There is something about journals that calls to me. Soft back, hard back, spiral, lined, unlined, in any size - I love journals. I have bookshelves, yes plural, dedicated to blank journals. Need a sure bet for a gift I’ll love? Get me a journal, or some coffee.
I will admit, I bought many of the journals on my shelves just because they were pretty. And for a long time, I believed they were too pretty to write in. Faced with a smooth, hand- stitched leather cover and thick velvety pages can be intimidating. I believed I shouldn’t disgrace them with my dribble and needed to wait for something epic to come to mind before writing in them.
This was especially true for me when I discovered bullet journaling. I was all over the Pinterest journal boards and subReddits. Eyeing all the artistic ways people style their journals with envy. There were so many people with true creative skills turning their journals into works of art. My doodles would not measure up to what I was seeing, so my pages remained blank.
To give my hands and mind something tangible. As humans, we need to connect our senses to the physical world around us regularly. As a writer, I create worlds and get lost in my character’s lives, but the need to work with my hands pulls me back to journaling time and time again. There is a need to step away from the keyboard and create something tangible.
To give myself some brain space. I’ve been filling out the same journal since 2016. It has not been a routine yet I find mental clarity during those streaks of using it. Journaling for me is a way to clear out the things crowding my mind. For many people, meditation works, but for me, I find peace journaling.
There is no right way to journal
When I kept myself away from journaling because I didn’t believe I had anything epic to write or my artistic skills were lacking, I felt bottled up and frustrated. Thinking I was doing it wrong and not giving myself permission to experiment.
After becoming part of journaling communities, I learned each person decides what they use a journal for and there is no wrong or right way.
You can start off with one type of journal and change it to something else. Bullet journals’ original purpose was to have different sections to encompass all aspects of your life. Instead of having a separate planner and daily thoughts journal, you have both in one. But it’s yours, you make the rules. You can journal on one thing or use different sections on anything you like:
- Day in the Life Journal
- Food & Drink Journals
- Travel Journals
- Daily Schedule/Planner Journals
- Reader’s Journals
- Gaming Journals
- Gratitude Journals
- Hiking/Outdoor Journals
- Music Journal
- Art Journal
- Story Bible/Character Journals
- Idea Journals
- Dream Journals
- Fitness Journals
- Photo Journals
- Hobby Journals
As I got more purposeful with my journaling, I discovered I like to spill my thoughts and plans on the page with just enough doodling to reveal my mood.
I have a journal for the fiction book I’m writing that includes the word count and scene edits I’m working on along with world building and character sketches. I also have my daily Spiller Journal for my thoughts, ideas, tasks, and emotions.
You don't need to be an artist to bullet journal.
Don't let your lack of skills or training keep you from experimenting with your journaling. I found a time lapse video of how to get creative with your journal when you don't have mad drawing skills. You can use props or tools like rulers, stencils, stickers and photos. This may be obvious for you but I had a huge 'duh' moment over this discovery. As of this post I'm anxiously waiting for the tools I ordered to come in.
Don’t let your lack of artistic skills keep you from experimenting with journaling. I found a time lapse video of how to get creative with your journal when you don’t have mad drawing skills. They used props or tools like rulers, stencils, stickers and photos. This may be obvious to you, but I had a huge ‘duh’ moment over this discovery. As of this post I’m anxiously waiting for the tools I ordered to come in.
Are you journaling? I’d love to hear how you use your journal and any tips or tools you can share!