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7 Tips for Growing Your Journaling Practice

When I was nine, I received a diary as a birthday gift.

I remember this diary well. The pages were parchment-thin, the gold lines so close together that my rather large, bubbly handwriting took up two lines instead of one.

I wrote about my day on its pages – what happened at school, who I was mad at, which boy I had a crush on. Important things like that.

When I was done writing, I would close the diary and carefully click the tiny padlock into place, then hide the diary in my underwear drawer. Little did I know, but that tiny padlock did absolutely nothing to keep nosy cousins out, nor did stashing it in my underwear drawer serve as a good hiding place. (Apparently, this was where a lot of nine-year-old girls hid their diaries.) You can only imagine the lessons I learned from this.

Now that I am an adult, my daily writing is no longer just a description of my day, nor does it get locked up with a tiny padlock or hidden away in a drawer. I no longer worry about people snooping over what I wrote because quite honestly, my family sees me writing so often that there’s no way they could keep up.

Just as I have grown and matured, so has my journaling practice. My journaling has become more introspective than descriptive. I will write about my day, but I include my thoughts and feelings about it too.

If you are looking to embrace an adult-style journaling habit, you may not know where to begin.

Here are some tips I give my coaching clients to help them get started that may help you too:

  • The easiest way to begin journaling is to just write what you are thinking. All of it. Don’t censor yourself.

  • Don’t worry about your grammar, punctuation, or anything that might get crossed out with a red pen.

  • Your inner critic does not need to be invited to your journaling practice. When it tells you that you are a terrible writer, thank it for its concern then keep writing.

  • Let your journaling practice be whatever you need it to be. You can be inspired by others, but try not to compare yourself to them.

  • Habits are best formed when they are done at the same time every day. Set a time for writing and then write. For me, this comes right after I pour my first cup of coffee in the morning and before I reach for the second cup.

  • You don’t always have to write in sentences. Sometimes, the best way I get ideas out of my head is to create a list or a doodle.

  • You decide what works best for you. You are the boss of your own journaling practice.

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