28 Effective Journaling Tips That’ll Help You Start Journaling

“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” – Christina Baldwin

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How many times have you tried to journal and have given up after a few tries? I, myself have done this several times in the past. That was because I was trying to follow the conventional journaling tips.


Then when things weren’t happening the way I wanted them to, I decided that it is best to forget everything I have read about journaling and do it my way.


Here are 28 journaling tips for you to kick start your journaling journey.


It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner who is just starting to journal or you have tried it few times and given up, you will find that the journaling tips mentioned here are of some use and help.


Even though I have been journaling for years, there are days when I struggle to make an entry or skip few days of journal entries. It’s still a work in progress for me. I might not be the perfect or the most qualified person to give journaling tips. Still, I am writing this post because I want to share with you how I have been able to develop journaling as a habit, even though not perfectly.


Journaling has helped me in many ways. It has helped me to discover who I am, relieve my stress, process my emotions, track my goals, be grateful, and much more. I am sure that journaling can help you too.


Let’s jump straight into the journaling tips.


28 Easy & Effective Journaling Tips

Journaling Tip 1 : You don’t have to journal in the morning


There is no hard and fast rule that you have to journal only in the morning.


Undoubtedly, there are many benefits of journaling in the morning. If you have tried it and are uncomfortable or uninspired to journal in the morning, then don’t force yourself to do so.


Honestly, I have tried journaling in the morning and it didn’t work for me. But, I didn’t give up on journaling.


So, if you cannot journal in the morning, what should you do next?


Journaling Tip 2 : Find your best time for journaling


Try journaling at different times – before going to the bed, evening, during the commute to work/college.


Find the perfect time for you. What works for me might not work for you.


I love journaling at the night. Reviewing my entire day just before going to sleep is what I enjoy the most. I came to this conclusion after I tried journaling at different times.


If you tired morning pages and didn’t feel comfortable with them, don’t discard journaling so soon. Keep on trying till you find the perfect time for yourself.


Journaling Tip 3 : Try journaling multiple times in a day


Of course, you can journal how much ever time you want to. I know this might sound a bit crazy. But, I still encourage you to try journaling multiple times in a day.


You don’t have to write pages every time you journal. It can be as simple as writing in one line, for example, I am feeling stressed about the presentation I have to give in the office. Anything.


When it comes to journaling, there are no rules. Just do whatever is comfortable for you. If you don’t feel comfortable to do so, just don’t force it.


Journaling Tip 4 : Your time for journaling can vary for different days


I am sure you might have heard that it is best to journal at a particular time every day. Well, this has never worked for me.


For me, the time for journaling varies on different days. During the weekdays I journal before going to bed and for weekends I might journal in the morning or in the evening.

It is because during the weekends, I write longer entries and I need more time to write.

So, you can change the time for journaling for different days of the week.


If you enjoy journaling during free time which might change from day to day, go for it. Nobody is stopping you!


Journaling Tip 5 : You don’t have to journal the old, traditional way


Yes, you read that right. You don’t need to journal in a classic journal or on paper.

If you are comfortable and enjoy journaling digitally, go for it. Many different journaling apps are available such as Journey or Penzu.


Or you can use note-taking apps such as Evernote to make journal entries. It is totally up to you.


Just make sure that if you choose to do a digital journal entry, keep your device in airplane mode or do not disturb mode. This will help you to journal without any distractions.


You don’t need to make journal entries in fancy notebooks or classic journals.

I have never been able to journal in a fancy notebook. A4 sheets – I enjoy journaling in plain A4 sheets. I reached this conclusion after many years. Yes, you read that right!


How do you prefer journaling? Is it in fancy notebooks, or A4 sheets, or simple notepads? Try out every single option that you can think of and then reach a conclusion.


Journaling Tip 6 : Switch the medium of journaling occasionally


What if someday you want to journal digitally and other days in a notebook? Yup, you can totally do that! I have this habit. Some days I enjoy journaling on paper and other days digitally. But the switch of the medium of journaling has never affected my process of making the journal entries.


So, you can try this too. If you are comfortable switching between journaling digitally and the old classic way, then go for it.


But make sure that your digital journal entries are backed up and protected. 

You can also take print of them and keep it together with the other journal entries that you do on paper or book. 


Journaling Tip 7 : You don’t have to keep your journal neat and clean


Your journal is your private space. Write whatever you want to and however, you want to. Go ahead and scribble or doodle.

Your handwriting doesn’t matter. Want to write in ALL CAPS, do it! Leave the thought of perfectionism before you start journaling. This simple step will help you to journal better.


Journaling Tip 8 : Try different environments for journaling


You must find an environment that is comfortable for journaling. Try journaling on your balcony, study, on the way to work, in your office.


Find the perfect place that makes it easy and comfortable for you to write in your journal, a place where you can be alone with your thoughts.


Journaling Tip 9 : Keep a journal every time with you


Just keep a small notebook or notepad with you all the time so that you can scribble your observations and thoughts whenever you want to. When you jot down your feelings precisely the moment you are feeling those it’s extremely helpful. Whether it’s anger, frustration, sadness, or happiness, writing down in your journal about those will help you process those emotions, make sense of what’s happening and make better decisions.


You also can make your journal entries in online journal apps or note-taking apps if carrying a book around is too much for you.


Journaling Tip 10 : Find your reason to journal


Why do you want to journal? What are your reasons for journaling? Is it to record daily events or to relieve stress?


Take a few moments to answer this question. There can be multiple reasons for journaling.


My reasons for journaling are :

 a. To record daily events
 b. To reflect on my day
 c. To practice gratitude
 d. To relieve my stress and process my emotions


What are your reasons? Make sure that you know why you want to journal. Having a strong reason will be the factor that will push you to journal even on those days when you are just lazy or uninspired.



Journaling Tip 11 : Try different journaling techniques


There are different journaling techniques that you can do. Some of them are bullet journaling, reflection journal, reading journal, daily events journal, grief journal, and much more.


Or you can just free-write whatever comes into your mind. If you are comfortable writing in the mornings, then morning pages might work for you.


You can choose your journaling technique based on your reason for journaling. For example, if you want to journal just to keep a record of the vents happening in a day, then you can choose to keep the journal of the daily events.


So, if you have multiple reasons for journaling, then what to do?


Journaling Tip 12 : Make your own style of journaling 


As you read before there are no rules for journaling. So mix up and do different journaling techniques together.  


I start my journal by listing down 3 things I am grateful for, then write down a quote, and then I write about the things that happened in a day and all the emotions I felt, process those, and make sense of what happened.


So, it is totally up to you. You can write down whatever you want in your journal. You can also keep different journals for different purposes if you can handle a lot of books or folders on your phone.


So, you use different journaling techniques in one journal entry.


If you are just starting out journaling, then it’s better that you start with one journaling technique. Once you are comfortable with journaling, you can try and journal using different techniques.


Journaling Tip 13 : Don’t stick to one journaling technique for long


If you are feeling uninspired to make a journal entry, try changing the journaling technique. Maybe you can just doodle or scribble or write about your to-do lists.




Journaling Tip 14 : Keep your expectations low


It is normal to get excited during the initial days of developing a new habit. You might expect to make a good journal entry on day 1 of journaling. It might not happen, most probably.


Even though a lot might be going inside your head you might find it difficult to transfer your thoughts onto a paper.


When you are starting your journaling journey don’t start it with high expectations. You might not be able to write more than a few words or sentences. And that’s alright.


There are times where I have felt that the blank white paper in front of me is more powerful than my will to write in a journal entry. So, there are days where I have not been able to write more than few sentences, even after years of journaling.

So, if your first journal entry wasn’t as perfect as you thought it would be, that’s alright. There is no right, wrong or perfect way of journaling.
Even if you can just write only a few sentences, maybe a paragraph, keep ongoing. It will get better and you will be able to write more and process your emotions.

Journaling Tip 15 : Start Simple


Don’t try to write pages on your initial days of journaling. Keep it simple. 


Just try to write a few sentences. Maybe your first entry can be the reasons why you want to start journaling.


Journaling Tip 16 : Keep your journal private


Your journal is your private space. It’s where you jot down your thoughts, emotions, and everything else. So make sure that it is kept in a safe place and accessible to you only.


Keep it locked or place it in someplace hidden. If you are using a mobile app for journaling then make sure that you have a password for it.


Take all the steps needed to keep your journal private.


Journal Tip 17 : Use your journal to find solutions


Journaling is a great way to get your emotions out. And it feels great when all the negativity is out of your mind.


Journaling becomes more effective when you use it to find the solutions. After you rant out all your frustrations, anger, stress, take time to reflect and understand what happened. Try to see what went wrong, what you learned from this incident, and what constructive changes can you make in your life based on what happened for your own betterment.


Don’t just use it to take out your emotions or blame yourself and others. Try to find out the solutions to your problems too.


Journaling Tip 18 : Partner with someone


Get some accountability. When you include your friends or family members it is more likely that you will stick with your journaling habit.


Journaling Tip 19 : Always enter day, date and time


I love rereading my journal entries. It helps me to understand how I have grown with time.


Reading my old journal entries helps me to relive old memories and go back in time and meet my old self.


Entering the day, date, and time is helpful if you would like to read your journal entries later on.


If you aren’t interested to read your journal entries again, then it wouldn’t matter much. But my personal tip is that these tiny details make your journaling experience more authentic.


Journaling Tip 20 : Make it fun – Assign name to your journal


You don’t need to start your journal entries by saying dear diary. You can christen your journal any name you want.


It can be your childhood imaginary friend’s name, your favorite movie star, or a fictional character. Anything.


Treat your journal like your best friend. Name your journal and take care of it and it will take care of you.


Journaling Tip 21 : Keep a reminder every day


It is extremely difficult to keep up with a new habit. The first few days we do it religiously and then we tend to give up on it.




Keeping a reminder will help you to remember the new habit that you are trying to develop.


You can keep the reminder on your phone or post-it note. You can also keep your journal in a place where you will see it and get reminded that you have to make the entry for the day.


Find a way that will help you remember that you have to do journaling.


Journaling Tip 22 : Track your progress


Are you journaling every day? How satisfied are you with your journaling?

Make a note of all this. Track and evaluate yourself on how well you are doing your journaling. Maybe write a journal entry about it! I have done this and it is so satisfying.



Journaling Tip 23 : When stuck use journaling prompts


Journal prompts are great in the initial phase of journaling. It gets the ball rolling. You will get a good start and then you can progress however you want to.


Here are a few journaling prompts that you can check out:


Journaling Tip 24 : Try freewriting when you experience writer’s block.


There are days where I have written that I am finding it difficult to write. I remember making a journal entry about my writer’s block.

Write whatever comes into your mind. Just write without bothering about the spelling, grammar, or anything. Just unload everything onto the paper, whatever comes into your mind, unfiltered.


This will help you to clear and declutter your mind.


Journaling Tip 25 : Celebrate your small wins


Make sure that you celebrate your small wins. Write a journal entry about how proud and happy you are that you made progress in journaling.


Journaling Tip 26 : Keep on going


Journaling can be difficult at times. During tough days taking out your emotions into your journal can be challenging.


Take a break if you want to. Continue journaling after a few days if you feel that you need to stop. But keep on going. That’s the trick.


Don’t stop if you miss journaling occasionally because it might happen. It happens with me too. Even after journaling for these many years, I miss journaling for few days. But I always make sure that I continue writing whenever I am ready to write.


I feel that sometimes a break is necessary. Sometimes unloading all your emotions can be too much to handle. So, stop, take a break and continue as soon as possible. But do continue and keep ongoing.


Journaling Tip 27 : Take up a journaling challenge


Do you love challenges? Challenges are a great way to push and develop yourself. Taking up a journaling challenge will help you to stick to your habit.


I took up the challenge of journaling for 3 months without even missing a day.

To be honest, I missed some days. And there are also days where I just wrote I am too sleepy.


But I did complete it anyway. Even though I couldn’t finish the challenge perfectly, looking back I am proud that I managed to journal for most of the days.


I did a 3-month challenge because I had been journaling for few years.


If you are a beginner you can start with a one-week, two week, or one month challenge of journaling for 2 minutes or 1 page. It is up to you. As you read earlier start small by taking up small challenges.


Journaling Tip 28 : You don’t have to journal every day


I know that tip no: 21 was to keep a reminder so that you will journal every day. The sole purpose of keeping a reminder is that you don’t forget about journaling.


But there can be days when you don’t feel like writing even if you remember to write. Whatever the reasons might be, if you don’t want to write then you just don’t write. Never force yourself to write in a journal every day if you are not enjoying it.


I have been keeping a diary for years. And till today I have never written every day in my journal. It’s been on and off but I have been journaling for years now.


So, it is perfectly okay if you don’t want to journal every day but still want to keep a journal.


Final Thoughts

So these are the journaling tips that helped me to start and stick to journaling. I hope that these tips will help you to kick start your journaling journey too.

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