Beginner’s (quick) guide to journaling (part 7)

Post written by Orsolya Hernold

If you only want to read one post from my guide series, this is it.


I have been writing about journaling for 11 months now. I have just finished my second printed journal (created for people who want to start journaling), recently started a series on Beginner’s guide to journaling, meanwhile I realized that I haven’t really outlined in previous posts my method of journaling that I call ‘focused writing for conscious living’. To remedy this shortcoming, here’s the summary of my journaling method (may well be a great exaggeration to call it a method, though, let your expectations cool down).

#1 – Get a journal you like. It feels good to hold it, you like the paper, you like to carry it around. Or get a journaling app that is easy to use and comes with a design you’re fond of. Or start a new document. Decide which way you go and start doing it.

#2 – It doesn’t matter how much you write (only words, or couple sentences or long essays), when you write (morning, midday, evening or at night), on what you write (paper or digital device). The important is to strive to write every day (and forgive yourself if you don’t).

#3 – If you are writing sentences (rather than just jotting down some words each day) there is one rule to keep in mind: always use the first person. “I thought, I felt, I did…” The writing is about yourself, not in general or not about another person. So have your words reflect this.

#4 – There are a great many things to write about: daily happenings, future plans, random thoughts, wishes, fantasies, poetry, memories, basically anything that is interesting to you. (Or you can choose a focus you would like to devote your time to–this blog offers plenty in previous posts). If you have your area of interest try to embrace it in its wholeness: explore your thoughts, emotions, sensations, dreams, words, body reactions with regards to it.

#5 – Know why you write. You got a nice notebook and this time you give it a try. Or a friend talked you into it. Or you have read about a scientific research that listed the benefits of journaling. Or you wrote journals when you were a teenager and it was so great to reread them. Or you are reading my posts and feel inspired. Or anything else that makes you sit down today with the intention of writing. Just be conscious of your motivation. Then it’s easier to keep it flowing.

#6 – When you have the journaling habit already in place–meaning there are more days when you write than when you don’t–acknowledge this accomplishment with a little celebration or a gift. Do something for yourself that expresses the value of this new habit. Know that journaling is a mental self-care exercise, praise yourself for your efforts.

#7 – Reread your words after some time. Get to know the observer behind your thoughts and emotions. Who am I without my thoughts and emotions?


Now go and start.


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