I have written a little bit about what to journal in the past (see: Journaling the Non-Beautiful and The Power of Quotes), but from the comments posted with the giveaway last month, I thought I would address it again.
Below are tips addressing some of the fears brought up in the comments last month.
Worried about Ruining or Wasting a Pretty Journal
I used to feel this way too, and still do at at times. A while back I started forcing myself to use journals (and journaling fodder) that I loved in my journals. It was painful, but in the end, rewarding. Now that I have some of them to look back upon, I love the fact that I have a beautiful journal filled with memories I may have other wise forgotten. It is much more fun finding a journal full of my thoughts and activities to look through than a blank pretty journal.
So just try, with one, to force yourself to use it. See where it takes you!
Nothing Important Enough
A lot of people feel they need to have something important to journal about, but that is not true at all! One example I can give about this is my journal from the time I was planning my wedding, sure it had the important details in it, but it also had the silly, non-important random stuff in it too. Now when I look back I say “oh yeah! I forgot about that!” and it brings back a wonderful memory that would not have qualified as important enough at the time—but I love recapturing now in the future.
The rule of thumb: EVERYTHING is important enough to journal. What you had for lunch, a fleeting thought, a funny line from your favourite show, thoughts on if you should buy new shoes, etc.. Months, even years from now, it will bring a smile to your face to re-read the non-important (seemingly ordinary) thoughts you journaled.
Your journal is never going to be perfect—and why would you want it to be? It would not give an accurate portrayal of your life—nothing and no one is perfect, and your journal should reflect that truth.
One of my favourite quotes to help you remember this, by Rebecca Moses, “It’s the imperfections that make the charm.”
Juicier and Deeper Journals
There are plenty of places to find deep questions online or in books— even questions you have been asking yourself in your own mind for awhile. Take a look around you and you will find deeper questions to help you fill your journal with heavier topics.
Writing Order and Making Sense
No worries about writing things in the perfect order or as they come – do either, both, however your mind feels at the moment. Your journaling does not even need to make sense to anyone other than YOU – because it is only for you. You can just start writing – no back story or details needed.
Sharing with Others
I can promise you that not every pretty journal spread you see out there is thought to be beautiful by it’s creator. I for one, am not always pleased with my journal spreads, but I made a commitment to myself to share my spreads no matter if I love them or hate them. And sometimes my favourite spreads are the least well received, and ones I cringe at are the most popular. Mine are full of mistakes and spelling errors. If you do a spread and decide to share it with others, I promise you will get positive feedback. I encourage people to share their work to help build confidence and get them to keep at it. Everyone’s journals are beautiful in their own way!
A lot of people do not love their handwriting or lettering… myself included (although I do like it better the more I practice). Here is an example, though, why it should not matter. My mom, she lives far away and I miss her like crazy, she has never been thrilled with her handwriting at all. When I come across an old photo, or get a letter in the post from her – SEEING her writing makes my heart swell, she may hate it, but to me, it is full of fond memories and motherly love.
Finding the Time
Keep a journal with you to open up and write whenever you have a feel moment. I personally do quite a bit of journaling in the living room while watching television at night, or if my husband is watching a soccer match, I will sit with him and journal while he does, so we are together even if engrossed in different activities. I also have been known to journal in the waiting room at the doctors, and while waiting for a lunch date.
Random Tips + Final Thoughts
If you are still at a loss of what to write or where to start, consider starting an inspiration journal. Whenever a magazine snippet, or anything that inspires you—paste it into your journal and write WHY you are inspired by it (and “i don’t know” is an acceptable answer!).
Or, start a Quote Journal. Try doing the same thing with quotes and phrases you discover or hear. Write them down, and then write a bit about why you liked it.
You know that expression, Everything worth having is earned… well, the same with journaling. You may have to force yourself to break past the barriers you put up for yourself, but eventually the “breaking past” becomes easier, and then even second nature.
Try this: Identify what is holding you back and force yourself (gently, of course) to work past it a few times—see how it feels. I bet most of you will start to feel more comfortable and once you do, you can start to evolve a journaling practice that suits your needs.
Can you relate to any of these fears? What gets between you and journaling?
images: hope wallace karney