Journaling 101

I don’t consider myself a master at many things, but one thing I admit to being ‘pro’ at is journaling. I received my first real journal at my baptism when I was eight years old from my grandparents and I have happily kept a constant, consistent journal ever since. I’m proud of that seeing as I am 25 now. Thats a lot of memories, lessons and stories that I have written that will be remembered forever. My journaling has certainly changed over the years – I have vivid memories of writing in my journal about how I was sure I’d marry Orlando Bloom one day and writing my great and detailed plans of becoming an actress (so I could meet Orlando) – and I love going back to old journals and reading all the embarrassing entries. My high school year journals are a roller-coaster. They’re corny, dramatic, full of teen angst and sob-stories, full of my mushy self gushing about how my current boyfriend was just the best ever and how we’d probably get married, then there are several weeks of depression after the breakup with said boyfriends. I am especially fond of my entries I made while dating Wild Man, the detailed story of our engagement, the detailed entry of our wedding, our marriage and the descriptive tale of H’s birth and the 9 month pregnancy before then. Now my journal is full of H stories, his milestones and cute things he does. Its my really detailed scrapbook without any pictures.

Writing in my journal honestly keeps me sane. Writing calms me down, helps me cope with situations and levels me out. I get really cheesy and ‘real’ in my entries and thats embarrassing to look back on (especially when your husband is reading it with you and he hears all the dorky, super embarrassing things you wrote about him while you were dating)  but no matter how silly it all is, I am grateful I’ve kept these journals and never really missed a beat in my journaling.

It can be difficult to write in your journal often. Its tricky finding time daily to have time to write. Its hard for me too and sometimes my posts are pages and pages long and others are a sentence or two – but to me, an entry is an entry. As I’ve been thinking about this post I’ve made my list of tips and tricks to help motivate you to write in your journal daily or even weekly if thats a more achievable goal for you. These are the tried and true tricks that I have used in my years of writing and hopefully they can help you as well.

How to Motivate Yourself to Write Daily/Weekly in Your Journal:

  • Buy a cute journal. Even if its a few extra bucks than you’d like to spend, buy it. Trust me, you’re a lot more likely to write in a journal you are drawn to than one you aren’t attracted to.
  • Figure out what style you like. I change over the years, but currently I like hard back journals purely because I feel like my handwriting looks better. But several years ago I had a strong love for soft back journals. It changes, but as long as your current journal is what you love, you’ll write more. I also must have a lined journal. I once bought a journal without lines and I hated it because my writing always got crooked and it gave me terrible anxiety. Writing in that journal became a chore and took the joy out of writing. I’ve never bought a journal without lines since.
  • Use pens/pencils you like! Is it just me, or do some writing utensils give you cuter handwriting? I have a certain kind of pen right now that I swear brings out my very best handwriting and that motivates me so hard to write write write. I have some journals full of colorful pens and some that are all black or blue. It depends where I’m at in life I think. Right now I’m all about color and I love choosing a different color each day to write with.
  • Schedule time to write. I personally write every night before bed. Usually in bed, actually. This is when works for me. You’ll find a time that works for you if you put the effort into it. Thats the key – you have to actively find/make the time.
  • Think about your kids/grandkids. Maybe this one is weird, but I love writing and thinking about what my kids and their kids will think someday when they read that specific post. I’m sure most the time I’ll be flipping around in my grave with embarrassment, but I’ll also be glad my posterity has this journal of their ancestor.

What to Write About:

  • Um. Everything. (oh, you want specifics? ok, keep reading)
  • Write about the good. I love when good, happy things happen to me during the day and I can gush and ooze about it in my journal with lots of detail so I don’t forget a thing. You should see my post about the day H was born. I literally think it is half of my journal. I wrote every detail, every feeling – everything. It was such a happy day I couldn’t bear to forget a split second of it.
  • Write about the bad. Sometimes I feel like some of my journals are super depressing and a drag to read. But you know what? At that point in time thats how I felt. I write whats on my mind, why I feel depressed and what I’m going to do to fix it or I write about how I’m too sad to fix it and I’ll just wallow in self pity. Maybe someone will be able to relate to what I wrote someday and it can help them. Or maybe it will just help them feel better about their current situation. Or maybe it will just make them think I was really dramatic and needed to lighten up, you never know.
  • Write about your brain activity. I am an over thinker something fierce and my anxiety, worry and fear are usually calmed down a little when I can write and vent about the whirlwind going on inside my head. I’m sure it sounds insane, but its therapeutic and relaxing.
  • Write down your revelations, strong feelings, spiritual moments, etc. These are my favorite things to write about and my favorite things to look back at and read. This subject is personal, but its incredible to read about the time you were prompted to start a family, or when you prayed to know if your husband was the one you were going to marry, or when you were really struggling with something and the Lord sent you comfort, or when an earthly angel helped you, when you were prompted to serve someone, or when you were really anxious or worried about something and you read a scripture/General Conference talk/or heard a talk in Sacrament Meeting that gave you reassurance that all was ok and you are under Heavenly Father’s watchful care. If you never write in your journal, at least make sure you write down these things – they’ll be the most valuable to you.
  • Be honest. Sometimes in life you do really stupid stuff and it comes back to bite you in the butt and teach you a killer lesson. I know I have a specific high school entry about being caught in a lie and having to deal with the after math and just feeling like an idiot. Its embarrassing and awkward to write about these dumb things and it seems easy to just pass writing this stuff and pretend like it never happened. But personally I believe these will be some of the entries people will benefit from most.
  • Write about your hopes and dreams. Its fun to talk about what you think your future will be like then reading those old entries and seeing if your life is turning out the way you thought it would!

Writing in a journal is work, its a time commitment and sometimes it makes your hand cramp up – but I promise its worth it!

Happy writing!



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