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Monday, March 16, 2009

How To Write A Journal Entry In Ten Easy Steps

This is an entry originally from my A Creative Journal blog:

When beginning to keep a journal the simplicity of what you are trying to achieve can feel confusing at times. For those who need it, follow this outline and you can’t go wrong. Keep in mind that there are no rules when it comes to writing a journal.

1. Find something to write on. Whatever you have on hand is fine. Or you might like to shop for something that makes you feel good about writing inside the pages.

2. Find something to write with. I love a pen to be smooth and flowing when I’m writing. Just make sure the implement feels comfortable in your hand. Of course, if you prefer, or need to, use a word processor, typewriter, or similar instead.

3. Find time to write. Choose a time of day when you won’t be interrupted by others. This can prove a difficult task. I tend to go out to find my moments of solace. Make a point of being alone to write in your journal.

4. Find a place to write. I enjoy sitting in a cafe with a long black coffee at my elbow. I enjoy the bustle of people around me. You may prefer the privacy of your own room. Sitting in the same place to write can help you get into the right frame of mind for journal writing.

5. Date your entry. This may seem a real drag, but I would suggest this is the only real rule when it comes to keeping a journal. You’ll be amazed just how useful having each entry dated can be. I’m constantly looking back through my journal to confirm some fact in our family or to help work out some vague point.

6. Start writing. Just write whatever comes to mind. You may need a journal prompt. There’s plenty online or find more here real soon. There will be heaps of prompts in this blog soon. Set a timer and write, if that helps.

7. Be creative. Try different techniques, such as lists, collage, drawing, other visual styles, or whatever takes your fancy. Your journal is a place to express your thoughts and emotions. Forget the rules and what others expect. Play with ideas and use your journal for your own benefit.

8. At some point stop writing, expressing or creating. Decide on a time or page limit, when your materials run out or just when you feel you’ve written all that is on your mind.

9. If you can, reread what you’ve written. Either read it directly after making the entry or set aside a time to read your past entries. There is much to gain from rereading your journal entries.

10. Make a commitment, to yourself, to write regularly. While daily entries are ideal, there’s no limit to how often you should write in your journal. I simply suggest you make it regular activity. You gain some benefit writing a single entry, but the greater benefits remains in making a habit of writing in your journal.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng


  1. Anonymous10:10 pm

    Thanks for this. The only way I've found to journal semi-regularly is through lists. I do five things I'm grateful for (other focused), five things I acknowledge myself for (me focused), and an I enjoyed, an I contributed, and an I learned.

    When traveling I attempt a more narrative journal and am just beginning to explore collage for that.

    Glad to find you. Stopping in via 52WoC.

  2. Hi Lynn,
    I'm so glad you found this entry useful. Thanks for sharing what you like to to do in your journal. I'm sure you will grow into various expressions in your journal writing. It's what usually happens, yet I still like to write list entries every now and then in my own, too. Thanks for your comment. ;-)