Beginners guide to journaling

A Beginner’s Guide to Journaling

Updated September 27, 2020

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A woman sitting on her couch with pen and notebook writing in her journal. A Beginner's Guide to Journaling
Image by Ana Tavares @ Unsplash

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Writing in a journal, or journaling, offers many benefits including increasing gratitude, helping to process your thoughts and emotions, and leading you to be more mindful. It can reduce stress and bring peace to your life. I mentioned journaling in a previous post on Choosing JOY and you can refer to that post here.

Today, I want to introduce you to Wrae Sanders who has provided the following Guest Post, A Beginner’s Guide to Journaling. She will gently lead you through the process.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Journaling by Wrae Sanders

Journaling can seem to be a daunting task at first. You have to take time out of your already busy day, get out a notebook and then write down your feelings? Yikes.

That can be a bit hard to get used to, and then some worry about their journals being found and read by those they don’t want to get into their inner thoughts (kids, spouse, etc).

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The First Step in Journaling

The first step of beginning a journal? Taking it slowly, and finding your own way to be creative with your thoughts. The notebook you use doesn’t have to be fancy. I’ve used regular ones that were leftovers from buying school supplies for my kids. You’re not looking to win an award for the best-looking notebook.

It doesn’t take very long to write in a journal, usually less than 10 minutes, depending on what kind of journaling you choose.

Some choose to do a one-sentence journal, which is as easy as it sounds. Just write down the date and one sentence about your day. I do this as part of my bullet journal. It’s been neat to look back at some of the older entries. My short-term memory is not great, so this can be helpful in remembering things that happened recently.

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Using Writing Prompts to Journal

Another option is to use writing prompts, which can be easily found online or by using Pinterest. This takes away the anxiety of not knowing what to write about. Some days this can be difficult so the prompts can help out a bit.

Prompts can also assist in deeper thought. This can help a lot with self-awareness, mental health issues, and other things you may want to work through.

If you want to try one or both ideas then free write, your journal can become a great place to write about your feelings. It’s all about how you want to express yourself.

Another way to make journaling fun and exciting is to decorate it. There are stickers, pens, ribbons, and many other accessories to do so. Many accessories can be found online and/or in stores.

A jar filled with colorful pens. A Beginner's Guide to Journaling
Image by Kelly Sikkema @ Unsplash


I love using pens to draw in my bullet journal. I’m not great at freehand drawing, but I try my hardest. The main idea is to make it pretty in a way that works for you. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece.

There isn’t a “best time” to write in your journal. Some like to do this first thing in the morning or right before bed, but this depends on your schedule and other factors.

Journaling can help detect patterns in thought and/or behavior. Do you feel sad or angry around the same time every day, week, or month? Do you hang on to the feeling or process and let it go?

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Bullet Journaling

Bullet journaling is something discussed earlier in the article. This can seem a bit intimidating but once broken down, isn’t much more than an elaborate journal. You can use it to track sleep, moods, exercise, how much water you drink, among other habits. There are hundreds of ideas on Pinterest and other sites.

Journaling is something that you can have as your own- everyone needs that. Start small, take your time and you will see the joys of self-expression.

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Thank you, Wrae, for your informative post, A Beginner’s Guide to Journaling.

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I’ve spent years journaling and have many notebooks full of thoughts, dreams, and goals.

What are your favorite ways to journal? What do you write about?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Beginner's Guide to journaling

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Other posts you will enjoy:

How Do I Discover My Joy
The Amazing Benefits of Gratitude
Kindness is Free

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