How to Journal

How to Journal for Beginners

Do you think that journaling is too difficult or too time consuming? This How to Journal for Beginners will help you see that journaling is easy. It does not need to take much time either. You don’t need to take a class on How to Journal or Journaling 101.

In this post, I share how you can start with a very simple journaling routine today. It can take a minute or two, or it can take a bit longer.  The choice is yours.

How to Journal

Are you ready to journal but you just aren’t sure how to journal?  Do you think that you can’t commit the necessary time to journaling?  Do you want to know how you can fit journaling into your busy life?

In this post we’ll review some of the many options available.  Journaling can be as simple or as involved as you want it to be.   There are so many different options.  And, hopefully, we will encourage you to begin journaling.

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Give Journaling a Try

You can start small and just see where it leads. 

What is the Simplest Daily Journal for Beginners?

A One Thing a Day Journal is one of the easiest and rewarding journals to begin with. We each may have a specific topic we are most comfortable with journaling about.

The nice thing about a One Thing A Day journals is that you will only write one sentence each day. 

These journals have a single line for each day.  As you wrap up your day you can simply write a few words that describe something that happened that day.   Or, you can write it down the following day.

These journals typically have room for at least 2 years’ worth of one line a day notes.  This makes it nice to compare the years and what was going on in your life at the same time the year before.

Another nice thing about One Thing a Day Journals is that you can write about any topic you want.  You may wish to make it a Positivity Journal or a Gratitude Journal. Taking the time to acknowledge and feel grateful is powerful.  Without a doubt, it can add to your overall happiness. 

Or you may wish to simply wing it and write about different things each day in your One Line a Day Journal.

Why Journaling is Good for You

When considering how to journal for beginners, this is the best place to start.  It’s natural to ask why we should even consider journaling.

For many people, journaling is a life-line.  It is proven to help people in dealing with stress and anxiety.  It helps us learn gratitude and positivity.  In short, it helps us develop positive habits and attitudes. Journaling is a great way to grow in different areas of their life.  Not to mention there are other benefits as well including it’s a great place to write things for you and your family want to remember.

Types of Journals

The types of Journals are almost endless.  Afterall, you can take a blank journal and write about any individual topic or a multitude of topics.  Some of the most common ones are:

If you’d like to see several of our journals on a page you can check out our Erica Joy Journals Author Page.  We are continually creating more journals, so be sure to bookmark this page and check it out regularly.

If you are interested in Bible Study style journals, you can find a nice selection on my Author Page here.

There are No Journaling Rules

There are no journaling rules that say how often you have to write in a journal, what you have to write about, how long you have to write every single day or what time of day you should write in your journal.  Let’s look at a few options for each of those.

How Often should you Journal

If writing in a journal once a day seems overwhelming, there are other options. 

Weekly journaling is perfectly fine.  Not everyone wants to, or has the time to write in a journal every day. 

You may wish to begin journaling with just a once-a-week practice.  Trying to create a brand-new habit of writing every single day can often be a bit overwhelming.

As you get comfortable with journaling and the minimal time it can take, you can add more days.

Keep reading to see some ideas for weekly journaling.

What Time of Day is Best for Journaling

The short answer is whenever is best for you.  Many people like to write in their journal at the end of the day.  It’s a way to wrap up their day.

Other people prefer to write in their journal first thing in the morning.  For them it is a positive way to start their day.

There is a third option, of course, which is anytime during the day.  Maybe lunchtime or a breaktime at work is an opportunity to get by yourself and simply write your thoughts. 

Give journaling a try at whatever time of day you think will work best for you.  If it doesn’t work well, don’t give up, just try a different time.

What to Write in a Journal

In short, anything you want.

It can be overwhelming to try to think of things to write about in a journal, but fortunately there are several options.

However, it is often simpler to start with a reason that you are journaling. Such as:

  • Things you want to remember (memories)
  • Changes in your life (health/fitness)
  • Efforts toward reaching a goal or goals
  • Write out your prayers
  • Record spiritual growth in your life
  • Things you are thankful for
  • Events such as a Summer Vacation

Two other great option is to purchase a guided journal or to use journal prompts.

If you’d like to journal but don’t have anything specific in mind, you can use journal prompts.  You can buy journals that include prompts.  These are available for all kinds of topics and often say “guided journal” in the title. 

You can also find prompts online.  Just do a quick search in Pinterest for Prompts and you’ll find that they are readily available and oftentimes for free. 

How Long should I Write in my Journal

The answer is different for each individual.  If you are using a one line a day journal.  The answer is going to be less than a minute.  A gratitude journal could be a line a day, or it could be a paragraph.  So, that could be 1 minute or 5 minutes.  If you are writing a memory style or a spiritual growth journal, you may spend 5-15 minutes journaling.  A prayer journal may take 10 – 20 minutes.

As you can see, you can write for as little or as long as you wish.  It doesn’t need to be the same amount of time each day.

What is a Guided Journal?

When learning how to journal for beginners, it may be easy to begin with a guided journal.

A guided journal typically has a question, word or statement for each day.  This guide or tip is simply a prompt intended to encourage you to write about that topic.  Guided journals can be great when you can’t think of something to write about.   

Some guided journals include a question or word on a page.  Others simply include a list of the prompts at the beginning of the book, so you can refer to it when you need an idea of what to write about. 

Having the prompt list at the beginning of the book can be preferable because some days you may know exactly what you want to write about.  Then on the days that you don’t know what to write about you can choose a prompt from the beginning of the book.    You can choose whichever type of journal will be best for you.

What types of things could you journal about on a weekly basis?

Here are some guides or prompts that you could use for a Weekly Journal:

  • Overview of the Week – Write a summary of how your week went.  What went well.  What didn’t go so well.  Did you accomplish something?  Did you do something entertaining?  Did you spend time with someone you care about? Did something happen that you want to get out of your head?
  • Think about the whole week.  It’s a chance to overview your entire week.  Write down the most important thing that comes to your mind for each day of the week.  If there was one day that was especially special then go ahead and write a few more sentences about that day. 
  • You can write one sentence, one paragraph, or five paragraphs.  Just write what comes to mind about the week. 
  • Plans for next week – Forget about the current week and write about what you plan to accomplish the next week.  You can make a list of all the things that you want to do.  You can write about something fun that you are looking forward to doing.  Or you can write about your emotions and how you feel about some of the things that are happening next week.  Are you nervous or excited?
  • Weekly Gratitude – Again thinking about the entire week, can you come up with a list of 3 specific things that you are grateful for from the week.  Write them down and then choose at least one to write about in detail. What do you appreciate most in your life?  It could be something big or something small.  They are all important.

You can choose any topic and write about it once a week rather than daily.  It will work for almost any topic.

Wrapping up How to Journal for Beginners

In short, journaling is a wonderful way to record seasons of your life.  One season you may feel encouraged to journal about success, motherhood, or joyful memories.  Another season may be filled with journaling about grief, anxiety or pain. 

Journaling is a great tool for helping us in many ways.  We can record things from our lives that are precious memories.  Journaling also helps us work through things in our lives.

I hope you’ll give journaling a try.  

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