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18 Life-Changing Tips For Keeping A Journal

Maybe you should write these your journal!

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2. Keep your entries short.

Warner Bros.

"I got over my idea that journal entries had to be long and detailed and let myself write short entries when my day was uneventful or too busy to spend 30 minutes writing things down." —charliej4b994dce5

"When I was younger, journaling was such an ~event~. I had to chronicle every little thing to make it seem worthwhile to write, have a beautiful notebook to write in, and even use a special pen. Now, being in my twenties with little time to write, I decided to just jot down a couple thoughts or things that happened each day. It only takes a few minutes, and it helps me see trends. It’s helped me manage my anxiety, and it’s fun to look back and see what I thought was noteworthy in a condensed format." —daniellerenees2


3. Use a cheap notebook or sketchbook.


"If you are nervous about committing to a journal, use a cheap composition notebook as a practice journal that you toss into your purse or backpack and just pull it out when the mood strikes. Some days you'll write a couple of lines, some days you'll write pages. With the cheap composition notebook, you'll get to try and you'll find your flow, your style, you get to try what kinds of pens/pencils/markers/etc., and you don't have to worry about being perfect." —Stella Smith, Facebook

4. Alternatively, be willing to splurge on the right journal.


"Buy a journal you think is absolutely beautiful. Something you love looking at and want to pick up, even if it means you have to splurge a little bit :)" —shoshanas2

"The right journal makes all the difference! I started out the year using a basic planner and two weeks in I switched to bullet journalling. It took me 6 tries before I found the perfect little book to fully commit but it was so worth it." —meryska

5. Don't write on the first page.

Tokuma Japan Communications

"Never write on the first page. It's a lot of pressure to write the 'right thing' for the first page. Turn the page to the next fresh page, and start from there!" —warriorslovecm

6. Don't stress about writing every single day.

20th Century Fox

"Don’t stress about writing something daily, it’ll just make it a horrible experience as a whole." —aliothgreen

"It might sound counterintuitive, but relieve yourself of the expectation that you will write every day. When I was a kid, I would get very excited about a new journal, write loyally for a couple days, then miss a day — because life happens. I’d feel like I failed, like I had to get a new journal and start over. Then, in 8th grade, I made the decision to stop expecting to write every day. And that was all it took. Sometimes I write every day, sometimes pages and pages in one sitting. Sometimes, when life is insane, I’ll write just once in an entire month. But I’ve successfully kept a journal for 12 years and filled over 13 volumes." —mirir


7. Create a relaxing routine around journaling.


"I’ve always been bad at keeping a consistent journal but I decided to make it my New Years resolution to write in it every day. I got myself a cute notebook, a few really nice pens, and I make a routine to write in it in bed right before I fall asleep to reflect on the day. It helps to treat it as if I’m pampering myself: I turn on strong lights and light a candle and then let the words flow." —kaitlind4

9. Keep it simple.


"Don’t be overambitious! It’s easy to get lost on Pinterest in pictures of beautiful journals. Keep it simple, keep it pretty. But every page does not need its own theme of washi tape, a Polaroid, and a pressed flower. If that is your kind of thing, go for it! But if that seems like a lot for you, find a simpler way to do it." —jacquelyntaylor413

"Don't think you have to be super extra about everything. I used to spend forever trying to make it look like all those Instagram photos and I started to hate it. When I finally chose functionality over 'Instagrammability' it made it ACTUALLY USEFUL! Now I use it every day and it doesn't feel like a chore, plus I have started developing my own aesthetic without even trying." —ianb27

10. Make lists.

Cartoon Network / Via

"If you're someone who gets too busy to journal every day or hates the commitment of having to do a long daily entry, then do lists of things instead! Like a gratitude log, or a mood tracker, exercise tracker...any form of tracker works really. This way you can jot down only the highlights of things and keep track of how your year is going. It will take less than a minute to tick off the most applicable column in your journal." —meryska

"Journaling doesn't just have to be writing out your day, especially when nothing eventful happened. I also make fun lists (favorite movies, bucket list, etc.), include quotes I love, make collages, and glue in little trinkets I acquire (movie tickets, stickers, business cards, etc.)." —nicoleee17


12. Create your own layout.


"Do what suits your style, because many people's minimal spreads/designs can also look awesome in addition to being more practical for them." —Naomi Meed, Facebook

"Make your journal helpful for YOU. A lot of the time I see something cool to put in my journal, but I realize it won't actually help me." —maddiec4dbdcafdc

13. Practice your handwriting.

Disney Channel / Via

"I bought a shitty little notebook to practice different handwriting and drawings on before I write/draw in my journal." —Eduarda De Souza Queiroz, Facebook


15. Try bullet journaling. / Via

"Bullet journaling has really worked well for me. Though there are times I add loose paper because something took up more space than I thought it would. Be creative and have fun, don't make it feel like an obligation." —KFort

"I LOVE bullet journaling because it keeps me so organized and it’s super cute and fun but it is difficult to keep up with it every day. I like to at least write out my schedule for the next day every night so that I can keep on top of things. Because bullet journaling is so fun, the nightly list often turns into a quote I heard during the day or a list of books I’d like to read and pretty soon I’ve filled six new pages with beautiful spreads! It’s very therapeutic." —emilys135

16. Or many different methods to see what works for you.

Relativity Media

"Allow yourself to explore various methods of journaling until you find the method(s) that works for you! This should be a time of creative exploration, not frustration!" —lorissam2

17. Look up writing prompts.


"On days that I feel like I don’t have much to write or say, I go to an app called Brainsparker — it’s got cards with different words or phrases that make you think. Writing prompts in general are great for adding even more creativity to your journal." —lindsays47545a9e3

18. Don't try to be perfect.


"Don't try and make it perfect. Embrace your brain and yourself and let it be what you need it to be, not what Pinterest says looks nice." —jamieleez

"Know that there’s no right way to have a journal!" —hailsishere06

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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