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All in "Journaling"

Journaling and Coloring: From Hobby to Creative Enterprise

I have been into journaling some 30 plus years ago, back when fancy journals weren’t in style. My journal was my go-to pal at various stages of my life.

And coloring? My interest in coloring started in early 2015 back when the adult coloring book market was flourishing. The books looked awesome, the designs to me were a source of envy. I thought “I must create art like that.”

I bought all sorts of coloring books, courses, apps, learning materials, and anything I could to get a grip on this thing called coloring.

I got a number of software applications that create designs automatically. They were okay but I wasn’t pleased with them.

To make the story short, I painstakingly learned to create my designs – from hand-sketching to transforming them into digitized print quality images.  I packaged my designs as coloring journals and published them at CreateSpace and Amazon. I also sold them at Fiverr and Etsy.

Since taking on my creative hobby, I have gained new meaning in life beyond being a work-at-home mom. Although I had creative streaks while at a young age, like all of us probably did, now I am confident about the idea that I am an artist.

Lessons from a Hobbyist

Here’s what I found out through the course of roughly four years pursuing my hobby:

  • First, it’s fun. It is like child’s play and enjoying a treat at your favorite candy store!
  • Second, it’s rediscovering my long-lost creative self again. It’s liberating.
  • Third, it blessed me with a strong sense of pride in my hands. It feels really good to let things come out of the realm of imagination and give it form.
  • Fourth, it can be a great source of income. I haven’t fully maximized my earning but I did earn something.
  • Fifth, it can be a life-long career especially when taken seriously so that it matures from simply just a hobby.

How to Transition from a Hobbyist to a Careerist

You know that a hobbyist is one who pursues a particular hobby.  A careerist, on the other hand, is one “whose main concern is for professional advancement, especially one willing to achieve this by any means.” (Source: Oxford Dictionaries)

It’s great to have a hobby. It keeps you up and going and always young at heart; but how about making a career or business out of it?

Why not? 

I am not there yet but I have learned valuable lessons that I live by, moving forward:

  • Have a goal. What do you want to achieve with what you have? Where do you want to be? How do you see yourself years from now?
  • Small steps matter. As a saying by Confucius goes, “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.” It’s also about practicing the Tortoise mindset: “Slow and steady wins the race.”
  • Practice, practice, practice. As you may have already known, practice makes perfect! It is also by practicing that you earn experience.
  • Learn from others. You don’t always have the answers nor the skills needed so you have to turn to others as a rich resource.
  • Develop your own techniques. You may copy or emulate how others do things. Let it be a start, but it should not be the end. There’s no place for stagnation in this dynamic world. Soon, you’ll discover that you are unique on your own. You can never replicate others nor can they replicate you.
  • Believe in yourself. It’s so easy to succumb to insecurity and self-pity upon seeing the remarkable works of others and how far they have gone. However, you should always believe in yourself. If you don’t, who would? No matter how well people cheer you on, it would all be for nothing if you run away from who you are and what you could be. As Jason Mraz’ song Details in the Fabric says, “Hold your own, know your name and go your own way… everything will be fine!”
  • Take action. After all is said and done, brilliant ideas are useless without action. Action makes things happen so go for it with the belief of success despite the odds.

So what now… or what are you waiting for?

If you’re a hobbyist, you may want to think about taking your hobby to the next level. However, if you are happy basking in the joy and solitude you get from your hobby, by all means, stay on with it. After all, you are the captain of your ship and there’s not one single path to everything.

But if you’re ready, why not?

It’s worth a thought, a try, or a challenge. For sure, everything starts with a single step.

You decide.

Journal: Your Personal Companion
Dec 03, 2018

Journal: Your Personal Companion

This is unlike an accountant’s, academic or scholarly journal.

A journal is a written, personal account, expression, creation, illustration, log, record, monitor, chart, chronicle, doodle, presentation, documentation, organization or diary of what’s going on in you.

How Your Journal Should Look

Keeping a chic journal surely inspires and motivates to start and pursue a journaling habit.

You may use a textured leather-bound classic journal or a spiral-bound floral-inspired and colorful one. You have plenty to choose from.

I have used simple, lined notebooks over the years, back when journals were not in vogue.

I do have the fancy ones but there’s something about how they look that stops me from journaling. Weird, I find pleasure in just looking at them.

Different folks, different strokes…

Your choice of journal is preferential.

Moreover, how your journal looks is really immaterial.

What gets written on your journal

How often or regular you write

How engaged and committed you are to journaling

How you experience the process of journaling

Those are the more substantial points in relation to keeping a personal journal.

Personal Journal: A Mirror of You

With everything that gets into its pages – the beautiful and ugly, good and bad, truths and half-truths and what not, your journal really is a mirror of you. It speaks tons of you.

Your journal is yours.

You own it.

It is yours to keep today, tomorrow and for years to come.

You decide what goes in, what comes out of it, and where it takes you.

Journaling is an adventure and your journal is your personal companion in this trip.

 

5 Popular Journaling Techniques for Beginners

5 Popular Journaling Techniques for Beginners

Journaling is a free world to explore. There is no right or wrong way to do.

However, there are others who have come a long way to show how they do it. Following are 5 techniques, models or styles to choose from:

1 – Freestyle Journal Writing

Freestyle journal writing is a no holds barred kind of writing.

It is done your way –  unrestricted, non-restrictive, not time-bound, unadulterated, uncensored, unstructured, non-directed, and uncontrolled.

It may be random, though not always and not as a general rule.

You write without strict consideration (or serious thought) of the following:

  • what to write (topic or theme)
  • why write (goal)
  • how long to write (duration)
  • how often to write (frequency)
  • how fast you write (speed)
  • what order or guide to follow (structure)
  • where to write (place)
  • what to write on or with (material)
  • how to write (format or presentation)
  • when to write (time)
  • how much to write (length)
  • how to write (tone).

The bottom line is - journal in your own terms.

2 – Guided Journaling

As the term implies, guided journaling follows a guide, model or blueprint.

You get directions by way of:

  • prompts
  • instructions
  • guidelines
  • structure
  • topics
  • themes
  • templates
  • questions
  • patterns
  • examples
  • quotes
  • spaces
  • dots
  • timing
  • reminders
  • ticklers.

Here’s an example.

For a 30-day gratitude journal, you get leads on what to write about on each day of journaling.

You may be asked to list down 3-5 things that you are thankful for identify concrete ways or specific actions to express gratitude.

For inspiration, you find quotations on top or below a number of lined pages.

Blank spaces are provided for doodles or drawings.

In general, you follow a guide for each day of journaling.

3 – Art Journaling

Journals are great to express creativity, whether done through free journal writing or guided writing.

However, there’s a third way that has grown in popularity among artists and non-artists alike.

It is art journaling.

Art journaling is keeping a visual or graphic journal or diary using art, imagery and text.

Graphic art is touching, moving and powerful.

An art journal is usually peppered with words or phrases, drawings, doodles, sketches, paintings, charts, cut-outs, photos, shapes, stickers, symbols, quotes, conversations, poems, songs, stories, patterns, graphic marks, and whatever feels good to be on the journal pages.

To start your art journaling practice, you need whatever art material that’s handy like:

  • Writing materials – pencil, ink pen, markers, paper, notebook, cards, post-it-note, journal, pastel, gesso paint
  • Coloring materials – paint, watercolor pens, colored pens, gel pens, glitters, charcoal, dye, paint brush, gel printing plates
  • Graphics materials – cut-outs, magazines, photos, illustrations, stickers, washi tapes, stamps
  • Cutting materials – scissors, cutter, knife
  • Gluing materials – paste, glue, tapes, stickers.

Remember: Except for your pen and paper (or journal), everything else is optional. 

Artistic or flat?

Colored or plain?

Clean or messy?

Planned or random?

Comprehensible or not?

They are immaterial.

What counts is expressing (or making sense of) what you think and feel in graphics and visual form.

4 – Bullet Journaling

Bullet journaling is a way of keeping track of things you want and need to be done following a structure or system.

Read more about bullet journaling here.

5 – Bible Journaling

Bible journaling has become a popular way of keeping a journal.

For this, you only need your bible and a pen. Art materials such as those detailed in the art journaling technique are optional.

The main idea is to find spiritual inspiration in the Bible or to let the Bible speak to you and give you guidance.

You then illuminate on the message by interpreting the bible verses in an artistic or creative way. These may be one or all of the following:

  • highlighting important verses
  • drawing
  • doodling
  • painting or coloring
  • embellishing.

Here are simple steps to do bible journaling:

  • Pray. This is where you seek guidance or inspiration on anything you wish.
  • Find a bible verse. You may do a page every day, randomly open a page or select a verse, or start with a familiar or meaningful verse.
  • Read. Read the verse or page that you have selected.
  • Reflect. Pause for inspiration or guidance.
  • Do art. You may start by sketching your idea first then outlining and coloring them.

These steps may seem daunting but they’re really not.

Besides, you may innovate or come up with your own.

The Best One

Among the techniques presented, which one appeals to you?

What possibilities do you see for yourself?

Perhaps you have your own way… or why not come up with one?

These are just five of the countless ways of journaling; say, if there were a billion people who are into journaling, there can be a billion ways to do it.

Again, there’s no right or wrong way with journaling; not even a fixed way to do it.

What’s important is for you to start journaling, commit to it, and keep doing it for as long as you can.

You’ll be amazed at just how much you get out of journaling.

For tips on how to journal, read this post.

 

 

7 Healthy Journaling Practices to Protect Your Privacy

Only you have the right to your journal.

You decide who sees its content and who don’t.

You’re the keeper of your journal but your journal is not always safe from prying eyes that could cause untoward circumstances.

Here are seven practices to keep your journal safe and private:

  • Journal privately. Find a place where you can write without being disturbed and bothering about people passing and peeking.
  • Close your journal pages when not in use. Don’t leave your journal open, even in a private place like your bedroom or office. You don’t want any of your family members – no matter how dear they are to you – to read what’s written on them.
  • Put your journal away as soon as you’re done. Never leave your journal anywhere public as this exposes your vulnerability. It would invite prying eyes, may be picked up inadvertently or worst, stolen intentionally.
  • Assert your privacy. Label it with something like “confidential,” personal property,”  “please don’t touch,” “return to… if found,” or something to that effect.
  • Choose simple over flashy.  Shun attention. If you can help it, do away with ones that arouse interest and curiosity. Keep away from intriguing journal covers like “Journal of My Sexcapades,” “Journal of People I Hate!” or “Journal of Dark Secrets.” Such titles are just too tempting for a thrilling read.
  • Camouflage. Put a simple, plain-looking or scruffy jacket to your journal. You may also put it among your other books on the shelf. If creating your own, use covers of vintage books.
  • Lock away your journal. Keep your journal in a safe place like a locked file drawer, desk drawer, safe box, or a secluded special place that others can’t easily access.

Taking these extra measures can protect you from being exposed to unnecessary risks and consequences.

Be Happy: Shake up 10 Happy Hormones in Your Body Through Journaling

What happens when you engage in journaling? 

You heal yourself inside and out.

How can this happen?

When you practice journaling, you bring yourself into a positive state of mind that boosts your hormones. 

Call these happy hormones, which are like pick-me-up pills that heighten happiness and alleviate depression.

There are ten of them: 

 #1 – Endorphin

This hormone is the body’s natural painkiller or morphine. It alleviates mood or euphoria and reduces pain and anxiety. The more you have of it, the happier you feel.

#2 – Serotonin

This hormone boosts your mood and makes you more sociable and likeable. It regulates a range of behaviors including appetite, sleep, arousal and aggression. It is responsible for diminishing craving, achieving restful sleep, boosting self-esteem, relieving depression, preventing agitation and aggression, and reducing anxiety.

#3 – Dopamine

This is the pleasure hormone that is responsible for your feelings of bliss, contentment, euphoria, pleasure, fulness of appetite, controlled motor movements, and sharpness of focus. It is strongly associated with reward mechanisms while striving to achieve a goal or pursuing a rewarding experience.

#4 – Oxytocin

This is your love hormone that’s stimulated by dopamine. It is secreted in response to social recognition, emotional bonding, cuddling as well as sexual stimulation, arousal, and orgasm.

#5 – Acetylcholine

This hormone makes you alert, sharpens memory, optimizes sexual performance, controls appetite and releases growth hormone.

#6 – Enkephalin

This is your hormone that restricts pain, reduces your craving, and inhibits depression.

#7 – Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA)

This hormone is found in the central nervous system. It fights stress, anxiety, panic, and pain. It promotes calm, focus, control as well as growth in muscle mass.

# 8 – Melatonin

This hormone is responsible for rest, sleep and healing or recuperation. It regulates the body clock and fights the aging process.

# 9 – Norepinephrine

This hormone is secreted in response to stress, making you feel excited, happy, alert and motivated. It fights depression, controls appetite, uplifts energy, and achieves sexual satisfaction.

#10 – Phenylethylamine (PEA)

This hormone is a powerful natural stimulant in your body that stimulates good mood, promotes bliss, stirs infatuation, diminishes anxiety, boosts energy, and sharpens focus.

Now you know how journaling can make you happy, it's time to do your part.

Get into journaling if not into it already or... 

do it as regularly as possible.

Journaling with Morning Pages: Start Your Day Right

Are you a morning person?

How familiar are you with morning pages?

If you are into journaling, have you tried it?

Morning pages is a form of journal writing that you do upon waking up in the morning. How you do it is pretty simple.

3 Requirements of Morning Pages

While any form of journaling in the morning would work, the most widely known method of doing morning pages has three requirements:

Requirement #1 – Write as soon as you wake up.

It’s best to do your morning pages right when you wake up. It is when your mind is fully rested and relaxed enough to not overthink and rationalize. It’s also when you’re able to write honestly and from the inner depths of your mind.

Requirement #2 – Don't stop until you have done 3 pages. 

This three-page requirement, which is roughly 750 words, is a good amount to come up with in-depth writing. If you stopped after one page, you’d only be scratching the surface with your journaling.

Write whatever comes to mind.

For the first half-page or page, you may find that you’re filling the page with blasé observations, but stick with it and you’ll likely end up with some gems in the rest of your writing. It’s all about being patient and committed.

While how long morning pages take depends on how quickly you write, people typically complete theirs within about half an hour. You’ll likely find that you get through yours a bit faster when you get used to writing them.

Requirement #3 – Write your morning pages by hand. 

There is this thing with putting pen or pencil to paper that’s special.

Writing with your pen or pencil rather than using the computer creates a much stronger bond between yourself and writing.

Computers, on the other hand, can stifle that connection and creative flow.

It’s also much easier to jump into your morning pages when you wake up if you’re just grabbing a journal, not turning on your computer and loading your word processing program of choice.

Since morning pages are intended to be private, it’s best not to let anyone read yours. This makes it easier to write honestly because you don’t need to worry about being judged for what you write. In fact, you may not even want to reread yours later.

Flexibility with Morning Pages

Creating a habit with morning pages takes commitment and action. However, if these requirements constrain you, then go ahead – do journaling in the morning, your style.

If you prefer using your computer or tablet, do so. Nothing can stop you. There are even sites like 750words that are specifically designed for that purpose.

It still is morning pages in a loose sense. What’s important is that you get into the groove of journaling and experience maximum benefits.

If you’re into morning pages, let us know:

  • how you do it
  • if follows the 3 requirements as discussed earlier
  • what doing your morning pages has done for you.

If you’re doing it differently, we’d love to know about it as well and learn from you! 

 

Journaling: 9 Remarkable Benefits Unknown to You

Why seriously keep a journal?

How important is it to have one?

What satisfaction is there?

What good does it do you?

What happens when you engage in the journal writing?

How does it work?

These are relevant questions you need to ask yourself most especially now when journaling has become a really big thing.

Before being drawn into this craze, it’s best to have a look at nine benefits you may possibly get from journaling:

  1. Solitude and freedom
  2. Relief from stress
  3. Creative spark
  4. Clarity
  5. Self-esteem and confidence
  6. Positive mindset and energy
  7. Healing
  8. Data, insights and applied learning

Feel free to identify your own as journal writing is really a personal thing and one is good to one may not be to you

Benefit #1: Solitude and Freedom

When you sit down to journal, the first thing you reap is solitude.

A desire for solitude may be misconstrued as loneliness, emptiness, isolation, seclusion, privacy, detachment, separation and solitariness.

Indeed, you may engage in journaling when feeling lonely or empty.

However, it could be more than that.

Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely. It is a positive and constructive state of engagement with oneself. Solitude is desirable, a state of being alone where you provide yourself wonderful and sufficient company.​ ~ Hara Estrof Marano, Psychology Today

More often than not, journaling is where you find:

  • Comfort.
  • Refuge
  • Peace of mind
  • Sense of security
  • Self-understanding
  • Peace of mind
  • Joy.

It is in solitude where you let down your hair and become the person you truly are.

It’s enjoying the freedom to be oneself.

No masks.

No pretenses.

No inhibitions.

You lose yourself and claim it back, way better when you let it go.

The magic takes place in solitude

Benefit #2: Relief from Stress and Anxiety

To many, there is no place better than being alone journaling.

Journaling relieves stress and anxiety.

It’s calming, soothing and relaxing.

It is a powerful tool for self-expression.

When you write in your journal, you let go of thoughts and emotions that frustrating, troubling, stimulating, and even uplifting but stressful.

As a result, you gain clarity, self-understanding, focus, confidence, and strength.

Now you are able to face and solve problems with calm, grace and confidence.

You notice that your health condition improves.  Ailments such as migraine, depression, anxiety, insomnia, heart disease, and other forms of illness diminish or disappear.

Benefit #3: Creative Spark

Journaling sparks creativity.

It is a tool for creative expression.

It challenges you to think, feel and respond in familiar, strange, novel or untested ways.

What you can do is limitless.

Write. Compose.

Draw. Doodle. Paint. Pastel. Ink.

Swear. Pray. Romanticize.

Tear. Cut out. Crumple. Fold. Paste. Mask.

Experiment. Challenge.

Ask.

Analyze. Theorize.

Exclaim. Explain. Solve. Resolve. Answer. Clarify.

Build. Destroy.

Organize.

Plan.

Whatever.

Up to you.

No right or wrong.

No black or white.

Only creative expression.

Benefit #4: Clarity

Journaling is excellent to clarify your thoughts, emotions, responses, and behaviors.

As you journal, you gain valuable insights that lead to clarity:

  • Clarity about yourself
  • Clarity about your situation
  • Clarity about future actions and directions.

Clarity about yourself

Who am I?

Why am I here?

What is my mission in life?

What do I live for?

What am I willing to die for?

What do I love the most?

What pains me?

How do I feel today?

Why do I feel this way?

What am I scared of?

Who are the most significant people in my life?

What do I want to be 5, 10 or 20 years from now?

What have I achieved?

What have I become?

These are some popular journaling prompts that would help you understand yourself at a much deeper level.

To the question of your life, you are the only answer. To the problems of your life, you are the only solution. ~Jo Coudert, Advice From A Failure

Clarity about your situation

Journaling is a wonderful way to understand the world that surrounds you.

It can help clarify events, problems, circumstance, and options as well as people influencing your life.

When you’re beset with a mind full of fuzzy, disconnected thoughts flitting here and there, journaling would:

  • reveal helpful and self-defeating patterns
  • keep you focused on what’s relevant and important
  • give you a broader view and understanding of the situation
  • clarify your goals and objectives
  • provide you answers to recurring questions
  • offer you options and alternatives.

Clarity about your actions and directions

As you understand things better, you also gain a clearer view of actions, solutions and directions to take to deal with whatever confronts you.

You’re able to carve out a more defined and definitive roadmap for your future.

Benefit #5: Self-esteem and Confidence

 Self-esteem is feeling proud, satisfied, confident, accepting and respectful of your abilities and worth.

Keeping a journal boosts your self-esteem.

When you regularly write in your journal, you keep tab of your progress:

  • how much effort you invest to achieve your goals
  • how you fire back when you experience setbacks
  • how you emerge victorious despite challenges.

You track how close you are to achieving your dreams.

You reaffirm the benefits you are achieving as you get closer to your goals.

You see yourself in a new light as you see how much you have transformed.

Even when you don’t always succeed, you realize that you are worth more than gold.

It doesn’t matter what others say.

You accept yourself warts and all, believe in yourself and take pride in who you are.

Benefit #6: Positive Mindset and Energy

When you write your journal, you release negative thoughts and emotions that block your view of things and approach in life.

Without these impairing blocks, you gain a new pair of eyes.

You see things in a positive light.

You open up yourself to new possibilities.

You respond differently.

Life has more meaning and you approach it with more life.

Benefit #7: Memory Recall

You’ll be amazed at how much you forget.

When your memory fails you, your journal is there.

Among other things, it would remind you of:

  • appointments
  • goals
  • actions
  • contact information
  • events
  • program of exercise
  • diet
  • medicine
  • accomplishments
  • debt to settle
  • income to collect.

Over time, your journal becomes a valuable catalog of memories that you can look at for years to come.

Benefit #8: Healing

Journaling is an excellent tool to clear the mind of clutter and manage thought patterns that adversely affect your well-being.

A significant number of people overlook an important health discovery that even seemingly random thoughts hold powerful energy. This energy seeks and finds an outlet to express itself.

What you think, believe and feel eventually manifests itself in many different ways; mostly, negatively, by way of lethargy, boredom, depression, sickness and, worst, death.

Journaling is a positive first step to deal with negativity. By writing on your journal especially on a regular basis, you:

  • understand yourself beyond the superficial level;
  • find out what wears you down
  • are able to redirect sneaky self-sabotagers
  • improve your general well-being.

These process helps stimulate and boost hormones (also called happy hormones) that make you live life in a different light.

Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease. ~Hippocrates

Benefit #9: Data, Insights and Applied Learning

Baseline Date

When you journal, you record information in real time:

When you journal, you record information in real time:

  • blood pressure
  • temperature
  • medication
  • type and amount of food taken
  • time and duration of sleep
  • activities done
  • projects accomplished
  • income and expenses
  • and more.

Over time, you accumulate a significant amount of data for multiple uses.

One day to collect the scattered fragments of myself, and give them symmetry, wholeness and use. ~Muriel Strode (1875-1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Monitoring data

How important is your baseline data?

What good does it do for you?

What do you make of it?

There are a number of things you can do with it, such as:

  • get insights on thought, emotional and behavioral patterns, shifts and trends
  • see changes, progressions, and transformations taking place over time
  • get answers to questions
  • track and verify progress against set goals, plans or programs
  • derive observations, findings, conclusions, plans, and actions
  • define measures or adjustments to take
  • respond to changing situations on a timely basis.

Data for improved decision-making

Once you realize the value of your insights, things begin to shift in the way you think, feel and behave.

Journaling offers this opportunity for personal growth and development.

Data for product creation

Browse your journals and see endless possibilities of products to create and sell:

  • book of poems, prayers, and affirmations
  • children’s storybooks
  • typography of memorable quotes
  • checklists
  • cheatsheets
  • workbooks
  • blog posts
  • cards
  • cartoons
  • floral designs for fabric
  • mugs
  • textures.

You name what else.

The list is endless.

Data for planning

When you have solid data to work with, you may define what you want and come up with a plan for it.

Your plan would include:

  • goals
  • objectives
  • activities
  • timelines
  • expected outputs
  • people or expertise involved
  • designs
  • resources needed
  • among others.

I’ve been keeping a journal for decades and have experienced first-hand what it can do to me; so, if you ask me why I should keep a journal, I have all these 9 reasons to tell.

How about you?

What benefits have you gotten from journaling?

I would love to learn how journaling has changed or enriched you. Go ahead, share with us below.

How to Start a Journaling Practice

If you are new to journaling, you probably may have asked:

  • How do you start journaling?
  • Is there a proper or right way to do it?
  • When can you start?
  • What materials do you need?
  • How can you succeed at journaling?

I started journal writing in my late teens over 30 years ago (yes, that’s how old I am) when journals weren’t in style and were called by a different name. Yes, diary! And guess what, I used plain old ballpoint pens and lined notebooks. My journaling practice included writing my thoughts and feelings, inspiring quotes, expenses, contact information, daily to-do list and accomplishments, sketches, stories, insights, class notes, outlines of things to write, relevant facts and figures, among other forgettable stuff.

My daughter started journaling at elementary some seven years ago with just a pen and paper. It was a lot of girlie stuff, love notes to me, doodles, and stories. She still does now that she’s at Grade 10 and oh, dear! She has become so much better. She does it every day non-stop. She loves art so her journals are full of it.

We both weren’t well aware that what we were doing was journal writing. We just started it.

We didn’t think if there was even a proper or right way to write our thoughts, feelings, and creations on paper. We just did it.

We started when we felt ready. We didn’t give a thought about when. We just did.

We used whatever was there. Nothing fancy. Just plain old paper and anything that writes on it.

You may do that, too.

Journaling is simple. It knows no rules. People make their own. 

It is inspiring to use fancy journals and accessories such as:
  • ink pens
  • coloring pens
  • markers
  • stickers
  • stamp pads
  • sketch pads
  • dividers
  • acid-free papers
  • watercolors
  • gelli plates
  • glitters, and
  • various other embellishments.

You don’t have to.

It’s really up to you.

So about those questions, the answer is – Just start.

There is no right or wrong with journaling and how you do it is really up to you.

If writing long entries is what you enjoy or find helpful, do so.

Even the format is up to you.

You may jot down a few bullets or lines to serve as your memory aid.

However you do it, find a medium that’s comfortable.

8 Smart Tips to Advance Your Journaling Practice

There are countless ways to do journaling. 

Anyone who is into journaling can teach you a thing or two on how to do it.

Here are eight smart tips on journaling that you can learn from:

Tip #1: Find a journal that inspires you

Your journal doesn’t have to be fancy.

It can simply be a lined notebook oftentimes used at school.

It can be from recycled or recyclable paper that you buy or bind.

Use your computer, if you wish.

Whatever it is, let it be something you would spend long hours with (or, perhaps, most of your life).

It should inspire you to keep journaling even when you don’t feel like.

Tip #2: Keep things simple

Keep your journal log simple and short.

You don’t have to write kilometric paragraphs or error-free sentences.

Journals are supposed to be relaxing and liberating.

The more you keep things simple, the more you get out of it.

As such…

Forget about rules.

Even your own.

Take things easy.

Focus on opening up and being mindful of your thoughts and feelings.

Do that and you’ll be fine.

Tip # 3: Write freely

Your journal is your kingdom.

As a ruler, you do as you please.

Nobody can tell on you.

Don’t hold back.

Don’t make your handwriting lovely.

Don’t even correct mistakes.

If you have the urge to end each sentence with a stop, question mark or exclamation, stop!

Write freely – whatever and however.

Cry, sulk, laugh.

Be happy.

Tip #4: Focus on your feelings

The most important person in your journal is you.

Focus on you – most especially your feelings that affect your thoughts and behavior.

Being mindful of how you feel could liberate internal blocks or bolster positive energy.

If you are stumped about what to write, begin with the phrase, “I feel…”

This will unblock you and let your thoughts and emotions flow freely.

Soon, you’re better able to journal your thoughts and feelings.

Tip #5: Use prompts

If you’re struggling with what to write, use prompts to get your juices flowing.

Journaling prompts are idea starters that can aid and boost your journal writing.

They do wonders specially when you don’t know how to start, what to write, or how to keep going.

Examples of prompts are:

  • Think about a horrible experience in your childhood that transformed you into the person you are today.
  • Describe your perfect career and the reasons it would fulfill you.
  • Who is the person who influenced you to seriously pursue a profitable hobby or business?
  • If you were to start all over in your relationship with your significant other, what would you do differently?
  • What are your greatest regrets in life and why?

Tip #6: Make sense of your journal

Take time to review your filled-up journals.

You would understand yourself more if you do so.

Over time, you will see clear patterns of how you think, feel and behave.

Be open to possibilities while being as objective as possible.

Don’t judge, beat or belittle yourself.

Accept everything in it – good or bad, tasteful or distasteful, delightful or horrible.

Think – How can your discoveries improve your circumstances? How can they help you grow?

Focus of them.

Proceed from there.

Tip #7: Protect your privacy

Your journal is a sacred part of you. It is a window to your soul. It is therefore very important to feel secure writing and pouring yourself into it.

If you’re haunted by fears that people would violate your privacy, it is important to take the necessary steps to allay those fears.

For ways to keep your journal private, click here.

Tip #8: Keep going

Let journaling be second nature to you

Write daily.

Write when you feel like.

Write even when you’re under the weather.

Write for as long as you like or as briefly.

Write about anything.

Write about nonsensical or extraordinary things.

Write or do art.

However, do it regularly and don’t stop.

Soon, it would become effortless and involuntary.

By then, you shall have developed a great journaling habit!

Journaling: A Versatile Experience for Everyone of All Walks

Journaling or journal writing is putting pen to paper to write, express, illustrate, document, capture or record just about anything you want, need to or feel like.

In the past, journal writing was done using a simple lined notebook, blank book, slum book, or diary.

These days, you have all sorts of fancy, chic, colorful and handsome journals on just about any topic.

You may even create them yourself, by binding lined or blank sheets or through printshops.

Journaling with Shabby Sheets

But who says you need to spend a fortune for those commercial journals?

Well, you don’t!

You may use any writing material for your journals:

  • Clean, unused paper
  • Recycled paper
  • Crumpled or torn paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Receipt
  • Bus, movie or event ticket
  • Post-it-notes
  • Card
  • Index cards
  • Cardboard boxes.

If there’s nothing else, your palm would do the trick. I use Google mail on my cell phone every day, these days.

Worry about posterity later. For the moment, capture whatever you must.

Your goal is to seize the moment (and making sure to move your writing over to a more durable form afterward).

Believe me. I’m no newbie to this kind of journaling.

Journaling for Moms

Like any kid with a fertile imagination, my little ones whipped up just about anything – stories, poems, jokes, quotes, thoughts, doodles, songs, shapes, shades, textures.

Their creative stock came randomly, unplanned, and in splashes, bursts and roars. A mom has to be ready for these but many times, I wasn’t. I had to settle with what I had, including shabby, throwaway sheets.

I could tell lots of stories about this but that would be for another post.

Looking back, I find those moments precious and priceless. I can say with certainty now that they won’t happen the way they did… especially now that my kids have grown up.

I’m glad I took the pains of “catching those happy moments” even with shabby sheets, which I have kept, by the way.

Publishing: Journaling to Write a Book 

For those glued to their screens like forever, rest assured that your computer doubles up as a journaling tool.

That’s how my youngest son’s book got created. I was sitting on a work table across him tapping (almost pounding) my laptop keys to capture his words, verbatim.

 Blogging: Journaling with Your Computer

Those who are into blogging know how well they are able to chronicle their activities, take note of their experiences, thoughts, emotions, wisdom, even silliness. Call that online journaling or weblogging where you use a website as your diary or journal.

Summing Up

Journaling is for everyone and for various purposes. It may capitalize on writing materials that are readily on hand, including shabby sheets.

The purpose of journal writing is to capture ideas, emotions, memories, stories, poems, art, and practically anything you want to be written.

On unplanned moments, use shabby sheets and move them over to a form that would withstand the test of time.

Here’s your challenge: Do whatever it takes to write down what you must. 

Journaling is an experiential process whose benefits go a long way.