Beginning Your Journal
Journal writing is a wonderful, stress-relieving hobby that I’ve experienced from a very young age and I’ve enjoyed every single second of it. If you’ve been considering taking up journaling, here are a few tips I believe will help you find your feet. Or, rather, find your pen.
1) Select Your Personal Journal.
Purchasing your first journal is fun! And even after you’ve been writing in journals all your life, it never stops being entertaining.Select a simple spiral or composition notebook. Choose a journal with a unique or exquisite design. Find the one that speaks to you most.
Studies show that colors such as blues and greens and purples attract the most attention for writers because of their peaceful, calming, earthy tones. Which are just the hues that we desire when we feel the need to express ourselves, vent, or just relax for a few writing sessions each week. But, no matter what color, type, or design you choose, the price you pay is up to you!
2) Personalize It!
If you feel the urge to splurge, purchase some scrap-booking stencils, colored pencils, and even shimmery gel pens and rainbow sharpies are great to decorate with.
Design your cover and make it stand out. That way, it’ll be easier to find if you’ve lost it somewhere…. or if one of your conniving, annoying younger siblings has stolen it from you!
The most important part of composing your custom journal is to allow your personality to shine through its cover and pages, and most important of all, to have fun! Note: Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal series is especially good for our artistic side. I highly recommend these books to boost your inspiration.
3) Make a Schedule.
Journaling may come easily to some writers, but if you’re one of those writers who has a hard time committing to a journal, perhaps you should make a schedule for yourself that works best for you.
Find a time of day or night when you are most available to rest, relax, and unwind. Make this time for you and your thoughts. Seclude yourself for an hour or two, however much time you may need. Allow your mind to release any tension it may be concealing from your friends or family. Write it all down. Stick to it, and soon, you’ll find the right amount of dedication you need to keep writing successful entries each week. Who knows? Maybe even every day!
4) Make Your First Entry.
Some find it awkward or weird starting a journal. What do I write? What do I say? How will I get the words to keep coming? What kind of writing voice do I have and how do I stick to it throughout?
My advice to you is: RELAX!
Stop thinking so much and just write. Write in your journal as if you are writing to a friend. Introduce yourself. List your likes and dislikes. Who your arch enemy at school is. Who your best friend is. What your favorite drinks are. These kinds of things are good small talk, and great prepping tools for bigger conversational entries later on. Let the words come to you and be yourself. Be confident in who you are and the rest of your entries will follow.
Remember:All writing is good writing. You’re never as “bad” as you think you are. You are a beginner and you are making an effort and, that in itself is truly amazing!
5) Find Your Inspiration.
Running out of ideas already?
A) Look up a few writing prompts online and choose the ones that are most interesting to you.
B) Read a new book that everyone and their mother is positively raving about. Write a public review or simply write your opinions about what books you read in your journal.
C) Remember those scrap book stencils and colored pencils you bought earlier? Bring them back. Light up your journal by transforming it into a masterpiece. Use your photos, notes, and special memories and tape them to the pages. Write a caption or two about what the photos/notes mean to you. Doodle. Accessorize. Dare to create with your colors. Art journals are very common. Make yours unique!
D) Write down your favorite quotes by your favorite authors. Write about why they inspire you.
E) Make a list of your crushes, your hobbies, favorite adjectives, etc… Make a list of everything! List making in general is a great way to propel yourself on a journey to self-discovery.
There are so many ideas out there. Use the resources that are given to you. Ask questions.
6) Observe. Reflect. Repeat.
Now that you’ve gotten started and you’ve been writing for quite a while, it’s time to get out there and explore. Take your journal everywhere you go. And, I do mean everywhere.
Step over the boundaries. Open your eyes. Open your ears. What are the people around you saying? What places have you visited? (Making a travel journal can help with this writing process.)
Pretend you are a secret agent or a spy. Write about all your wonderful life experiences in detail. Describe the things you’re going through.
There are stories all around us. All we have to do is keep our minds wide open!
My best advice to you:
Challenge yourself to write everyday, and you’ll be a practiced, successful writer in no time. Keeping a journal is only a small beginning to what you can achieve. And you will achieve many great things, whether it’s freelance writing or publishing New York Times Bestselling novels.
Sincerely, Amanda Bruns