughts and feelings, the people who surround her and any other musings that passed through her mind. Her love of writing was something she passed onto her characters, Anne Shirley and Emily Starr, both of whom were constantly compelled to put pen to paper. Through writing, they were able to find a release for their souls and convey the things that perhaps they weren’t able to say aloud. And perhaps this is one reason why Montgomery was so compelled to write in her journals; through them, she was able to make sense of the world and her place in it.
The Benefits To Keeping A Traditional Journal
Keeping a daily journal may seem like a daunting task, but writing, even just a little bit, every day or every other day, can be cathartic and help relieve stress. Journaling can help you clear your mind, make connections between your thoughts and feelings and studies have shown that it can significantly aid in elevating your mental health. By expelling your observations and feelings each day in writing, you force yourself to think through events rationally and consciously and to work through any frustrations or anxieties that may be detracting from your life. And it can often be surprising just how much you can discover about yourself through these journaling sessions. This can lead to being more mindful in day to day situations, something that can lead to better overall happiness.
“I’m going to start out all over new and write only when I have something worth writing about. Life is beginning to get interesting for me…”-L.M. Montgomery
Getting yourself in the right mind frame to write is not easy; often you might feel like your thoughts and observations aren’t worth putting down on paper. One thing that helps is getting the right supplies that will help make the process easier and let your creativity flow.
Journaling Supplies To Get You Started
Having the right journal for writing is an important start to beginning journaling. You want something that resonates with you; this journal is going to be the keeper of your thoughts, feelings, observations, intentions and hopes and dreams.There are many types of journals available. You can get hardcover, softcover, or leather-bound ones like the Anne of Green Gables leather-bound Journal:
or refillable leather-bound journals like the lovely ones from Rustico:
Whatever journal you pick, make sure that it is something you could see yourself engaging with on a constant bases or you may find yourself not wanting to write.
Once you have picked your journal, the next thing you need to make the process interesting is fun miscellaneous supplies and stationery, like the colourful options from Muji or the Kindred Friends Pencils. You want journaling to be something that slides easily into your every day but still brings you enjoyment. Utilizing a variety of supplies will make it more of an experience and less of an obligation.
Another way that you can make journaling more of an experience is by decorating your journal. Add stickers to the cover or use your creativity and draw, sketch or even paint on the inside of some pages. And remember, that writing is not the only way to record the world. If you are a visual person, intersperse photos between the journal entries or in the place of words. Whatever you do, make your journal a friend.
“One can dream so much better in a room where there are pretty things.”-L.M.Montgomery
Setting Up Your Journal Workstation
It’s important to find the right place to write, free from the distractions of the world so that you can focus and concentrate on what you want to say. Different environments may be best for yielding the results that you want. If you are hoping to use one of your journaling sessions to write poetry that has been bursting to escape through your pen, outside in a location that provides peace and calm might be the best place to try. When reflecting on the events of the day, a chair by a window, open to let in the fresh air, might be just the ticket. Feeling in a secretive mood? If you’re about to convey something deeply personal onto the blank pages of your journal, being in your bedroom, tucked safely beneath a snuggly blanket is always an option that lends itself to comfort.
The environment is very important to writing. It inspires us and feeds our perspectives. If L.M. Montgomery had not been inspired by the environs of her beloved Prince Edward Island, she may not have been able to write stories that spoke to so many. Make sure that wherever you are writing, you take a moment to observe what is around you, to ground yourself in the environment. And above all, do not force yourself to write. Sometimes, there is just not much to be said and that is completely okay.
“Don’t try to write anything you can’t feel- it will be a failure-‘echoes nothing worth.”-L.M.Montgomery
Getting Started - 10 Journal Prompts To Write About
If you are stuck on how to start writing, or are maybe feeling a little self-conscious about starting a journal, journaling prompts are a great way to get inspired and free write. There are a lot of sites and resources out there that offer prompts, but here are a few to get you started:
Record your daily events: Write about work, something you saw at the grocery store, the person who stands on the street corner with a different inspirational sign each week, or something your dog did that was hilarious. Pick something from your day and just go for it.
Celebrate your wins: Write about the little victories of the day, like remembering to water your flowers or getting a letter in the mail before the mail truck comes, or the big triumphs such as getting a job or having your art recognized. If it makes you feel good, commemorate it.
Break down your goals and to-do lists: Think of what you want to accomplish and write it down. This could be long term goals like being able to go on a vacation to PEI or they could just be things that need to be done during the course of a week like getting a birthday card for your nephew.
Collect quotes: Be inspired by the words of others. If you hear something in a movie or podcast that resonates with you write it down! If you are reading a book and some of the text stands out to you, transcribe it to your journal. Look back at these later when you need affirmation or inspiration.
Write about your favourite Anne of Green Gables scene: If you are reading this, chances are you love Anne of Green Gables. Pick a scene from the movie and describe why you like it. What does it mean to you? What stands out to you in the scene?
Make a list of things you love: What are your favourite things in life? Make a list and then pick one of those to write about. If you love going for walks by the lake, describe why you love it. How does it make you feel? Maybe you love wool socks. Write about them. Remember that it might seem mundane, but if you love it, then its something worth writing about.
5 great things that happened to you that day: Did someone on the subway compliment your hair? Maybe you had a really good cup of tea in the morning before anyone else got up. Think about your day and list out five things that happened that made you feel good. Afterward, you might find yourself feeling like the day was better than you thought it was.
Make a “let it go” list: We all have things in life that bother us or have affected us greatly in a negative way. But holding on to them can be detrimental to our mental health. Take your journaling time to list out the things that you need to let go of; you may find that just the act of admitting them on paper helps to start to release their hold on your life.
Write a movie, TV episode or book review: Chronicle your thoughts on a movie you have just watched, or an episode of a new show you have started watching. If you’ve read a book you like or don’t like, write about what you liked or didn’t like about it.
Write about one of your favourite songs: What do you think is the meaning behind the song? Why do you think the songwriter wrote it? Does it bring to mind anything in particular? How do you feel when you listen to it? Use the song itself as a prompt and write a story based on the song.
“You have the itch for writing born in you. It’s quite incurable. What are you going to do with it?”-L.M.Montgomery
How To Create a Journaling Habit
Now that you have your journal and you have some inspiration about how to start writing, the last thing to do is try to create a journaling habit. Pick a time and set that aside to use to write each day. Try to stick to that time and make it a routine that is all about yourself; this will help you look forward to journaling and not make it an obligation. At the end of the day before bed is a time that works for many, because it allows you to unburden yourself before sleep. This is perfect if what you are writing about consists of things that happened during the day. Writing first thing in the morning works well if your goal is to set intentions for the day; this will allow you to reflect on whether you’ve accomplished the previous day's goals.
If you find yourself not being able to write every day, don’t think that this reflects poorly on your journaling skills. For some, a journal is only for the moments when you truly have something to say. The point of it is, that you said anything at all. Some people have been using the same journal for 10 years, only writing what really stands out to them and some go through multiple journals a year.
Don’t judge yourself on others' pace and remember, even if you don’t have much to talk about it's still worth putting down. L.M.Montgomery may have been a prolific journal keeper, but she started out talking about the weather.
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