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February 26, 2021

3 Tips for Keeping a Daily Journal, Even When It’s Hard

Photo by Alina Vilchenko on Pexels.

Every great writer journals to keep their thoughts, ideas and stories in a place they can be referenced, and possibly shared with the world when the time is right. A place where those ideas can be revisited so they can grow into the masterpieces they are born to be.

Each writer has their own style to keep their thoughts and journals in order, but how does one figure out just how to do that? How do we find our unique approach to journaling that will fit your style, and a method that works for you?

Keeping a journal can be a journey of self-discovery and an act of self-love. You can use your journal to help you remember important events, or hold on to positive emotions to pull them up later, or simply as a way to improve your writing skills.

There is no one right way to keep a journal; it’s the act of creation that’s important.

Consider these three ideas to help you hone in on your style and the approach that works best for you to spark your own creative process.


1. Find your favorite kind of notebook.

I buy Moleskine notebooks, which are Italian. I like the way they feel, the way they look, and the quality of the paper. They come in all different sizes, which is nice too. So you can get one that is little that you can put in your pocket, or you can get big ones that are big enough to write and draw pictures in at the same time.

Consider the type of paper – do you prefer something completely blank, or college ruled, or graph paper? Will you color-code your entries with a hundred different pens, or is there a specific pencil you love to write with? The important part is how you make your notebook your own.

A journal is no good if you don’t enjoy writing in it! You have to find a method and a medium that work for you.


2. Find a time of day to focus on reflections.

When I was traveling, I would always block out time to write at the end of the day. I would sit down for a good hour and really review my day. That way, I had everything kind of recorded while it was fresh in my mind. If I saw something really amazing, I would find a place to sit and just jot it down, so that I didn’t forget it, whether it was a building or a scene of people that was unusual or interesting. Sometimes I actually make primitive little drawings that capture what I’m seeing.

The main part here is to make your journal a part of your day. If you build up journaling as a habit, even when it’s just a very short note or a simple sketch, you’re telling a little bit more of your story.

3.  Remember: it’s okay if you don’t write every day.

Right now I’m trying to write every day because I want to record my feelings about the pandemic. I want to be able to look back on this and understand what it was like. Because we will get to the other side of this. It’s important to me to record the roller coaster ride that this is.

That said, sometimes you won’t be able to write. Sometimes things happen beyond your control. Sometimes you find yourself separated from your journal, or so exhausted you can’t even contemplate lifting your pen. Life happens to all of us, so it’s important to forgive yourself and move on when you miss a day. Creating a habit of daily writing takes practice, and it isn’t an instantaneous process. The goal is to build yourself up and explore your own life.

Experiment with your medium and your method until you find something that works for you, strive to build a daily habit of writing, and allow yourself the space to make whatever changes you need. With time and patience, you’ll be amazed at what you achieve!

If you keep a journal, what tools do you use? What do you write about? How do you make time to write?

Leave me your comments. I’d love to hear what you have to say!

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