How To Journal

I’ve kept a journal since I was eight years old, filling 17 journals in the last ten years. In those ten years, I think I’ve gathered a good amount of knowledge on the subject of journaling and have even imagined myself in the future teaching a class on Journaling. From all of this, I’ve created a list of tips on How To Journal. 

Helpful Hints on Journaling

1. Your journal is not a canvas– If I had a class on journaling, I would have the textbook be the Wreck This Journal book. I feel like before you start journaling, it’s important to realize that your journal is not a normal art piece. “Wreck This Journal” allows you to feel okay with completely “ruining” your journal. This book is a great exercise in letting go of your journal being anything completely permanent; it’s not a finished piece, it’s a place for you to experiment and doodle and leave things unfinished. You shouldn’t be afraid to do something that you fear you will “ruin” the journal.

Once you have accepted this fact,

2. Pick a journal– If it’s your first journal, it’s a good idea to start with something thin. The excitement of finishing a journal will keep you journaling for much longer.

3. Resolve/Get Inspired– Often on the front cover of the journal I start, I write a list of things resolutions for the journal, goals, things to write about, and often I make a mood board.  This helps me get inspired for the new journal and perfect my journaling technique.

4.  Take your journal everywhere– Doodle in it at every possible moment, collect found things in the back cover. Press leave and flowers between the pages, draw on top of old receipts, tape in a pamphlet that someone shoved in your hand as you were crossing the street.

5. Document everything– I had a journal one time that I would put something in EVERY SINGLE DAY. I could screenshot and print a text conversation, or print out a tumblr status, or put in a group of receipts that described the days events or a polaroid of my friends. Just document it all. This is also a good way to make sure you fill the entire journal.

6.  Decorate the cover– This could also be step two, however, I prefer to decorate the cover last, fitting the theme of the journal, and hopefully giving insight to the rest of the journal.

7. Don’t get discouraged–  Journals can take a long time to fill. Sometimes I get frustrated with how many pages I have left if I dislike the format, but pushing through that dislike will really help you grow as an artist. Forcing yourself to find new ways to fill the same space is a great exercise in diversifying your artistic creations. Additionally, having a finished journal is amazingly satisfying.

Most of all,

8. Don’t put pressure on yourself to make any of it look “good”– Some pages will look presentable, some will make you feel like ripping out the page and dramatically throwing it in the trash (DONT). But it doesn’t matter. Your journal is for you. Sometimes pages will turn out well enough that you feel proud to share them. Many will not. Do not be discouraged by the one’s that don’t. Create, create, create. That’s the most important thing. Just don’t stop creating.

(this post will be continued with advice from other journal-ers in the near future so keep your eyes peeled!)

8 Comments

  1. Rose · January 6, 2014 Reply

    What if you have ugly handwriting?

    • Maya · January 6, 2014 Reply

      all handwriting is cool! Chicken scratch is perfect. I actually can’t think of any handwriting that wouldn’t be good. Look at allmymetaphors and bollykecks, they both have very different handwriting than me, but it adds so much character to what they do! In fact, I actually purposefully make my handwriting messy sometimes to get a different feel. I promise you, it will work. Good luck!!

  2. emily · January 6, 2014 Reply

    I’ve only been journalling for a short time but I find it’s best to try not to regret things, like if I found a cool picture in a magazine I try to let it go if I think I’ve torn it out too small or left a bit by accident.

    • Maya · January 6, 2014 Reply

      YES! This sort of goes with the “don’t put pressure on yourself to make anything look ‘good'” like “mistakes” are not mess ups! Just go with it!!

  3. Chloe · January 14, 2014 Reply

    I was wondering if there is a certain type of journal that you particularly enjoy? 🙂 Like a regular composition notebook or an art pad?

  4. Audrey P. · January 15, 2014 Reply

    I love this. I honestly love creating a magic journal myself – but I’ve been so slack lately!

  5. martha · January 15, 2014 Reply

    Hi! I was wandering because I want to study art after i graguate, what you would say, because in art class we have to keep a sketchbook and a art history notebook, which will both be used for my portfolios next year.however, i tend to use them as journals too, but when I need to record something more personal, i get scared of putting it down in them. Should i worry about that?

  6. Angelica · April 8, 2014 Reply

    What if you forget to write important events in your life? I’m such a forgetful person. I dislike my journal at times because I have forgotten to write about the week I went to Europe or something great that had happened one day. I feel regret also because I know my journal could be almost finished by now, but I’ve only written 1/4 of it. Is it normal to feel this way about a journal? I feel silly, but those moments were important to me and I’m annoyed with myself because I should of written about those moments.

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