Time away from my journal while traveling always tends to happen for me. I’m not sure if it’s just that I don’t want to miss anything at my destination, or maybe I don’t feel like I’ve got a creative space, but it happens almost every time. Normally, trips and vacations last a long weekend, or maybe a full week.
This time, we were between homes for 67 days.
Not taking the time to journal always starts to show on me. I am just more irritable when I haven't taken the time and space to let my thoughts and feelings out someplace safe.
My journal plays many roles, but this is the big one: a safe space to say anything at all.
Neglecting that can feel pretty crummy. That said, if I haven't journaled in a while (ahem, months) I still get that twinge of intimidation when I turn to a fresh page. Anyone else?
This post is for anyone who needs a little help getting into the groove of journaling, whether it's your very first time or you're just returning to an old love like me.
schedule journal time
It sounds sort of strict to actually block a spot in your planner for journaling but it can be so helpful just to remind yourself. If you have set aside a time in your day though, you'll know you are available then. You can find a quiet place to cozy up with your journal the way you prefer. It will also help if you can set this up with others in your home, so that they know not to bother you. We most often need to make time versus find time, and this applies to any hobby you want to expose yourself to.
don't write in the journal
Take the pressure off of yourself and challenge yourself in a different way: express yourself without writing. I have cut out clippings from old photos or a magazine, used markers and washi, or even just doodled in my journal. I use this approach when I feel like I need to get something out, and just have no idea where to start.
Using journal prompts is kind of that tried and true approach that you can always come back to. I have a little list of monthly and weekly reflection prompts at the back of my journal just in case I ever do get "stuck". You can always find great prompts by theme or season on Pinterest (or just through a quick Google search).
Journal prompts are exactly as they sound. Someone else is basically giving you a topic to focus on and write about. They are great because they are usually open ended questions. They get you thinking and writing and sometimes just that first step can turn into pages and pages. So cathartic.
forget what journaling "should" be
It's your journal. Instagram will lead you to believe that there is a right and wrong way to journal but there isn't. No one has to see it unless you want them to.
Sometimes the idea that you need to create something new is what is keeping you from starting a fresh page. Re-use a layout you have loved before or put together two favorites. I was ridiculously searching for different types of spreads in my bullet journal when I first started out. It felt like wearing the same outfit two days in a row for some reason. But once I let that silly idea go, I ran with it. Repeating a page's format makes it easier to just plug and play, but it's also easier on the eye when you go back and read past journal entires. One tip when doing this, keep it simple.
Related: My Second Pregnancy Journal
Related: Journal Layout Tips & Ideas (coming soon)
tie it to something else
Get a journaling routine for yourself. Grab a hot tea and sit in your favorite chair with your journal and your two favorite pens. Or journal every time you listen to a certain playlist. When you attach a new habit to an old one, it becomes an easier task to stick to.
leave blank space
My favorite, blank spaces. Sometimes the white spaces say it all. Don't be afraid to start your entry ten lines down or make it just ten words long. Leave some room in your journal if you need to. There's no rule that says every inch of the page has to be covered.
Good luck with your journaling my friend. I have a freebie here if you want to use the monthly journal prompts I came up with. They are loosely themed to help give you a bit more to work with. Just enter your info and the fifteen-page workbook will be sent to your inbox.