How to Start a Journal: Helpful Tips

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In life, one of the most effective tools I have found for self-progression stems from starting a journal. I’ve recently spoke about how a journal can bring you happiness, but I also want to show you how to start one. Having a journal that you can use for reflection and analysis of any given situation in your life is a fantastic asset indeed. So, where should you start if you want to know how to start a journal?

Let’s take a look at what I felt were fundamental to making my journal a genuine success.

How to Start a Journal

Don’t focus on your writing quality

Remember, this is a personal chronicle – it’s not a fiction novel. You don’t need to worry about using witty turns of phrase or anything like that. Instead, focus first on getting some actual writing on the page to begin with. If you do that, you will find that your words begin to flow as you tap into the deep well of emotions that run within you.

I have found that focusing on getting the feelings out is far more beneficial than focusing on perfect writing. Great phrases and vocabulary is one thing, but a journal has to reflect how you feel, not how you want to sound.
Find a writing spot

However, while you don’t have to worry about the quality of your writing per se you do have to worry about the quality of where you write. I personally recommend using somewhere with ample natural lighting, and somewhere that forces you to sit upright. Sitting hunched over or slouched is only going to produce poor copy, so get out of the habit of sitting like this is if you can.

Find a writing spot that works well for you, and journal from there.

Have a backup

One of the worst things that could happen to a journal user is for the journal to go missing. If you worry that this could happen, then I do recommend having a backup. You could either take photos of your writing, or you could use a digital journal app and store it on a cloud device.

Whatever you choose to do, have some kind of back-up. Losing your journal is a brutal feeling and losing access to the thoughts and feelings that make you who you are even more brutal still. So, be sure to back it up.

Start with “I…”

One of the easiest ways to get out of a writing block when doing any kind of personal writing is to focus on the ‘I….’ side of things. This helps us to be more reflective in our thinking and behaviours. So, something as simple as things like:

  • I wonder….or- I would love to understand or-… I want to grasp…. 

These simple prompts soon make you start writing, and it you can soon find that you build up a massively list of interesting topics and ideas to use in the future. For me, this is the easiest way to know how to start a journal entry: focus on yourself.

Set a clock

However, you need to avoid writing pages and pages of personal reflections. I recommend setting a clock for 5-10 minutes, and seeing what you come up with in that time. Leaving yourself to write until you stop can often lead to over-thinking small issues and actually causing you to have issues with the very benefits that a journal would provide.

To avoid you having this issue, setting a clock means that you will look to get as much out as you can in that time, avoiding over-excessive writing or losing your focus.

This is for you, nobody else

One of the main problems that I often hear from people fearful of knowing how to start a journal is to do with the opinions of others. Frankly, who cares what someone else thinks of your journal?

These are your own personal views and reflections, so they belong to nobody else. Keep that in mind, and you can soon find that it’s much easier to write with the fluency and passion that you had intended to. Don’t worry about writing with fancy prose or being overly nice; be honest, be genuine, and reflect exactly how you feel. Don’t hold back!

Now it’s Your Turn!

Keep these factors in mind, and you should soon find it much easier to know how to start a journal that reflects you personally. Journaling is one of those self care activities that you should be doing often. Especially when big changes happen. 

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