Journaling can look different for everybody. Some people like to bullet journal to stay organized, some prefer a short, daily entry, and others are utterly overwhelmed by the prospect.
I have been an avid journaler for around three years now. What once started as a failed discipline attempt in high school has evolved into one of the most important things in my life. But it didn’t always come easily.
I used to make myself journal as nothing more than a habit. I would usually go strong for a few months, but soon I would get too busy and forget about it altogether. This resulted in my accumulating around 15 half-empty journals.
What I discovered about myself was that journaling wouldn’t work for me if it was something I made myself do. Discipline was not what I needed out of it- I had to go deeper. It was only when I began journaling in college that I realized how big of an impact it could really have on my life.
I stopped taking the process so seriously, and in turn, I was able to actually sustain the habit. I approached journaling as a necessity, not an ultimatum. I started writing because I needed space to unpack all the thoughts in my head I couldn’t quite articulate out loud. After that first entry, I was basically unstoppable.
I am now five journals in, and every one has saved my life in a deeply profound way. I have a few rituals I do for every journal: I write the same three quotes on the inside cover, I write myself a letter and leave a blank page at the end of every book for future reflections, and I always have a page dedicated to prayer. Aside from those three constants, no journal ever looks the same. Sometimes it’s just pages of writing followed by random doodles, paintings, or sketches. I do magazine collaging, scrapbooking, and stick in random polaroids. Scattered throughout are receipts, concert tickets, and other little mementos that give each journal texture and life.
If you are interested in journaling, but have found it difficult to do so in the past, I encourage you to approach it as a safe space, with no guidelines and no quotas to meet. You might find, like I did, that the freer you allow yourself to write and create, the more you will appreciate its beauty.