How to Simply Grow Your Journaling Practice

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

As I've mentioned previously, in my post The Power of Journaling, I have been pouring my heart out to the pages of any notebook, diary, or journal I could find. It wasn't until the past several years that I became a more dedicated journaler with a daily (well almost) habit of writing.
Sometimes, we don't have the time or energy to write lengthy paragraphs of everything that is going on inside of us.  The good news is there are tons of ways to journal and all help to feed the habit of connecting with yourself.  There are formal and regimented processes, then there is a more haphazard approach.  I'll start with the formal because they are infinitely easier to develop into a routine and habit.  

The Formal Approaches

One Line a Day

In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin takes a year of her life and goes about a variety of different ways to make herself and her life happier.  She wanted to take up the habit of journaling but didn't feel she could commit to lengthy journaling.  So, instead, she came up with a line a day.   That's it - just any ole notebook and writing one sentence.  Anybody can do it and it's very easy to keep up with.  It takes less than a minute.  Can't say I've tried this method because once I start writing I tend to not stop.  Rubin even created a companion journal to the Happiness Project for this purpose.

The Morning Pages

Anybody who's read about creativity has likely heard about Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way.  It's 25th Anniversary is actually this year!  Her approach is every morning to write longhand 3 pages of whatever.  It's to clear out the cobwebs and to complete a brain dump of sorts.  So, it doesn't matter what you write as long as it is 3 full pages of stuff.  The idea is you start to let go of whatever inhibitions are holding you back.  It doesn't matter if you are an actor, a writer, a social worker, in marketing, in manufacturing, whatever.  Just the act of putting pen to paper for 3 pages gets the juices flowing.  She also created an Artist's Way Companion book for Morning Pages.  I must admit when I first read her book back in the 90s and tried to do these morning pages, it was a total failure.  I was also in high school/early college so getting up early to write really wasn't at the top of my priority list.  Now, however, since I don't usually sleep past 6 or 630am, they are amazing!  I do them almost every morning and the craziest and most boring crap comes out of them but it comes out!

Set Amount of Time Journaling

Giving yourself 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour of undivided time to simply write.  The amount of time doesn't matter quite so much as the repetition of just doing it.  Set your cell phone timer and promise yourself to not stop until it dings.

Bullet Journaling

This type of journaling has become very trendy lately and was developed by Ryder Carroll.  It is the notebook that you can turn into anything your heart desires.  It can be a planner, a diary, a journal, a to-do list, an art journal, a collection of thoughts, things, goals, whatever.  Tiny Ray of Sunshine has come up with an infographic even to describe all of the Bujo core principles.  

In its most simplistic state, it is a notebook with an index which categorizes/tags every page of the notebook.  Then, there's a future log, monthly log, weekly log, and daily log.  You can use all of these collections or none of them depending on your very own needs.  Signifiers then indicate within those logs what type of action/thing you are noting and if it has been completed or not.  

At its heart, the bullet journal is an effective and easy way to cross off appointments, to-dos, and run your schedule/life.  Then, there's the beautiful bullet journal.  I think almost every person that has heard of a #bujo aspires to make the beautiful awe-inspiring pages you can find on Pinterest.  Sublime Reflection has a great review of bullet journaling in general and samples of colorful, beautiful pages.

If you can't tell, I love some bujo even though I don't incorporate all of the elements all of the time.  Again, that is the magnificent part - you don't have to!

Digital Journals

There are many ways to digital journal and there are some upsides - mainly that you are able to add other media like pictures, videos, online content, etc.  It's also pretty easy to start as long as you have a cell phone, tablet, or computer.  You can use Word, Google Docs, Evernote, basically any word processing software or app.  Unless you are using something cloud-based, you can be limited to only being able to access when you are logged in to your computer.  There are also a plethora of journaling apps that have been created over the past few years.  Zapier has listed their top 10 here.  

I understand from a convenience standpoint and adding in other tidbits of content how digital journaling could be appealing.  Access at your fingertips on your device and always with you, but I'm a pen and paper kind of girl.  Boho Berry has come up with an interesting mesh of digital and analog which uses linked pdfs that you download and then annotate with a pdf annotator program.  So, you can write in the pdfs if you have a stylus or pen for tablets or you can type in them.  I think that could be the best option if you're going the digital route since it combines the best of both worlds.  

Art Journaling

I love art journaling.  It immediately throws me back to childhood and cutting out magazines and pasting whatever I could find to notebooks, construction paper, and feeling so free when doing it.  I guess we called it making collages back then.  Arm yourself with a notebook, some scissors, glue sticks, and some magazines and you are ready to go.  Obviously, things like washi tape, construction paper, markers, pens, make it more fun.  

I wish I personally was more habitual about the practice of art journaling.  I love it, but feel like it takes a lot of time to get into the groove of doing it.  Plus, with little LB, every time I would try and cut things out, she'd probably run away with the cuttings!

Guided Journaling and Journaling Prompts

Actually, for Father's Day, I bought my husband, The Journal of Us.  I hope to start using it with him this week especially in light of our upcoming move.  In general, guided journaling or journaling prompts take some of the guesswork out for you.  They provide a series of questions that you respond to.  If you are intimated by a blank page, this is certainly an easy way to get into journaling.  Just write the answer to the question.  

There are several awesome bloggers out there that have created entire websites based on journaling prompts.  Of course, there is one particular blogger I am thinking of and I can't find any of her pins or her website.  I'll update if I can find.

I did remember Moorea Seal!  Moorea Seal is the author of The 52 Lists Project which provides 52 weeks of journaling prompts that are based on a list format.  She also has 22 prompts available for free on her blog.

All of the types of journaling I've focused on thus far have been fairly regimented or at least have some kind of structure.

There is another way which used to be my way.

Haphazard Journaling

This is the journaling when you feel like it OR journal when you feel inspired to write.  I did this for years.  I felt like I had to be in some particular writing mood in order to get thoughts on paper.  You know what - that is false.  There is no mood; you just have to have the discipline to do it.  That being said, if I really don't feel like writing, then I don't.  You know why - cause I get to choose how to spend my time.

What are your favorite journaling methods?


No comments: