What is journaling and how do I get started journaling?

Posted by Lucy Joy Tedham on

You are not alone if you (like I was) looked at many different journals, spreads, products and are left feeling unsure of what to do and how to start. Questioning if it’s even worth the effort .

From someone who was overwhelmed when I first started looking into it I can tell you, wholeheartedly that it is absolutely worth it. There is something magic in putting pen to paper. Let me share with you some tips and things I have learnt which might help...

What is journaling?

It is simply writing things down in a note book. What you choose to write, why and how are the ‘methods’. I promise you it is not as complicated as we may be tempted to think. 

There are many different journaling methods and they are not all ‘right’ for you at the same time. Life goes in seasons and as life changes so do our needs. You may find one method looks impossible now but in a few years you may be in love with it. Try not to allow yourself to fit into a box which says ‘I do this and not that’ just accept what works for you now and go with it. 

So what are these methods?

I can only share with you what I know and that I have used, I have though enjoyed exploring lots of them....

Bullet journaling or Bujo -

this is a great way to write, organise and list your way through life and your day. They can be spreads which cover the most detailed moments all the way to long term plans. You will see things like weekly and monthly spreads, keys to code those lists. You will see tracking and calendars, all helping to keep track of life and what you are doing.

I love this because I have played and tweaked my method to allow me to organise what I’m doing in a way that I can keep track and yet be flexible. I don’t tend to use my to plan big long term events but track and encourage myself in the day to

Bullet journaling Bujo explained with Lucyjoy

Free-writing -

This is more of those ‘dear diary’ moments. Although did anyone every write that? I used this method for a while writing to someone, a fictional character because I needed a person or focus to write to. I find this is a fun way to write, you could explore putting them in envelopes and rereading them in years to come. 

This is a method recommended in ‘The Artists way’ by Julia Cameron and called ‘morning pages’ which is taking time each morning and writing in a book for three pages, without stopping and without editing or rereading. This is about emptying whats in your head and just allowing it to escape onto the page. Imagine all those words and thoughts which were taking up room in your head have now been pulled out and stored on the page. 

I really like this idea, but if I’m honest I have a fear of what I would write and of other people reading it (maybe not immediately but anytime in the future) This method only works if you can completely trust and relax into it.

For me I do so need to share my thoughts in a written way similar to this and so I have found a way which really works for me. I like to read my Bible first thing in the morning as I’ve heard said by the Proverbs31 ministry team ‘word before world’ which to me has been so helpful. It’s easy to start the day filled with worries and concerns and instead of letting that horse run off, I feed it with good wholesome food. I spend time reading my Bible, from there I grab my journal and I free write, I’m writing about what I’ve learned, about questions, about what I’ve heard. I explore my now alongside the truth. This for me has been such a good way to free-write.

The heart of this is to remind yourself to look out, to see its not all about us but there is a whole world full of goodness, and full of people who need what we have. Our thoughts should drive us forward not inward.

Gratitude journaling for what is journaling by Lucy Joy

Creative Journaling  -

this works more like a sketchbook. For many its colours and collage exploring the creative side of you that so often gets pushed away. Grave a sketchbook and draw, colour, stick ... just make it your

Creative journal spread - affirmations. By Lucy Joy to help answer what is journaling

These are just a few methods and a great thing to think through and decide which you want to explore first. Do let men know how and what you get up too. 

Gratitude journalling

 This is a great way to get started, I found that taking time out to write what I am grateful for was a game changer to helping me as I move forward. It’s easy to take things for granted but  I created this journal and filled it with the things I am grateful for, the things I don't want to be without. 

So with all these options you may be asking - why should I journal whats so great about it?

Well there is some magic in writing, I believe. Its a way to slow down a busy mind and focus. To see in black and white whats eating up your time. It helps you see what you think about and helps you address whats bothering you. There are many people who state how great it is for mental health, all I can tell you is that it has been so good for me. Its an opportunity to speak and be heard, to understand where you thoughts are going and find the focus that can so easily feel distant. 



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