How to Be a Journalista (Plus Two Journaling Myths)

Have you always wanted to journal but don't really know where to start? Here are some ideas of how to get started with journaling plus two journaling myths that might be keeping you back. Click to read more.

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I’ve kept a journal since I was six years old, and in that time I’ve encountered a lot of surprised comments, random thoughts concerning journaling, and a fair share of myths. For some reason, the practice of journaling is shrouded in sort of a mysterious cloak—as if only writers and poets and teenage girls could possibly keep one, but today I’d love to share with you that is just not true. I don’t consider myself a “writer” in terms of writing fiction or biographical feats, and my teenage years are, ahem, many years in the past. Yet I write regularly in my journal. So, what’s my secret?

Well, first, let’s dispel some journaling myths. By sharing these, I want to show you that journaling really is for everyone—the 6 year old writing about how much she loves Hello Kitty all the way to the little old lady writing about what she plans to plant in her garden this spring.

Journaling Myths: Two Big Ones and Why They Are Not True

Myth No. One: “Journaling” means writing in a little book every single day for the rest of your life.

I’ve heard this misconception over and over and have to admit I used to believe it myself. Since I was first introduced to journaling with a small diary that had dated pages, I felt bad when I didn’t write for days (and sometimes, weeks). In fact, many of those early entries were simply apologies for not writing more.

It wasn’t until I realized that journaling is for me that I began to loosen up my rules about needing to write every day. Unless you’re in a class where you’re required to journal on a daily basis, there is absolutely no reason why you should feel the pressure to write every single day, especially if you’re writing things like, “I’m not really sure what to write today but I’m supposed to write something so . . . ”

Write every day if you want to or once a week or once a month. Journaling is a place for you to find your voice and to share your heart. Which brings me to Myth No. Two.

Myth No. Two: A journal is a place to record everything that happened that day.

Okay, you could in fact write a detailed account of your life if that is something that interests you. But you don’t have to.

This is a myth that is perpetuated by all the published journals we have from people around the world—people who wrote detailed and even riveting accounts of their lives at the time. I’ve read some of these and think they’re interesting, but unless you’re planning on publishing your journals down the road, there’s no reason why you need to follow this method.

I’ve talked to many women who have confided that they would like to keep a journal but it seemed like a lot of work (i.e., having to write every day) and they didn’t feel they had a lot to write about because their life was pretty mundane (i.e., who wants to write about doing two loads of laundry and picking the kids up from school?) To them and to you (if you’re wondering), I have to say once again that a journal is for YOU.

Need some ideas of what to write? Here you go:

~ Record goals
~ Make a map of dreams or things you’d like to do someday
~ Draw or list the best things that happened to you that day (*I love this idea from Steal Like an Artist)
~ Paint funny paintings
~ List things to do
~ Write about things that make you happy or grateful
~ Write out creative business ideas
~ Keep a record of gifts to make and/or buy
~ Draw pictures of your cat
~ Write about what you’re learning right now
~ Write your thoughts about a Bible or book passage you just read
~ On that note, journal your prayers
~ Write a bucket list for this year
~ Cut out words from magazines that are meaningful to you, and glue them in your journal
~ Write about a favorite memory
~ P.S. Click here for a few great resources on art journaling!

Seriously, record your LIFE. What you put in your journal is completely up to you, and the beautiful thing is by doing so, you’ll be creating a completely unique record of your life. I also feel that once we’ve tossed the ideas of having to write every day about every little thing, our hearts become more open to writing regularly. It becomes something we look forward to and enjoy. In fact, I consider the time I sip tea and write as a mini creative retreat in itself. :)

So, tell me, do you keep a journal? Have you struggled with these myths before?

P.S. If you want to learn how to make your own journal, click here. I also have an art journaling post here if you’re interested.

P.P.S. And if you’d like more journaling ideas, be sure to check out my Pinterest board here:

6 thoughts on “How to Be a Journalista (Plus Two Journaling Myths)

  1. So relateable! I have been keeping a journal since I was little and I also used to apologize in my own journal for not writing more. Like, who the hell do I have to say sorry to?! Future me? Still bugs me sometimes if I don’t. Anyway, great post!

    1. Oh my goodness, I’m glad I’m not the only one. Those apologetic entries crack me up, especially since for some of them, that’s all I wrote. “Sorry I haven’t written in a long time. Well, I gotta go!” haha Hope you have a great week! :)

  2. Do you keep all of your journals? Do you ever go back and read them? If you keep them, why? If they contain things that you wouldn’t want others to read, what do you do with them?

    1. Hi Tracey, No, I don’t keep all of my journals. I’ll keep them for a while because I do tend to reference them—some of them have ideas for projects that I want to revisit (okay, a LOT of them do!) so I keep them around for a while. I’ve kept some from when I was younger but every once in a while, I do a purge because they pile up. Some people keep them forever; it just depends on your personal preference. Hope that helps!

  3. I already replied to your email about this, but whatevs. XD In addition to my new devotional journal, I also have this little journal in my purse that I’ve had for much longer. I write in it maybe once a month? Often less. I pretty much only write in it when I’m upset or am having a bad day or something, and I just need to spill my feelings through writing. I love the idea of keeping a journal where I write about happy things, haha! (I have done that, it’s just not often.) Thanks for this inspiring post, Jennie!
    Maggie recently posted…The Doodle CardMy Profile

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Maggie. I love how you have journals for each occasion—prayer, happy, frustrated . . . I do that at times too!

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