How to Start a Creative Journaling Practice

You know you’re ready but just how DO you start a creative journaling practice? You might be wondering what kind of journal to get, what you’ll write about, how you’ll write…and that’s just the beginning.

If you’re unsure how to start a creative journal, or just want to reset your practice, I’ll give you some great tips and advice to get you going.

First things first – Choosing the right journal

Get the most out of your creative journaling practice by choosing a journal you love.

Make sure you like the size and shape of your journal, how it feels in your hands, what’s on the cover, and the interior, too.

Your inspiration and motivation can be directly affected by how much you like your journal! Crazy, right?

Ask yourself what your needs are:

  • Will you be journaling at home or on-the-go?
  • Do you like a lot of space to write in or do you write smaller and need less space?
  • Do you want a traditional lined-notebook-style journal or do you want to explore dot grid journals, sketchbooks, guided journals or workbooks?
  • Do you think you’ll write in long stretches or are you a quick and simple list-maker?

And maybe you don’t know what you need or what you’ll like! You just know you want to start a journaling practice.

Well, that’s ok. Starting with a simple lined journal is easy enough or you could shop around and see what journal calls out to your soul.

A creative journal doesn’t have rules. Instead, you’re encouraged to write and express yourself freely. No one is correcting you and nothing you put in the journal is ever wrong.

Almost immediately, you’ll start trusting your creativity and begin to journal without limits!

Pretty Pens to Write With!

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Deciding how to Use Your Journal

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The first thing you need to decide is how you want to use your journal.

Will you simply record your ideas, lists, notes and to-dos? Or would you prefer that your journal be a place without limits and structure where you can unleash your imagination and practice your creativity? Maybe you’re looking for a place to set goals and make plans.

The goal of any creative journaling practice is to express yourself creatively and reach your personal goals for your practice; being aware of this will make a big difference in how you use your journal.

Therefore, it’s important to establish its purpose early on.


Getting Started Technique #1: Write Without Restriction

One of the best ways to start a creative journaling practice is to use the freewriting technique. I call it a “brain dump” and you might also know it as brainstorming or stream-of-consciousness writing.

This technique is easy enough: simply sit down and start writing.

Just write whatever comes mind, as it comes into mind, and don’t worry about editing and punctuation. In fact, it’s best if you don’t edit or use punctuation – this isn’t an English paper!

You don’t need to follow a certain structure or have any prior ideas of what to write. The things you jot down don’t even need to make sense.

Write as little or as much you want to on anything that pops into your head. You’ll be surprised how much creativity this type of writing can conjure up.

As you jot things down, you’ll find yourself discovering more and more clarity. You’ll find yourself feeling more at ease, more peaceful, as you just get “it” all down on the page.

What then happens is that your creativity is no longer burdened by thoughts of the monkey mind. You’ve let go of “to dos,” plans, and those things you need to remember – for a little while, anyway.

And there’s nothing quite like that sense of relief that follows a good freewriting session!

Getting Started Technique #2: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How Prompted Writing

If freewriting doesn’t appeal to you and you need a slightly more structured way to get you started, try getting back to basics.

Start by thinking up questions starting with the words…

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How

Just a few ideas include:

  • Who do I feel grateful for and why?
  • What do I want to do today?
  • When was the last time I belly laughed?
  • Where do I see myself in 5 years?
  • Why am I starting a creative journaling practice?
  • How could I discover my favorite ways to journal and plan?

Yes, you can get great results from coming up with your own journaling prompts!

Remember, there are absolutely no rules you need to follow. However, if you’re more comfortable with structure, you can set up your own guidelines (or use the ones I provide on this site) to have a framework for your creative journaling practice.

Keep in mind, however, that your practice should never be limited – that would defeat the purpose. The more flexible you can be, the better.

Now you have a couple of techniques that’ll help you get started with a creative journaling practice. It’s up to you to keep the momentum going and turn it into a habit!

How do you journal? Drop me a note in the comments!

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