Don’t stress about it – My number one trick to keep up your journaling habit.
If you’ve read my previous blog posts about building a journaling habit, you will know that over the past few months, I have endeavoured to write something in my book every day. I haven’t written every day, but I would say that I have successfully developed the habit.
One major mistake I made when attempting this task a couple of years ago was to purchase a dated diary for my journal. It was beautiful! It was small with a lovely leather cover, and the pages were perfect for any medium. I could use watercolours or fountain pens without fear of bleed-through or disintegration. The trouble was the dates on the pages.
As soon as I missed one, I felt like I needed to catch up! Missing one day was ok, I could fill it in later. But on those occasions that one missed day became two or three – heaven forbid a week even! – the mere thought of playing catch up was too much!
I could paint a lovely picture on them or stick in a pretty postcard to fill the gap. But inevitably I wouldn’t. I would skip to the current day and try to start again. And that’s what it felt like. It felt like starting over because I’d failed at my job to journal every day. Those blank pages, the gaps in my life, would be there taunting me.
Those dated pages had turned writing in my journal into a chore. It was now a task I had to complete every day, or I would have failed.
No one read my book. No one would know the blank pages were in there except me, but still, I couldn’t live with that.
I have found writing so much more therapeutic this time around. My book is a place to record my daily activities, but it is also a lot more freeing than that. The entries don’t have to be date specific. Sometimes I don’t even write the date on the page. I can miss a day or two without feeling overwhelmed by the thought of needing to go back and fill empty pages. That, in itself, means that I haven’t missed more than a couple of days at a time. Every time I pick up my book, I just start on the next blank page. I stick in a picture or write about my day, draw a doodle or vent some frustrations.
Keeping a journal is not a chore. It never features on my to-do list. It is there for me whenever I choose, and if I decide not to use it today, that’s fine too.
My journal is meant to help relieve stress – not create it.
If you have never kept a journal, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Yours doesn’t need to look like mine, or anyone else’s. You might feel the urge to write daily, weekly or even monthly. Maybe there’s no writing in yours at all, perhaps it’s filled with drawings of your breakfast. Whatever works for you to give you a little quiet time and space with your thoughts.
If you need somewhere to write it down check out my new notebooks – start small and don’t stress it!