My Top 7 Journaling Tips 2

WHETHER YOU’RE NEW to journaling or have been journaling for years, it’s helpful to know what works for others — what keeps them motivated to continue journaling on a regular basis, as well as what keeps their journaling experience fresh and enlightening. So I’ve decided to share the top 7 tips that work for me.

Without further ado, here they are:

  1. Schedule your writing time. This is a good rule for pretty much anything you want to accomplish. If you don’t schedule it (whatever “it” is), it probably won’t get done. Our lives are busy, full of commitments and responsibilities that tend to crowd out our commitments to ourselves. So put it on your calendar, or write at the same time every day (after breakfast or before bed, etc.) to keep writing a regular part of your life.
  2. Don’t expect perfection. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’m a proponent of daily writing. But the truth is, even the most committed journalers skip days sometimes. No one’s perfect. I schedule my journaling time five days per week, taking weekends off. I still journal on weekends if I feel so inclined, but scheduling a couple of days off each week gives me a sense of space and makes writing less a “have to” and more of a “want to.”
  3. Know your purpose. Journaling for journaling’s sake gets boring. You need a reason for writing to keep journaling fresh. I journal to record life events, anchor my memories, process my thoughts and feelings, play with new writing techniques, and explore deeply held beliefs and behavior patterns. My journal is a place to record dreams and goals for the future. And it functions as a way to hear and acknowledge my inner wisdom. I include gratitude journaling to remind myself of all the good in my life. And I also sometimes write just to vent. Why do you journal?

    [bctt tweet=”Trying out new prompts and techniques keeps journaling fun and allows you to explore more deeply.” username=”writingthrulife”]
  4. Write with a playful attitude. One of the great things about journaling is that there are no rules. You can write sideways and upside down. You can use colors or draw images on the page. If you journal on your computer, you can insert pictures and voice recordings. You can journal poetry, make lists, or write pages and pages of prose. Even if you’re angry and want to vent, you can do so in any form that feels good — converting destructive energy into constructive energy.
  5. Expand your journaling with new techniques and prompts. In keeping with a playful attitude, trying out new prompts and techniques keeps journaling fun and allows you to explore more deeply than you would otherwise. You can explore through books with prompts and tips or you can even write your own prompts.
  6. Read past journal entries. At the start of each month, I read last year’s entries from the same month. And as part of my year-end ritual, I review my entries from the previous year. Reading past journal entries helps me to see and acknowledge how much progress I’ve made, reveals repeating or spiraling patterns in my life, and provides a basis for deeper reflection. You don’t need to do it like I do — you might choose to pick up a journal from ten years ago and read entries at random. It doesn’t matter how you do it. Reading past journal entries provides perspective, revives memories, and can be enlightening. As “Mikey” used to say, “Try it. You’ll like it!”
  7. Persist. When in comes to journaling (or any kind of writing for that matter), we all become discouraged or disenchanted with ourselves from time to time. We judge ourselves negatively, view our writing as a form of whining, and just generally want to give up. In spite of occasional discouragement or setbacks in your writing, remain persistent. Continue writing and you will, without doubt, reap the benefits of an ongoing and regular journal writing practice.

Do you have journaling tips to share? Feel free to add yours to this list in the comments below.


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2 thoughts on “My Top 7 Journaling Tips

  • Sara Etgen-Baker

    Great tips, Amber. Finding “time” is crucial for me. Actually the making or scheduling of time is a better angle that finding time. Making or scheduling time sounds more proactive than finding time. Finding time can weaken me because in the back of my mind I’m saying journaling and writing are not as important as something else. I also occasionally set aside time to re-read journal entries or pieces I’ve written. The time and distance from them allows me to see the entries and writing from a current perspective–a perspective that has grown as a result of the initial writing. I’m rejuvenated knowing that I can see growth and transformation. Have a great day!

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Thank you, Sara. Yes, I like the idea of making time vs finding time as well. And another benefit of reading past journal entries: discovering gems of prose and poetry. Sometimes I surprise myself by thinking, Wow, that’s a really original turn of phrase. Or surprised by a moment of spiritual/emotional clarity I had forgotten about. Reading my past entries is a little like opening the closet to discover a small treasure I’d placed there and forgotten.