How To Start Journaling + Things To Write About

I have been writing a journal ever since I learned how to write. I've been asked the question; 'how do you do it?' many times and I don't really know how to answer that. People make it sound like a burden, some kind of chore that has to be done but I just think that once it clicks it becomes your outlet for everything; emotions, feelings, experiences. A way to get everything out of your head. 
It is not a burden but more a form of therapy. It is where I go to let all of whatever is going on out. Put pen to paper in order to get whatever is going on out of my mind. To process what I go through, both good and bad. It should be fun and a way for you to express yourself and lock down memories.

As mentioned, my journal is kind of my therapist that I can have fun with. It is a way for me to process everything that happens in my life and inside my mind. It is never too late to start so let's get into how you can start and a few things you can write about: 

With everything you do you need to find your why. Why do you want to do it? What do you expect to get out of it? This is your motivation. Write this down on the first page of your notebook so you can always open it to remind yourself. Maybe leave a couple of pages so you can update how it has benefited you after you have started, has your why changed and if there is something new that you did not expect to come out of it. Have a 'why' to keep you going. 

Make it a habit
Making a habit is almost always just as hard as breaking one. Writing your journal is making a habit to do so. It is a change in your life and to make it stay incorporate it into your routine. Make it a part of your night routine. Do it the about the same time of the day. This does not mean that you can't write any other time of the day because you can definitely do that it is just to make it a habit that you can stick to. We thrive on routines so it will make it easier if journaling is a part of a routine.  

Set a timer
If you feel like you don't have anything to write about or if you feel overwhelmed then set a timer, it could be 5 minutes or 10 minutes and write what comes to you. This is a so called brain dump where you can get whatever is on your mind out on paper. It is very therapeutic, especially if you are having a bad day or is overwhelmed by feelings. In that time frame, never stop writing. Nothing that comes is too silly or weird. This is also great if you have a hard time falling asleep to clear your mind. 

No distractions 
No music, no tv, no other screens like the computer or phone. Let your journal be a safe and silent space where you can express yourself with no distractions. Focus on what you are doing. The pen writing on your paper. What comes to you and what you want to write about - let that be your center of attention. 

Do a Bridget Jones
Have something you always start with. Something to update. Bridget Jones always starts her entries with how many boyfriends she has, how many cigarettes she has smoked and how many calories she has eaten. Maybe it should not be those exact updates but maybe start with stating your current feeling, what you are wearing or the last song you listened to. It could also be a question. Just have something to start out with so you can get into it. 

Journaling is not just writing about your day. Go beyond that and be creative with it. I write about experiences, feelings, thoughts, things that impacts me, fears, gratitude, traumas/triggers, reflects on questions, observations, mistakes and what I have learned from them, ideas and poems/other creative writing. I also like to add a few quotes here and there and at the end of some of my entries I write about the current song I am listening to. 

Other things you can write about: 
  • A (happy) memory
  • 3 positive things that happened that day
  • What would you change about the world? And why?
  • Write a letter to your future self 
  • Write a letter to your past self
  • Make a list of your favorite movies/songs/books and how they have impacted you
  • What would you change about your life right now and what can you do to get closer to that change?
  • What makes you laugh out loud? 
  • When were you the happiest you have ever been? 
  • The best advice you have received and how it has impacted you
  • Your favorite quote or a quote that has impacted you
  • Three things you want to do tomorrow

Once you get into it, it should not feel like something you 'should' do - it should never feel like that. It should not be a burden. Go back to your why if you fall out of it. I have had 'writing slumps' for weeks, sometimes even months and that is totally okay. But then it starts buzzing in my fingers to start again and then I am back to my normal routine. Don't beat yourself up for not writing for a few days instead start journaling about why you haven't been writing or find a question or a topic to write about. 

Thank you so much for reading! Let me know if you journal in the comments below. If you do, what would be your advice to someone who would like to start?