Journaling is one of the healthiest hobbies one can adopt. Just grabbing a diary and writing down your thoughts and your feelings can bring you a great deal of comfort, solace and peace of mind. Very often there are times when we don’t know how to react in a tricky situation or we are unsure about how we feel about a certain problem. Writing down your thoughts on paper is a certified way of helping you think better and make better decisions. The advantageous associated with keeping a journal are widely known; so much so that doctors actually recommend writing when you’re diagnosed with any sort of stress or anxiety-related mental health issue.
However, writing or keeping a journal is sometimes not as simple as it sounds. Many people do not clearly know how to set up a journal. Additionally, when you’re not in the right state of mind and your thoughts are all over the place, a blank page in your hands can be quite intimidating. We have compiled a list of the best ways you can get past a writer’s block or set up a new journal entirely.
Things to think about before you start
There is no doubt about the fact that if you want to accomplish anything successfully, you have to have a plan. Similar is the case with writing. However, one method might work for one person and not for the other. That is, you really have to experiment with a couple of things in the beginning to truly find what works best for you. For example, for some people, the best starting point is just jotting down all they see and/or in their surroundings.
One of the most commonly adopted tips is setting up a fixed time for your writing. For most people, early morning as soon as you wake up works best. However, the time of the day that might suit you depends highly on the style of your writing. If you’re writing in way that is motivational and you’re thinking about big tasks that you want to accomplish, early morning is good for you. On the other hand, if your writing is mostly based on reflecting on your life/day/month/year, then just before bed might be the best time. Set a goal for your writing and then designate a time of day accordingly.
Another necessary designation you need to make is the place you will be using as your writing space. You need to be absolutely alone when writing a journal so it’s very important to find a spot that free from all distractions and where you feel comfortable. The peace of your own home is the optimal choice for many people but you can even find tranquility and comfort at a local coffee shop that you frequently visit. It all depends on you.
Once you’ve written a certain amount of words on paper, read through the text. This can be a great way to reflect on what your thought process has been and can further help improve the clarity in your head. Moreover, it is advised that you revisit your text every once in a while. The time away you get from your words is known to be therapeutic and to help in maintaining focus.
Speaking of focus, you should never set any rules or a predefined structure for your writing. All that does is restrain your brain’s thinking ability. When writing a journal, your main aim to get what you’re thinking onto paper exactly how it is. If you attempt to confine it to a structure or a topic, it loses all its authenticity. Although it might be helpful to develop an outline if you are completely flustered, never refrain from thinking out of the box.
Things to use journals for
Once you’ve made all above mentioned considerations, it is time for the writing to begin. Do not panic! It is completely normal to have a difficult start. The easiest kick off you can get is from your own experiences. Sit down with a pen and your journal and start describing any one of your life experiences.
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The last time you were happy, the last time you cried, your last relationship; anything. It is important, however, to not just state the events of the experience. Use your words to paint a clear picture; how the surroundings looked like, what were you wearing, what sounds you could hear etc.
Another prompt that can be quite effective is recording your affirmations. Make a list of the things that you think you like about yourself and those that you do not. This can prove to be an extremely effective way to reflect on your habits and groom your personality. Do this at the start of the month and actively work towards what change you wish to bring.
One major tip that many writers and journal keepers use and give to others is to develop the art of communicating with yourself. There is a voice inside each one of us; some of us just hear it better. This voice can be associated with your past, present or future self. Think of what you would like to tell your 10-year-old self and how he/she would respond. Record the whole conversation on paper and you will surely have some great content in your journal.
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Similar to the list of changes you’d like to bring to yourself, you can also make a list of the things that you would like to do or accomplish in the future. This “bucket-list” can be a great way to structure your writing. Write about a holiday destination you want to visit; how you came to know about it, why you want to go there, etc.
Lastly, perhaps the easiest and the most therapeutic style of writing is simply to talk about all the things you are grateful for in life. This practice can slowly but surely make you appreciate the smallest things around you and can help groom you into a humble person overall. There are different things different people are grateful for and if you write down yours, you will feel happier and more alive.
*In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you).
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