17 tips on keeping a journal or diary

Journal whatever is important to write about right then and there.

by Doreene Clement — 

Whether you already keep a journal or want to start, here are some ideas and tips to help you with your journaling.

1. New to keeping a journal? Start with writing, “Today, I am grateful for …” and fill in the blank with what you are grateful for.

2. Write in your journal freely. Do not worry about how it looks, your grammar or even spelling errors. Write how you want, what you want and where you want.

3. Write a word, a sentence, a paragraph or whole pages; journaling whatever you have to say that day is just the right amount to write.

4. Set your journal where you will see it every day (e.g., on your nightstand, at your desk or where you have coffee). This will remind you to journal.

5. Your journal can be a daily gift you give yourself.

6. Part of keeping a journal is skipping a day, a week and even months.

7. Remember to use your journal for your benefit and well-being, whatever that means to you. Keeping a journal is a powerful tool that creates time just for you.

8. Write with a pen, pencil, felt pen, crayons or colored pencils — whatever you choose.

9. Journal whatever is important to write about right then and there. I’ve journaled about a fabulous soup I ate, my concerns about a friendship, my dreams for the future.

10. Find the right journal or book for you: the right size, shape or color, lined or unlined.

12. Find the right place for you to write: in bed, at your desk or on the kitchen table.

13. Find the right time of day for you to write: morning, noon or night.

14. Keeping your journal private may mean setting boundaries for those in your home. It may mean hiding your journal or even locking it away. You will have to make an individual decision about what keeping your journal private means to you.

15. Re-read your journal, or not. I rarely re-read my journals but, when I have, it has been very supportive. Some people always read what they have written. Again, it is a personal choice.

16. You can journal in a book, on your computer or online in a blog. You also can use a tape recorder, video camera, e-mails or a calendar.

17. Whatever you have to say in your journal is perfect, because that is what is important to you right now.


Doreene Clement was a cancer victim and author of The 5 Year Journal. www.the5yearjournal.com or 480-423-8095.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 2, April/May 2006.

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