Whether you are safekeeping your memories, documenting your day to day activities, saving your ideas, or harnessing your writing skills, keeping a journal is the best way to do it. Some people keep a journal to note of their milestones, or for sentimental reasons, while others do it for writing practice. Are you interested to start your own? Here are 8 simple and easy ways to journal effectively.
8 Simple Ways to Journal Effectively
# 1 Find your medium
Determine where you would want to journal. Where are you most comfortable with? What do you find more convenient? Some writers would advise you to keep a diary as writing long hand has more benefits than typing. Writing by hand stimulates the brain the way typing can’t. If this is doable for you, then keep your journal on paper. Write on a notepad, buy a special or ready-made journal, create your own, or reuse an old notebook.
You may opt to record your thoughts electronically. Write on a Word document or keep an online journal through a blog (you may choose not to publish it). Personally, when I’ve shut down my laptop and a sudden inspiration comes to me, I save it on the Notes of my phone. I then transfer it on my blog or keep it in a Word document.
#2 Remember your ‘why’
Why do you want to journal in the first place? Is it because you’ve read that keeping one is one way to be better at writing? You want to exercise your brains and writing is one great way to do it. Or maybe you just want to organize your thoughts and write down your ideas?
Is it because you want to record everything that happens in your life; from the mundane to the epic ones? Are the thoughts and ideas that go inside your head overwhelming that you need an outlet or else it will drive you crazy?
Are the emotions you’re feeling too much to bottle up? Learn from the wise words of the late Maya Angelou: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Why do you want to start a journal? Remember your ‘why’.
#3 Make it a hobby
When you know why you need to do it, you will do it no matter what. Write religiously. Make it part of your routine to write on your journal. Set aside at least fifteen minutes of your time to write. The best time to do this is before going to bed. That is because you are ending your day, there are no more chores to think about, and there are lesser to no distractions. The memories of the events you want to record are still fresh too.
Some people are more comfortable to write early morning. The mind is more relaxed, it’s quiet and the fresh new smell of morning could me motivating.
Write even when there is nothing extraordinary that happened that day. Write even when you’re too tired to write. Most of the time, you are just lazy and eager to go to bed. Make it a hobby to write on your journal.
#4 Journey with your journal
Although it is advisable to document your life events or gather your thoughts at night, it is also good to write in your journal when you travel. Bring your paper journal or laptop with you when you go out. During down time like while waiting for your flight, write.
The change in scenery will inspire you to write differently. Any new encounters and experience during your travel will also add a new flavor to the topics you write about. It is important to note of the places you visit and the experience that came with it not only to practice creative writing but also because these are precious memories worth keeping.
#5 What to write about
The ideas about what to write on your journal are endless. You can write about a random topic. If you are a mother and want to keep every memory of your growing child, you can write about it on your journal too. Your baby’s first steps, his first words, his food for the day or his activity for the day could be good topics. If you’re a traveler, write about your travels; the places you visit, the people you meet, the lessons you learned, the culture and how different it is from yours.
You can talk about your life in general or specific areas in your life like a list of things you are thankful for. You can record your bucket list and the steps you take to making them happen.
#6 Keep it private
A journal is a private property being a place where you write about your most private thoughts and feelings. Guard your privacy. If you are writing on a notebook, be sure to keep in a safe place. If you can, put a lock to it. if you’re keeping your journal digitally use a password. Be sure that the password you use is strong; something that no one can guess, yet something you can easily remember.
#7 It helps to meditate
People find it easier to write when they’re in a more relaxed state. Ideas flow more freely when the brain is at ease. So it is advisable to write before bedtime or in the morning. It is when the brain is mostly relaxed. If you can, meditate before writing. Take deep breaths. Release your worries and focus on your thoughts. Then write them down.
#8 Be yourself
You can’t write effectively if you pretend to be someone you’re not. Write honestly. Write what you know. Write with abandon. Meaning, forget about the proper punctuation marks, the correct grammar and spelling, and just write as you think. Be fearless, be bold, be sincere. Your journal is about you anyway. So enjoy yourself while in the process.
There are many reasons why people start to journal. Whether it’s for your entertainment or wellness, or for exercising your brains, or keeping memories the way photographs cannot, keeping a journal has always been most helpful. Follow these 8 simple steps to journal effectively and enjoy the benefits it offers.