Journaling is one of those things caught between being regarded as archaic and in vogue. Some people would never bother with journaling while for some others, this practice is as important as eating.
Whichever side of this spectrum you happen to find yourself on, kindly approach this article with an open mind. Personally, I have tried over the years to journal and failed woefully.
I remember trying severally as a teen to keep journals and quitting after a few weeks or months. I also remember how happy I felt reading some of those entries when I was much older and how it felt equally sad that those journals stopped halfway.
I take it some of you reading this have experienced something similar and maybe, this is one of the reasons you have cancelled journalling. While I am not here to preach journaling to you, I will be touching on some ways in which you can journal successfully – at the early stage.
We’ll dive into this without wasting much time:
- Why Are You Keeping This Journal?
By answering this question, you should be able to determine the reason for keeping your journal. Is it to document a particular phase in your life? Or perhaps to keep a record of day-to-day events?
Whatever the case might be, ask this question and provide an honest answer. Secondly and most importantly, answering this question will help you prioritize your journalling.
Since the answer will most likely be that you’re journaling for an important reason, you can always remind yourself why you started in the first place.
Don’t be worried if your reason for journaling doesn’t sound “serious” or “important”. If you think deeply and give yourself time, you may find some important use for journaling.
- Start With What You Have
One of the reasons why I kept procrastinating journalling was because I wanted to buy a special journal, pens, highlighters, and usual serene.
When I finally picked up journaling, I just made use of a simple pen and a journaling book I received as a gift at the time. What I soon realized was that I should have started journalling sooner with the simpler notebooks I had.
I think that sometimes we are driven by wanting to have a fancy journal or diary that we wait and wait, until days, weeks, months, and years, pass us by. If you feel the urge to journal, just do it.
- Make Short And Simple Entries
Another problem I think we’re likely to face when starting out journalling as a habit is what to write. Most times, I wanted to sound poetic or make it look like I was writing a novel.
But I had to consciously stop doing that especially as my reason for journaling (to document my spiritual journey), didn’t need fancy words, but the things I was learning about God and Jesus every day.
So do not try to overthink how to make your entries. Be clear, and just write like you. You’re not writing for an essay contest but for your personal consumption.
- Choose A Time To Make Entries
Some may think it isn’t necessary to choose specific times to make entries. Well, I am of the opinion that including time in your journaling makes adapting to it easier.
Although I cannot say if mornings work better than evenings or vice versa, what I can say, however, is to experiment and determine what time works best for you.
If it’s mornings, choose a time early before rushing off to work to make your entry. If it is evenings, pick a time when you’re calmer to make your entries. Some people could even journal in the afternoons.
Again, entries will hugely depend on what works best for you. You may even wish to carry your journal with you everywhere to make entries several times during the day. Whichever works for you, by all means, do so.
- You May Miss Out Some Days, Be Kind To Yourself
The truth is you may miss out on making entries some days. It is important that you do not flog yourself over spilled tea. Be kind to yourself and move on.
Sometimes, one of the reasons why I stopped journaling halfway through the year or month was because I missed out on a day’s (or more) entry. This made me feel like the story I was documenting was incomplete and so I grew tired and one missing day’s entry extended to more days, weeks, and months until I completely gave up.
This is where I’ll be drawing up the curtains on this topic for now. If you’ve successfully journaled through a year (or more) I’m really curious (pretty sure some other readers are too) please share some of the tips that helped you journal successfully in the comments. We’ll be expecting.
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