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A Quick Guide to Starting a New Journal

Updated on May 16, 2020
TiffanyRosenbower profile image

Tiffany is a former book blogger and current Hub writer. Some of her passions include reading, writing, and exchanging handwritten letters.

Why Start A Journal?

Keeping a journal is a popular pastime for a reason; it's affordable and can be a lot of fun. Very few tools are required; all you really need is a journal and a pen! For many people, daily journaling can be a way to relieve stress and unwind after a long day. Alternatively, some like to record their thoughts on certain events or ideas or write only when inspiration strikes.

One of the best reasons to keep a journal is the freedom of expression it allows. You can include poetry, quotes, snippets of creative writing, or whatever else you wish.

A journal is a great tool for reflection. It can be compared to taking a snapshot of your life at one moment of time - your thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams, what you did that day, even the weather, can all add up to a accurate record of the time you wrote your journal entry. It can be fascinating to go back and re-read your old journal entries, and can even be a useful tool for watching how you've changed and progressed over the years.

Writing in a journal can be very rewarding for some people
Writing in a journal can be very rewarding for some people | Source

It can be fascinating to go back and re-read your old journal entries.

Choosing A Journal

One thing that writers should keep in mind is the design and feel of the journal. Assuming that you will hold onto your journal for a long time, the design should be something you can live with. You should also keep in mind how well your journal reflects your personality, interests, and style. For example, you probably wouldn't want a bright pink notebook with flowers on it if you are not a feminine type of person.

Here are some questions you can take into consideration when deciding which journal to pick;

Do you want the pages to be lined or unlined?

What colors do you like? Even if you opt for a simple design, you will still have to decide what color would work well for you.

Would you prefer an antique look or something more modern?

What are some things you have always liked? For instance, you could search for a design with the moon on it, or something nature or animal themed.

Do you want a fun and attractive design, or would you prefer something more simple and minimalist?

Do you want the pages to have a certain layout (such as a place to put each date) or be free form?

What kind of binding do you want? Spiral bound is one popular type of binding, but it's not for everyone.

Do you want your journal to have a hard cover or soft cover?

What size of journal would work best for you?

As you can see, there is a lot you could take into account when deciding what to buy. If you're having trouble finding a journal you like in local stores, looking online might be a helpful option. Some stores, such as Etsy, even supply beautiful decorative journals that are handmade. The most important thing to remember is to choose a journal that you can live with.

You should consider whether you want your journal to have a certain layout.
You should consider whether you want your journal to have a certain layout. | Source

Documenting little details of your everyday life becomes a celebration of who you are.

— Carolyn V. Hamilton

What To Write In Your New Journal

The possibilities are endless when it comes to filling your journal pages. Just as every person is unique, each journal is different and deeply personal. Here are some ideas of what you might like to include in your journal;

  • quotes, whether you agree or disagree with a quote and why
  • poetry, writing exercises or short works of fiction
  • commentary on books, movies, or music
  • your opinion on social issues or current events
  • your thoughts on deep topics such as religion, spirituality, or the afterlife
  • your responses to journal prompts
  • commentary on the people, places, and events in your life
  • lists such as "my 10 favorite books" or "20 questions I wish I could ask Albert Einstein"
  • fun personal surveys
  • a snapshot of what is happening at the moment (It's snowing outside. I'm glad to be indoors wrapped up in my favorite blanket...)
  • your dreams
  • your goals or accomplishments
  • letters to someone else, letters to yourself in the future or past


When choosing a journal, you should take the cover into consideration
When choosing a journal, you should take the cover into consideration | Source

Things To Think About When Keeping A Journal

There is more involved in keeping a journal than just filling the pages. Although writing and self - expression are the main purposes of keeping a journal, there are a few other things you should consider too.

What should happen to your journal in the event of your death?

Many people die everyday. Although it might be a grim thought, you should consider what you want to happen with your journal in the unfortunate event of your unexpected death. Who should read it? Should it be passed down in the family, thrown out, or given away? Confiding your wishes to a loved one can help them plan ahead in the event that something tragic happens to you.

Where will you keep your journal?

Although you can store your journal anywhere you like, it's a good idea to put it somewhere safe where it won't be disturbed or lost. Many people want to keep their journals private. Storing them in a secure and inconspicuous location can help.

© 2019 Tiffany Anne

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