The idea of keeping a journal conjures up romantic notions of a profound record of personal thoughts that you can look back and keep for posterity. With these grand ambitions no wonder most people, even with the best of intention of writing regularly,become over awed by the prospect and give up. Like with most things in life, good journal writing comes with practise and giving some thought about the right environment to write and what will best help sustain motivation is as important as thinking about what you put on the page.
I know it sounds simple, but first think about the journal itself, as it may have an impact on your writing. A blank page journal may seem daunting for first timers, but there are products such as the “1 Paragraph Diary,” an undated diary with just space for a paragraph for each day, which can help you focus. Similarly the newspaper diary style of “A Single Day,” with just a day per page for personal headlines and column inch notes, can add a bit fun, but help concentrate your thoughts and highlight issues of that day. There are also journals out there with prompts to help you write, specific notebooks such as gratitude, family history and reading diaries and personal development stationery such as the “MI Goals” and Inspire books. So think about why you want to start a journal, how much time you can devote to it and if you will need a little structure at first.
Depending on where you want to write, the size of your journal can make a huge difference. If you are only going to write at home in a specific place, feel free to choose as big a notebook as you want. Larger pages mean more writing space and less interruption to turn the page. More pages mean more ideas can be put down in one place for easy reference. However, if you do plan on writing anywhere and everywhere, it’s probably better to pick a smaller journal. The portability of a smaller journal more than makes up for any shortcomings in length or writing space. If you can’t decide or need different pattern pages choose a brand with a range of different sizes to experiment. In essence that’s the key to Moleskines’ popularity, although up and coming brand Millimeter Milligrams’ “Draw your Mind” notebooks are a little bit more quirky and are now gaining a following (but I’m biased).
Thinking about what you want to write about and the type of journal you are going to use are the foundations to successful writing. If you have a clear writing goal and enjoy using the journal you have chosen for the task, this will aid your motivation to write and encourage your creativity. Now all you have to contemplate is how to start to write your entries and what to write about day-to-day!