I don’t follow any techniques, my journaling process is mostly free style. I do as I please in the pages and my tools are very simple, an inexpensive pen or pencil with eraser, occasionally water colour and a brush. Just start where you are with what you have, keep it simple, you can include more tools once you are ready to explore new methods.
- Choose a journal. If you are a beginner, I would suggest an inexpensive book to start with; pick your choice of a lined or unlined book. If you don’t like having your written words slanting to one side, go for a lined journal, but if you wish to make art, then go for an unlined or blank journal, but of course you can draw over the lines, nothing wrong with that. It is all up to you really, there are no rules. As you become familiar with journaling, you might want to get a more special book. It’s like having that best friend that you’ll feel excited to share your stories and art with and know that it will be safe in the pages waiting for you to happily return to whenever you wish. My very first journal when I was in my teens was a little green hardcover book with a cute “girly” image on. I wrote and doodled in it mostly, that’s how I started. I also have many cheap exercise books as journals too. As I grew and wrote more, I began buying special journals that I feel connected with to keep my daily writings and kept them dearly close to me.
- Gather your tools. Have your tools and supplies of pens, pencils, paint and brushes and keep them next to your journal, that way you won’t feel scattered or lazy (to find or get them) before you even start. Have a pencil case or an artist roll to get organized and you’re good to write and scribble anytime. I have my tools and journal next to me on my work table, they are visible and within reach so I can write anytime I feel like it.
- Find a comfortable place. Journaling is about spending time with yourself, a little “me time”. Having a space without interruption makes is easier to “hear” and process your thoughts and emotions on the pages. I usually write in my studio, but I love having different settings to set my mood for writing too. Sometimes in bed before I sleep, on the couch with a drink. Other times, I bring my little journal with me when I go out and about and would scribble while at the café or in nature (my favourite place). Anywhere you can have 5-10 minutes or even a few hours (if you have the luxury) is great. It would be somewhere you are comfortable to let your mind be free to spill whatever that comes onto your journal pages.
- Be you. Tell your truth, your stories. No one is judging you in the pages, it is just you, pen and paper. Write or paint the details, or not. Write one word, or ten pages. Write how you feel about something or someone. Be creative, write silly things, draw or make silly art. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling or rules. Know that it is safe to express yourself freely. No matter how bad or ugly (that you think) your entries are, it is ok. Just let them flow. Just be YOU.
- Write the date. This is not a must but helpful if you want to see your progress. I used to draw self-portraits in my journals and the drawings have certainly evolved over the years. It is fun to see how much or less your entries (and you) change over time.
- Make it a regular practice. Some journal writers have a journaling routine, setting a time to write, for example in the mornings, carving some quiet time before the busy work day starts. Others do it in the evening before retiring to bed. Find what works best for you. You’ll find it easier to fill your pages once you have developed a habit of journaling. And when your journaling muscles start to develop, so does your intuition, things will start to shift, inside and out. When you are more at ease with yourself inwardly, your outer world will follow suit. It is like meditation, where you practise connecting to your inner self where the wealth of inspiration, creativity and wisdom lies.
- Be creative and be detached. Write, collect stuff like postcards, tickets, photos, labels, magazine cut-outs. Make collages. Be random. When writing or making art in your journal pages, don’t think too much, detach yourself from your thinking mind, your goal is to fill the pages and to play, you’re not supposed to worry what the end results will look like. Experiment with everything. The more you detach yourself from the outcome, the more fun it will be, and inspirations and insights will flow. Sometimes you’ll even be surprised by what you’ve written and created. I certainly have on countless occasions.
I hope these tips are helpful and inspire you to start journaling. Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions.