Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Starting A Journal - Tips And Tricks!

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Something I really love about journalling is the layers you can build on a single page. If you want to express yourself, if you want to write how you are feeling but you want to keep it safe in your heart you can have the release of writing, and just cover it up afterward. The beautiful thing is your journal doesn't have to make sense, it doesn't have to be pretty, you don't need to have an exceptionally interesting life or things to write about. Anything remotely to do with you deserves to be in your journal. And it can be as irrelevant as a quote, or a word you like. It can be something you want to remember, a to do list, a shopping list. It can be a scribble, a photograph- a piece of paper from your favourite magazine or a receipt from something you bought. There are no rules! That's the beauty of it. Journalling can help you be more in touch with yourself- your creative self, your emotional self. It can help you remember, reflect and release. Your journal doesn't have to be a beautiful place, just a safe place. Somewhere you can be without judgement. Without pressure! It can allow you to accept imperfection and understand growth through mistakes.
Another reason I really love keeping journals is the satisfaction of finished page/s or even a finished book. To be able to look back on moments you had forgotten about and to simply see pieces of your life pressed on a page. It really does add a value to your life because you have taken the time to document it. You start to exist on those pages, and that makes it feel important, even the little things. You can personally appreciate your own self, and all the small things that make your life yours! Journalling can be therapeutic, it's fun, it's private. Get to know yourself through journalling! Explore your own mind and your own creativity. It's a process that never has to end and it keeps your mind expanding creatively while keeping in touch with yourself.

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part about journalling. That blank white page can be all too perfect and intimidating. We tend to think our journal should look perfect and pretty and that our writing should be interesting, meaningful or purposeful. That's just not the point! Once you start on a page, finishing it becomes so much easier. Depending on the type of journal you are using- whether it be a diary style, an art journal, a collage or scrapbook style- the best place to start is just to start! Don't plan too much or get caught up making things perfect. Splash some colour on a page or glue an image or a piece of ephemera and use it to help prompt you to write! Or if you don't like writing collect little pieces from your days and stick them down in your book however you feel like! Journalling should be an intuitive and impulsive process! Allow yourself to express freely and just do what makes you feel happy! Sometimes the actual process is so much more important than the end result. Writing, drawing, gluing, painting- it can be a healing or reflective activity. It can be fun and relaxing. It should be don,e from start to finish, without any pressures from yourself. Allow yourself to start, to make mistakes and to ENJOY the process no matter the outcome. Never criticise or second guess it, just allow yourself to get lost in a page and be impulsive about the way you create it. That's what it's all about!

If you're anything like me, you grew up writing in a diary as a child, and stuck with it through your teenage years.. Well, if 'stuck with it' meant stopping and starting in a million different journals, always getting bored and giving up. Starting in a journal is always exciting, it's like that feeling at the beginning of a new year- a fresh start. The book is pretty, it's clean and perfect and ready to be filled with amazing stories and memories, right?
Not necessarily!

My first tip, a very important one which I included in my top 5 in Get Creative Magazine in May- it doesn't matter what you journal about! It doesn't have to be exciting or interesting or even make sense. Your journal is for you. It's a place to enjoy, unwind, be yourself. Write little things you want to remember or work through issues through writing- like therapy if you wish, it doesn't matter what the content is as long as you want to write about it.

Next tip, don't ever put pressure on yourself to journal every day. YES you need to make time to journal, but it should be done freely without rules or limitations. I don't journal every day! I journal whenever I feel inspired to do so.. Sometimes I have something in particular I want to write about, sometimes I have pieces of ephemera from my days that I want to glue in. Some weeks I may feel like journaling every day, other times I won't journal for weeks! Your journal waits for you! Make good use of it but allow it to be your happy place, too.

But don't get stuck on writing.. Writing in your journal can be fun, and therapeutic but it's not the only way to do it! If you like to draw, do that! If you like to collage, do that! I like to collect ephemera from my life- mail, tickets, labels, photos etc, but I also like to incorporate images or papers that simply look appealing to me. The fun thing about journalling is it can be whatever you want it to be. And filling blank pages with images that make your heart sing can be so rewarding all in itself!
Which brings me to my next tip! - use memorabilia in your journals! This can make your journal so much more exciting to use and read! Things from your life can help jog your memory and even help prompt you to write! Again, the writing teamed with your memorabilia doesn't have to be exciting and your memorabilia can be as simple as a piece of packaging from something you bought or a stamp off some mail, use your imagination and you will be surprised at how much of your every day life can be documented in this way!

Another fun way to keep interested in keeping a journal, is to add interaction to your journal. Pockets, envelopes, hidden tags and tucked away journalling can make your book so much funner to write in and read through. Using washi tape to add extra envelopes and pockets is easy, fast and it looks pretty! You can also use glue or double sided tape, there's no rules, do what works for you!

My last tip for now, which is possibly the most important of all, is to allow yourself to journal freely without striving for perfection. As soon as you put pressure on yourself to make a perfect page, you suck the enjoyment right out! All the little accidents you make while you journal are a part of you, your real life and they capture a certain charm or element you won't find on a 'perfect page'. The little marks or scribbles give substance to your journalling and add character and make it so much more interesting anyway! You can't ruin a journal by using it, using it is what makes it interesting and oh so special!

Don't be afraid of your journal- just dive in and enjoy the journey!

If you're still feeling stuck for inspiration you should check out some journalling process videos on youtube! I have done some on my channel here. And there is a wealth of inspiration available to you from other creative people too!


  1. Your journals are very inspiring.Great blog post!

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  3. This is a brilliant post! I love how you mentioned that "your journal waits for you". I love journalling but sometimes I feel like I must put pressure on myself to record the events that happened recently when I have missed days. And I totally get what you mean about feeling like pages have to be pretty and perfect, because I get annoyed if they are not. You've helped me to realise that they don't have to be! I apologise for rambling a bit!! Your journals are beautiful :)

  4. Your journals are such an inspiration !!! Thanks for the journey !!! Hugs

  5. Awesome journals!!
    I've been so inspired by your journals!

  6. Awesome journals!!
    I've been so inspired by your journals!

  7. This was Sooo.. helpful. You have inspired me to make,cut clip,stick,write... anything goes...Thanks for this Brilliant Helpful Blog Johanna 🌞

  8. Have been watching your videos, so inspiring now have started my first journal which I am making as a Vintage one. Also have an altered jounal ready to start which will be called Memories. Over the years I have written things I have remembered from early childhood so will use these. Janet

  9. Hi fellow Novocastrian. Love your YouTube channel, your journals are so colourful and make me happy to look at you turning the pages. Thank you for your inspiration, Johanna.

  10. You are such an inspiration. Thank you. I, like you collect lots of memorabilia. I use it in my planner and scrapbooks. It is always fun to look back and see how things change.I made my first journal last night. Certainly not as neat as yours but I want somewhere to journal about the Australian Bushfires.Anyway now I have started.