So you’re wondering, “How do I start a journal?” Maybe someone has suggested you start one. Or you keep seeing “journaling” on morning routines or lists of high vibe habits. Whatever your reason, you’re onto something great here! So let’s talk about How to Journal for Beginners in a simple and straight-forward way. We’re all about practical-meets-woo here.
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Ultimate Beginners Guide to Starting a Journal
In this post, you should find everything you need to know to get started with a journaling habit fast! I don’t know about you, but when I want to start something, I want to get going yesterday. And I’ve tried to include answers to the most frequently asked questions for those wanting to know how to journal for beginners.
Of course, if you still have questions, comment below. I just may answer you in a reply or by updating this post!
What Is Journaling?
First off, you may be wondering, “What is journaling, and how do I do it?”
Let’s start with an explanation of journaling.
Journaling is writing stuff in an empty notebook.
Okay, I’m being a little cheeky. But, there are so many ways to journal, it’s impossible to choose one example of “stuff” to include in a definition. Plus, there are many goals, outcomes, and hopes for what you get out of journaling. So what I just shared is the very simple explanation that covers everything. That’s what journaling is at its most basic level.
Here’s another way to look at it:
Journaling is a way to express yourself, work though your current challenges & questions, clear your mind, generate positive energy, manifest your desires, and more.
Basically, through different techniques, you get what’s in your mind out in a way that you may find helpful. Sometimes we’re even able to pull things out of our subconscious minds that we didn’t know were there.
Explaining *what* journaling is can also depend on the technique you’re using. See section below for Journaling Ideas for more.
Best Journal for Beginners
When it comes to learning How to Journal for Beginners, you’ll of course need a journal. And, the best journal depends on you.
Look for a journal that:
- You look forward to using
- Has good quality paper
- Has the best page layout for you (blank pages, lined pages, dotted pages, or other formatting)
- Has the best spine for you (as a leftie, I’m not a fan of spiral bound, but that could be your jam)
- Is the right size for you
Personally, my practical (and Type A) side wants me to choose a journal that I can buy again and again so I have a nice, neat stack of journals that look cohesive (like the Leuchtturm or Moleskin below). My woo side likes choosing the one I feel energetically called to (like the white marble or astrology options below). Like when you walk into a store and that one journal catches your attention, and you know it’s the one! As you explore options, you may find one stands out to you.
You may also find that you prefer journals with certain practical features, including
- an elastic band to help it stay closed
- a hardcover to help protect your pages
- a loop for your pen
Here are some journal options you may like:
- #1 Leuchtturm Hardcover Medium A5 *Lined* Notebook: get it on Amazon here (available in tons of colors with different page layouts)
- #2 Marble with Gold Foil: get it on Target.com here
- #3 Green Inspired Take Chances Softcover Journal: get it on Target.com here
- #4 Leuchtturm Hardcover Medium A5 *Dotted* Notebook: get it on Amazon here
- #5 Moleskine Lined Professional Journal Large Lilac Hard Classic: get it on Target.com here (a journal classic – available in many colors and sizes)
- #6 Denik Lined 3pk Composition Notebooks Saddle Stitched Softcover Astronomy: get it on Target.com here
- #7 Hard Cover Lined Journal Blue: get it on Target.com here
Happy journal shopping!
You’ll also want an awesome pen to do your journaling!
Here are two of my personal faves:
- #1 Paper Mate FlexGrip Elite Retractable Ballpoint Pens: get it on Amazon here – this is my absolute favorite pen because it’s relatively comfortable to hold but also because, as a lefty, this is one of few pens that doesn’t drag my ink all around. It writes smoothly, and the ink doesn’t show through the other side of the paper easily. Love!
- #2 Sakura Pigma Micron pens 12 Fineliner Drawing Set: get it on Amazon here – I first discovered these awesome pens at PlannerCon. I kept seeing so many planners there with these exact pens. So I had to try them. Haha. These pens are amazing, and I love how they’re available in different writing sizes and colors. They leave a nice, bold line that does sometimes show through some papers a bit, but nothing that bothers me personally.
Happy pen shopping too!
Where Do I Start with Journaling?
There’s no wrong way to journal. Avoid overthinking, and just start! When you’re first learning How to Journal for Beginners, it can feel overwhelming. But it’s so simple…
Here are the basic steps on how to journal – it’s really this easy!
- Get a journal (see above for options)
- Get a writing tool (see above for options)
- Open up to a blank page/section in your journal
- Start writing (see below section for journaling ideas)
That’s it. Easy-peasy!
Want some specific ideas on exactly what to journal? Check out the section below for journaling ideas for beginners. These are great when you don’t know just *what* you should be writing. Again, there are no shoulds, but I’m happy to share some ideas to get you started.
How Long Should I Journal Each Day?
How long should you journal each day? As long as you feel like. As long as feels good to you. And you don’t need to journal every day. Sure, many people choose for journaling to be one of the key components of their morning (or daily) routine. But that is a choice you can make.
For me, I enjoy journaling for about 10-30 minutes a day. If I’m feeling called to journal more deeply or if I’m trying to work through something (like a limiting belief or challenge), then I can go for an hour or so, time permitting.
I usually don’t set timers. I just journal till I feel like stopping.
Of course, if it’s before a work day, you may need to set a timer, but my favorite is doing it until I feel intuitively called to stop. Listening to your intuition is a big theme here on The Chic Life, in general.
When to Journal
You should journal at the time of day that feels best to you. And by best, I mean…You should journal when you feel called to. When you feel like you need or want to express yourself, get something out of your head, reflect, etc.
Personally, I love journaling in the morning. It’s when I feel more creative and expressive. Plus, your mind is fresh and hasn’t yet gone through the ups and downs of the day.
Sometimes journaling at night can be great for documenting the day, spending time in reflection, or doing a soothing activity that helps you wind down for the night while also staying off of your devices.
How to Write a Journal Entry
Tap into your intuition when you’re ready to write your journal entry. Go with what feels good at the time. What I mean by this is – sometimes you know exactly what type of journaling you want to do that day. Sometimes you want to think about the options (see next section) and choose the one that feels best.
Open up to a blank page (or blank section), and just start writing.
Journaling Ideas for Beginners
When you want to learn How to Journal for Beginners, learning what to write is a big question. There’s good news. There’s no right or wrong way to journal. But here are some journaling ideas for beginners to get you started. Feel free to add a date if you’d like. I usually date my entries, unless I’m doing scripting. I’ll explain why on the latter below.
Here are some easy journaling techniques and methods…
#1 Stream of Consciousness Journaling
I put this one first for you because it’s where I started and it’s one of the easiest ways anyone can get started no matter their desired goals for journaling. Basically, the way you do stream of consciousness journaling is your just write whatever comes to your mind. Whatever comes up – write it down. Keep going, and try to just keep writing no matter what.
Sometimes it will feel silly. Sometimes very deep thoughts will arise that you may find helpful or interesting for whatever is going on in your life. It can help provide clarity and also help you clear your mind by getting what’s going on up there out of your head and onto the paper instead. You can even tap into deep thoughts that you didn’t know where taking up space because journaling can tap into your subconscious mind. Ooh!
#2 Journaling with Journal Prompts
When you don’t know where to start with journaling, another easy way to do so is to use a journal prompt. A journal prompt is a question or idea for a specific topic to journal about that day/session. The use of this style of journaling is dependent on the journal prompt.
Here are three simple journal prompts:
- What does happiness mean to you?
- What is the #1 thing you want to focus on today, and why is it so important to you?
- What is holding you back right now? What can you do to move forward and claim your dream life?
#3 Gratitude Journal
One of my favorite things to do in the journal is to use it for my gratitude practice. Practicing gratitude is one of the best things you can do to shift into positive energy, improve your manifestation outcomes, raise your vibe, and help your mindset, among other benefits.
To write a gratitude journal entry, it’s simple: write down what you’re grateful for. Personally, I practice gratitude daily, aiming to capture three grateful thoughts per day. Once in awhile, I’ll make my list as long as I can. Sometimes for life in general. Sometimes for a specific theme. Go with whatever feels good when you’re ready to start writing.
Scripting is a powerful manifestation technique that can be quite fun to do. There are many different ways to script, but basically you’re writing out your ideal future before it happens.
As the technique goes, write down what you want to happen, and it don’t be surprised if it happens in real life! Woop!
How-To: There are quite a few options for scripting techniques, but this is a simple way to start. Write an ideal day in the future like a diary entry. You don’t have to say “Dear Diary” though. haha. Write your journal entry as though that day happened already. Choose any day in the future (tomorrow, one year from now, or even what’s going to happen later in the current day). Include how your ideal day made you feel and try to get into the energy of that feeling while you’re writing. Be grateful for all the things that “happened” as though they already did.
Related: Did My Scripting Come True? Hear what I wrote and what actually happened on this YouTube video.
Experiment with a few (or all!), and see which one(s) you enjoy most. There are nearly limitless ways for How to Journal for Beginners, so this is just a small list of journaling ideas that are easy for beginners, but feel free to search for even more ways!
Enjoy These Other Tips for Living Your Best Life
How to Follow Through with Your Goals
How to Start a Gratitude Practice (6 Fun and Easy Ways)
How to Set Monthly Intentions (The Casual Way)
5 Signs You’re Living on Autopilot and How to Live Life on Your Terms Instead
Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out my post about How to Journal for Beginners.
Comment below what your favorite takeaway is or if you have any questions. Cheers!