What to write in a journal? This was the first question I asked myself as I opened my beautiful new notebook and gazed at the blank page in front of me, pen poised ready to tell my story. That’s where my first attempt at writing a journal ended. The empty page stopped me in my tracks and all good intentions flew out of the window.

It took me a while to figure out that there are no rules to writing a journal and a brand-new beautiful notebook is a hindrance rather than a benefit. A blank page can be daunting so using journaling prompts as suggested in our how to start journaling steps can be an easy win.

The basic idea of a journal is to put down our thoughts and reflections onto paper. You can do this online or via a computer but research has shown that handwriting (if possible) engages the brain in a different way to using a keyboard so I will always advocate using a pen and paper rather than a device.

What to write in a journal - Get started with an open book

What to write in a journal: My tips…

Let Thoughts Flow Freely

If you’ve bought a brand-new notebook begin by scribbling, making notes or put a coffee stain on the inside cover. This will free you up and enable you to write outside of the margins and without editing. Just let the words flow and forget about trying to make it perfect. Journaling is not about perfection on the page.

The Benefits of Frequency

The reap the benefits of journaling for your mental health and wellbeing, keeping a journal needs to become a habit, a little bit like the gym. It’s no good buying a membership if you don’t step on the treadmill. Developing any new positive habit can be challenging in the beginning but in the long run it is so worth the effort. If you struggle with what to write, then use morning journaling prompts like the Reflections card game.

For Your Eyes Only

Whether you journal online in the form of a private blog or use the traditional pen on paper it’s important to keep it private. Your innermost private thoughts are not for public consumption. A private journal enables us to be honest with ourselves. The privacy allows us to express our feelings and thoughts without worrying about what other people think of us.

Express yourself 

A journal doesn’t have to be just words.  You can be as adventurous as you like! Your journal pages can include anything from doodles and colouring pages to stickers and photos. Give yourself permission to be creative on the page!

So, to conclude, the advantages of journaling will soon be plain to see if you start your day by being aware of your waking thoughts and use regular journaling as a tool to ensure that the day is a good one as you leave your anxieties, worries and recriminations on the page.

Next time you’re wondering what to write in your journal, just keep it real and tell your story, your way.

Do let me know how you get on.