If there is one thing we consistently hear, it is that our journals are pretty darn beautiful. Unfortunately, this compliment is often followed up with a note about how the books are so gorgeous that they are intimidating to use, making them more collector’s items than useful personal notebooks.
As it turns out, this feeling of being overwhelmed by the endless possibilities of writing on a blank page is not unique to our journals. Many people, no matter how genuinely they want to be an active journaller, struggle with putting pen to paper and actually getting into the habit of writing. If this rings true for you, check out the five ideas below to help you go from journal owner to journal user.
1) Pick the Right Journal for You
This may sound obvious, but there is more to a journal than the cover design. If you are someone who travels a lot or wants to note down the day’s events as they happen, a smaller format is going to be easier to work with than a large book. The same goes for the pages themselves – think about how you want to use your journal, and for what purpose, before deciding whether a lined, unlined or even grid interior would be the most useful. Thinking about these things before going journal shopping is an important first step in making sure you end up with a book you will actually use.
2) Journal With a Purpose
The reason so many people end up with a large collection of unused journals is that they stockpile for “what if” scenarios. If you are always waiting for the perfect reason to come along, you may never actually get writing. Think of something in your life that you need more perspective on – an upcoming event to plan, a new workout routine, a difficult personal period to work through – and begin your new journal with that in mind. Having a clear purpose will keep you focussed and will mean you always have a topic to write on.
3) Engage Your Obstacles
They often say that the best cure to beating writer’s block is actually writing about the block itself. The same can be said for journalling. If you are stumped for a writing topic, write that down! The simple act of beginning a sentence can often help you break through and discover what is really holding you back. At the opposite end of the spectrum lie those times when you have too many thoughts and not enough time to write them all down. Whenever inspiration strikes, be sure to note it down so that you can expand on it later.
4) Use a Template or Journalling Prompts
Whether you want to pick up an actual guided journal or create your own, using a pre-designed journalling template is an excellent way to get in the habit. At the beginning of your notebook, make a list of topics you want to cover – daily goals, favourite quotes, things you are grateful for, etc. You can then refer to this list when starting a new entry. There are lots of great journalling templates available online, and we even have a simple app for Android and iOS that gives you a new journalling prompt for whenever you find yourself stuck!
5) Create Pictures, Not Sentences
Maybe the thing holding you back from using a journal is that you tend to express yourself visually, rather than with words. Instead of writing out what you are feeling, sketch what you have been experiencing lately or even draw a self-portrait as you see yourself in the moment. You may find that visual representations are a far more meaningful way to express your inner thoughts than trying to find the right words to fit.
And In the End?
Write (or draw) for yourself! Journals are intensely personal items, so who cares if one entry is messy or you missed the point when you first started writing? So long as you are being authentic to yourself and what you are feeling, there is no chance of “wasting” a journal – no matter how beautiful the cover. So think about what you want to express, and just go ahead and do it.
What is the most meaningful way to use a journal for you?
About Paperblanks®: At Paperblanks, we believe that art should have a place in all aspects of life. That’s why we follow the artist’s way in everything we do – creating, crafting and releasing designs we believe have the power to touch people. For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at paperblanks.com.