I get it. Opening a fresh, new notebook to start a journal can be scary. It’s like setting a blank canvas on the easel, ready for painting anything you can dream up.
But what do you write? How do you get past that first page?
Mindset for Writing a Journal
Before beginning, here are a few thoughts to ease your mind:
- There is no right, or wrong, way to write a journal. Your journal will be as individual as you – a beautiful thing to celebrate.
- It’s impossible to “ruin” a journal (unless you spill coffee on it, and even that’s questionable). Let go of pressure to make it “perfect”. Your unique handwriting, and slips of the pen, will give it lovely character.
- To start, you only have to put pen to paper. Write your name on the first page, or the word “JOURNAL” in capital letters. Or, you can begin with simple marks or doodles, just to get your hand moving. Either way, no more blank page!
So, go ahead and write (or doodle) on that first page. Remember, there’s no pressure and you can’t get it wrong.
Choosing a Theme
Now, it’s time to identify a theme for your journal. The theme will guide you in what to write, each time you approach it.
Some theme ideas are:
- Your most important activities. Perhaps on a particular day, you enjoyed a delicious breakfast at a restaurant with your spouse, began reading an inspiring new book, and had fun at the dog-park with your furry friend. Write these activities down in your journal, and you’ll have the memories to reflect back on, later.
- Gratitude. Record everything you’re grateful for that day. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude leads to more optimism and happiness.
- Progress toward a goal. Maybe you’ve started a new exercise program, are aiming to eat healthier by cooking with more fresh ingredients, or are learning photography. Tracking progress increases the likelihood of meeting your goal.
If there’s another theme that inspires you to write, feel free to use that one, instead!
Now that you’ve chosen a theme, you can write your first entry. I always write the date, including the year, at the top of each page.
I recommend forming a habit of writing the date, so you know exactly when you wrote each entry. That way, you’ll never have to guess when something was written. Because, as a journal writer, you’ll flip through older pages, often!
How Often Should You Write?
Lastly, you may be wondering how often to write in your journal. Again, there’s no right or wrong answer, here.
The key is to be consistent. Whether you write every day, or only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, keep a schedule. Before you know it, you’ll fill the pages of your journal. Then, you’ll own a wonderful record of what’s mattered to you most, in that season of life.
And if you get off track?
Give yourself grace and simply start again, whenever you can.