How to Write a Journal
“What is a diary as a rule? A document useful to the person who keeps it. Dull to the contemporary who reads it and invaluable to the student, centuries afterwards, who treasures it.” — Walter Scott
1. Make a commitment to write journal regularly.
Set up a schedule that suits you and follow it. Don’t skip writing sessions if you don’t know what to write about — just start with a rough paragraph and keep developing it (see “Write” section below).
2. Choose tools that are convenient and inspiring.
For instance, Mémoires, our journaling software, is a simple and effective tool that keep you focused on your journal’s content, not the app itself.
You’d want to write your journal on your computer, and here’s why:
- it’s searchable (easy to find everything your wrote about);
- secure (no need to hide anything, just remember your password);
- editing and rewriting is easy.
However, you may need a small paper notebook when you’re away from your computer — try Moleskine or Field Notes. Just remember to type entries back into your journaling software.
3. Just write.
Writing is hard, but it becomes easier as you write more.
“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” — Plato.
Open your journal, type in a few words — just your thoughts — and you’ll get into the flow. You don’t have to keep your first paragraph — it’s just for a warm up.
4. Add photos to your journal.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
We are lucky to live in the age of digital photography — you can take millions of photos at no cost. Not everything can be described with words, keep some of your pictures in your journal.
5. Try different styles.
In your journal entries talk to yourself, your journal, or some imaginary or real person. Write as you would write a letter, or a newspaper column. Try different styles to find your true voice.
6. Review your journal.
Review your journal regularly (for example, once a week) to get inspiration. Keep notes about your feelings (you can even write them down in a new journal entry).