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10 Ideas for a Journaling Jump Start

8 Mar

Today, journals come in so many designs, materials, and sizes that there is something for everyone. Once you’ve found the one for you, however, you might find yourself with pen or pencil in hand, staring at the blank pages and thinking … now what? What do I write?

It’s happened to everyone at some point whether in personal or professional cases. That’s where we come in to help. Need inspiration of where to start? Use these ideas to jumpstart your pen across those white and empty pages:

  1. Count Your Blessings: Too often we let the things we are most grateful for slip by without being fully appreciated. Start writing down three things you’re grateful for each day. It will help you to not only take note of these moments in life, but to actually watch for them and give them the attention they deserve.
  2. Make Lists: While grocery lists are rarely exciting enough to merit a place in your journal, keep lists of everything from what musicals you saw this year to what fishing lures you like best to what tricks you want to learn on your snowboard. Each list can inspire you to develop the items more.
  3. Set Goals: Writing down goals is considered the most important step to actually accomplishing them. Whether you start small and write down what you want to achieve today or this week, or if you go big and write down what you want to achieve this year or in your lifetime, you have so many pages to break down the goals into individual steps.  Check back often to write how you’re doing.
  4. Record Dreams: Sometimes dreams are unbelievably insightful—and other times, they are just crazy images inspired by too much bad television and a questionable glass of wine before bedtime. Writing down what you remember about your dreams can help cement the lessons you might otherwise lose.
  5. Note Quotes: A journal is a great place to write down quotes or sayings and refer to them later for further writing inspiration, a pick-me-up, or sharing with friends and family.
  6. Review Books/Movies/Performances: Write down your opinions about the book you just finished, the movie you just watched, or the performance you just attended. What did you like best? What do you wish was done differently? What was just completely WRONG? Did someone surprise you? You could even include pictures or your ticket stubs as extras!
  7. Remember Moments: Just like a camera, a journal can hold onto moments—fun times with your friends, worldly observations, outlandish ideas—that you will want to mull over again later. Write them down quickly and if you want, revisit that moment later to respond to it, simply reminisce, or flesh out the details.
  8. Marking Birthdays/Anniversaries: How about a special journal you bring out once a year for your birthday or anniversary? You can write down what you did, where you went, who was there, what gifts you gave and received and all of those other details. Important dates come and go too quickly in our lives not to grab onto the details so we can look at them again next year.
  9. Keep Contacts: Use a small, portable journal for writing down the names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and web sites of the people you network with at parties, work, stores, and other locations. Pull the journal out of a purse, messenger bag, or back pocket and get that contact info before the two of you go in different directions, so that later, when you are at home, you can get in touch. Always jot down a couple of words next to the name to jog your memory of why you wanted to follow up.
  10. Monitor Expenses: Are you number-minded? Wondering how much you spend on eating out or filling up the gas tank? Where does that weekly paycheck keep disappearing to? Write it all down in your journal. If nothing else, in a couple of years, when you look back at it and see what gas prices used to be, you will get a good laugh.

Open up the cover, uncap the pen or sharpen the pencil and fill in that first page. A journal is yours to create—so start writing! What words are ready to go on your page? What moments do you want to capture? Use your journal and go!

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 Meet the Writer: Tamra Orr is a full time writer and has written more than 300 books for readers of all ages. She is also mom to four and writes an average of 50 letters or more a month.

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3 Responses to “10 Ideas for a Journaling Jump Start”

  1. penpallingdad March 18, 2012 at 5:16 PM #

    This is excellent advice! I’ve started recording moments, jeez, that sort of sounds like a diary! I would also add that a journal is a great way to capture how a certain ink works with a certain fountain pen or nib. You know, capturing the thick and thin, the swirl of a flourish, a particular italic letter you have mastered or even a rough uncial blessing.

  2. Cary October 27, 2012 at 1:53 PM #

    Great article! I love the “Record Dreams” idea. It is something I have often thought about but never did. After reading this article I am going to start a Dream journal and write down all the details I can remember when i wake. It is really odd how within just a few minutes a dream that seemed so real and had such detail you simply forget. It drives me crazy to wake up with the whole dream right there and then it slowly but surely slips away.

    • europeanpaper November 5, 2012 at 1:24 PM #

      We know what you mean! It’s so frustrating to feel the remnants of a dream slip away before you can get pen to paper. It’s great to have a Dream Journal right next to your bed though so that you can capture those moments. Thanks for the comment!

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