Where to Begin if You Want to Journal

I am so in love with this post for a few reasons. One, it was requested by a reader. I can’t even begin to tell you how much your emails and snaps and tweets and comments make my day. They really do! Two, Maxie dug up an old post that brought back so many memories. I think that journal hunt is what solidified our friendship. Three, Maxie is the queen of journaling, and it’s something I always try to do so I’m taking notes).

Strokes of Genius

Kate Spade “Moments of Genius” Journal

Where to Begin if You Want to Journal

Guest post by Maxie McCoy

I’ve been a journal junkie since I can remember. It takes everything in my power not buy a new beautiful journal every time I walk into a stationery store. Seriously, I have stacks of them that I use regularly. And, if memory serves me right, one of Carly and I’s early bonding moments was over a large lay-flat Moleskine.

Journaling is a beautiful, beautiful habit to integrate into your life. It’s an amazing tool to help you process your thoughts, work through your obstacles, or to put intention into the universe by declaring something on paper. Writing is so helpful in a myriad of ways (and there’s major research on how good writing can be for you). So whether you’ve never journaled a day in your life, or if you have journals full of empty pages that you just stare at, you’re in luck with this roadmap.

Just because you want to journal, though, doesn’t mean you know exactly what to do once you get there. If that’s you, you’re not alone. We’ve so got you covered.

Step I: Have the proper tools
Get a journal that makes you excited. I’m not a big fan of “buying things” but I am a fan of having the right tools that bring you joy and energy especially when establishing a new habit. I love buying inexpensive journals and designing them myself! Moleskines are also so worth their mullah.

Step II: Decide what you want to write about
I’m currently utilizing four journals for four different things. They all serve their purpose. Here are a few of great things to write about:
– Stories from your life that you want to remember later – Not so much “Dear Diary” but more “Letters to Your Future Self.” Think about that future you and what she might want to remember one day. Let her be your audience and see what comes out.
– Things you’re grateful for – Writing consistently about all that you’re so grateful for can have powerful effects on your life. It reminds you not to worry and helps you focus on all the great things happening around you.
– Ideas – If you’re constantly thinking about cool things, ideas for companies, books, blog posts, or projects, try flushing them out in a journal. It’s a great place to let your mind get creative and wander without having to censor it.
– Worries – Instead of turning over concerns in your mind, write them down and process them on paper. Putting your worry and stress there (and leaving it there) helps clear your mind.
– Dreams and goals – Get into a habit of journaling all the dreams you can possibly dream. It will help put intention and power behind them. Having that down on paper isn’t just a fun exercise, it’s a great thing to look back on later and see how far you’ve come.
– Use prompts– Remember in your middle school English class when you’d begin every day with a free-write prompt? Well, that’s a great strategy to use with journaling as well. I’m obsessed with creating journaling worksheets. This one is all yours to download if you want a guided journaling experience and wants some help figuring out what lights you up in life.

Step III: Don’t judge yourself
One of the most important things to remember when journaling is not to censor yourself. Get your heart out on the page freely. Let the words flow. Turn off distractions. Take deep breaths. And most importantly don’t worry about how you sound or what you’re thinking. Just write. Journaling is just for you and sometimes the things that come out onto that paper will be surprising and insightful. Journaling is always full of light-bulb moments.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to journal. Do what feels exciting and easy. Grab some hot tea. A good pen. Your favorite fuzzy socks. Journaling time is the best time- and it is alllllll yours!

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This is a lovely blog post and comes at a great time in my life. Remaining uncensored is truly the hardest part of journaling for me. I always feel like someone is going to read it and judge me EVENTUALLY. I need to get out of that mindset.
Danielle @ afloat on a full sea

Rachael Draper

Story of my life. I think I have about 6 empty journals because I can’t resist buying but am so stagnant with actually writing. This gives me some motivation to start back up again 🙂

Southern & Style

I love this post so, so much! I’ve been keeping journals since I was a little girl (now I’m a 23 year old married girl!) and a few weeks ago when I went to clean out my old bedroom at my parents, we found them and it reminded me of such great memories. I’ve been keeping journals for as long as I can remember and I hope that I keep them for as long as I can keep writing!

xoxo, SS

Southern And Style


The prompts link is dead & I’d love to try some of them! Any way you can repost or maybe tweet the link to me? @KateScott10 Thanks!