Ready to start your 2018 journal? Alice from The Geeky Burrow shares her tips for starting a journal you’ll actually keep up with!
How to Start a Seriously Awesome 2018 Journal
My very first journal dates back to when I was 4 or 5 years old. I didn’t even know how to write, I simply draw silly characters and things and I scribbled my name multiple times. It was a cute little journal, with a puffy cover and little lock. I’ve spent my whole childhood with secret diaries like that shared with my girlfriends and occasional personal ones, always started and never finished. Then, when I was around 11 or 12, my mom gave me a beautiful red journal with Chinese decors on the cover and rice paper. It was my trusty companion during my high school years. Then I discovered Moleskine notebooks and the rest is histor
You may have noticed that I’ve never been very consistent with my journal writing when I was younger, it was just an occasional hobby of mine. I usually picked up my diary if I had something to share with it and nobody else. It was my best friend and I’ve been lucky enough to have parents who respected my privacy.
I’m sharing my story with you today because I know many people feel like January would be a good time to start journaling, and I’m not just talking about Bullet Journaling… I’m talking about a more personal way to share your thoughts in a long form. But also know you may find it difficult to start, so here is my little guide for you.
First of all, I would suggest you to pick a nice journal you like. Don’t go with the cheap, ugly one you bought at the supermarket for 1$ and never used. In order to establish a journaling habit, you have to pick a journal you’re looking forward to using every day. If you don’t like the thickness of the paper, the color, the lines, the way it doesn’t lay flat or the size, well, you aren’t going to use it. Trust me, I’ve been there.
I tried different brands over the years, but I think I finally found “my style”: a large Moleskine with lined paper. I love the size because it’s an A5 slim (less wide than a true A5) and, even if the paper isn’t fountain pen friendly, still works with my trusty Pilot G2 gel pen. During the last 3 years, I picked up Limited Editions (the geeky ones!) because they made me so happy. I’ve got the Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit (<this is a different version than the one I own) and the Harry Potter notebooks. I loved them all, but to be completely honest, the Hobbit Moleskine had too many pages for me (almost 100 more than usual). It was a deluxe edition, it was beautiful, but having it all those pages, it took me ages to finish it and I got a little bored in the end.
That said, the number of the pages is another thing to keep in mind, especially at the beginning. Choosing a thicker notebook can take too much time to finish, and you may get bored after some time (and a little bit discouraged). Being able to finish a thinner notebook (maybe even a Moleskine Volant or a Leuchtturm jottbook) would give you a feel of accomplishment.
What to Write
But what are you going to journal about? First of all, the journal is yours and you can do whatever you want with it. Don’t let your perfectionist syndrome stop you from getting started. I know the first blank page can be very scary, but here’s a hint: I usually leave it blank!
The Internet is packed with different journaling styles (art journal, junk journal, dream journal, book journal), but my preferred one is the so-called “dear diary” form. I actually wrote “Dear Diary…” at the beginning of my entries when I was a kid, but I stopped now. I just stamp the date and then let my thoughts guide me. I write about my days, special occasions, random thoughts in my mind (“Today I decided to move my Bullet Journal into a different notebook because I completely messed out with the old one…” Can you relate?), rants about things that upset me, a quote from a book I’m reading, and so on. I’m not a big decorator, but I occasionally glue down ticket stubs or fliers if they are about something I’d like to remember. I also have a separate journal inside a Traveler’s Notebook that I only use to preserve cards and random bits and bobs I receive from my pen pals.
As you can see, there are tons of different ways to journal. I mostly stick with a diary form because it has helped the the most throughout my life. Being able to write down my feelings when I felt stressed, upset, sad, helped me a lot. Like a weight lifted from my chest.
Write whatever you want. It’s your journal. Don’t stress yourself too much about rules. After all, journaling should be fun, not a chore.
When to Write
You don’t have to write every single day of your life (unless you feel the need). I usually find myself journaling every day when I’m going through difficult or stressful ties. Writing gives me clarity. Otherwise, I open my diary once or twice a week. It just depends, and I don’t mind letting my habit be less than precise.
However, if you have never journaled before or have a hard time sticking with it, daily writing can help you establish the habit. Choose when you want to sit down and write. I always do it at the end of the day right before or after dinner, because it’s when I can finally relax after a long day studying or working. But I know many people prefer to write in the morning when they are refreshed by a good night of sleep. Or maybe you’d prefer to journal during your lunch break. Find what works for you and try to stick with it.
Even finding time isn’t an issue for you, consistency is key at the beginning. Try to do it every day for a month. If that sounds too scary, try committing to a week or two, then make a decision on whether it’s something you enjoy or not.
Another way to establish a routine is to use journaling prompts, you can find plenty of them on the internet, Pinterest is a great source, for example (I’m going to add more resources at the end of this post). Personally, I prefer to free-write whatever is on my mind, but prompts can help you overcome writer’s block (especially if you’ve never journaled before).
I hope that my little tips will help you start your 2018 journal (or continue your journaling practice into 2018). If you’re still feeling some pressure, start your journal a little earlier than January 1st. This way you’ll have a couple of more days to form your habit and you won’t be afraid of writing a perfect day in a perfect notebook the very first day of the new year.
Are you going to start a new 2018 journal? Or maybe continue an old one? Feel free to leave a comment down below, I’d love to geek out about journaling with you all!
- Lavendaire’s videos on journaling
- Journals & Writing playlist by Becky M
- Morning Pages by Julia Cameron
- 365 Journal Writing Ideas: A year of daily journal writing prompts, questions & actions to fill your journal with memories, self-reflection, creativity & direction by Rossi Fox
- BookmarksAndBrushpens blog on Tumblr
- Journaling Junkie writing prompts and journaling challenge