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!)