Sitting cozy in the beautiful DiMenna-Nyselius Library on this lovely morning, gazing at the softly falling snowflakes, I am excited to share with all of you my version of a guide to journaling! Journaling is one of my favorite hobbies, and I am a complete advocate for the notion that every human being, especially today’s youth, should keep and maintain a daily journal. 

There are an infinite amount of benefits that come from journaling, and boundless directions one can take within the recreation. That is the true beauty of journaling, there are no restricting rules on where you may choose to venture! Further, journaling is often recommended for individuals struggling with anxious thoughts or who are feeling overwhelmed (something we have most certainly experienced throughout this challenging time!). Writing down one’s thoughts can often enable one to clear their head and pour out their emotions in a healthy manner. Plus, it’s always fun to look back on all your memories!

So, how do you start this whole journaling process? Well, that’s easy…you just have to begin! Head on over to your local store (my favorite is Target) and pick out a nice journal. You could also purchase a notepad, binder or a guided journal, where daily prompts are already provided to you. It is important to keep in mind that journals come in all different sizes, colors and styles, so make sure to pick out one that best suits you! I also recommend picking up some colored gel pens while you’re at it to help in making your writing a little more fun! It always brings a smile to my face when I spruce up my own personal journal with pretty visuals to accompany my writing. 

Now that you have your journal, the next step is to become inspired. As I mentioned before, there are no real rules to journaling! Perhaps what excites you is poetry and you have all these glorious ideas in your head just waiting to come together on paper and foster magic… or maybe you have been feeling overwhelmed and need a safe space to convey what you’ve been feeling, lifting the weight off of your shoulders. It could also be that you encounter deep thoughts periodically throughout your day, and want to remember or build off of these perceptive ideas, so you write them down. All of these are completely valid angles to approach journaling! Who’s to say that you can’t also transcend into other areas, overlap your writing styles or alter your technique depending on what will be most rewarding for you during that day? Your journal is for you and you alone. It can be as informal as you would like it to be and it should be for your highest good!

I will say, though, that it’s beyond important to stay organized within your journal writing to receive the most positive effect. Some may prefer to be more organized than others in their writing, but there are a few aspects of journaling that should be practiced by all writers. One of these practices is to always place the date at the top of each page. You may not think so now, but this will surely help you one day when you are looking back at your work and want to recall the time of your life in which you felt each way. Further, even if your ideas are sporadic on paper, dating your writings creates a certain level of clarity and order that will help in creating a good mind space! 

Another important tip is to establish a routine and make a habit out of your journaling. As Dee exclaims throughout “17 Journaling Tips for Beginners” in “Vanilla Papers,”  it is essential to create a habit out of journaling. She even recommends getting an app to track the amount of time you spend each day journaling (something I may now actually take on myself). Humans love habits and routines. It helps our minds stay clear and allows us to be our most productive selves. It also grants us control over our time and how we choose to best utilize it. Try not to neglect your journal for long periods of time or subdue your thoughts. Rather, schedule it into your day, similar to how you would for breakfast, watching TV, spending time with your friends or working on school work. Prioritize your journaling over activities that may not serve as rewarding to your psychological health, and make sure to stay committed to your writing! After all, these are your own beautiful ideas, and they deserve a little bit of time to materialize on paper.

That’s pretty much all I have to share in my guide to effective journaling! I wanted to

make this guide as general and open as possible, as that is just how journaling works. The door of opportunity is fully open and you, as the writer, have free reign over your writing. Make it sporadic! Fill your pages with cosmic ideas! Pour out your heart and soul in whatever shape or form it may take! Just be you. 


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