3 myths about journaling

3 common myths about journaling

As someone who has kept a journal for about 30 years now (where’s that shocked face emoji when you need her?!), I've heard ALL the myths about journaling. And I can categorically tell you they're not true. But I do know that the thought of starting a journal can be, at worst, daunting, and at best, just making you think

“Is it worth the time and effort?”

I can only ever lend my experience to the conversation and, hopefully, be a reassuring cheerleader if you do decide to start a journal. I thought that in this post, I’d start my role of reassuring cheerleader by allaying some fears and busting some myths about journaling.

Myth number 1: You have to write pages and pages about your deepest darkest feelings

Nope. Doesn’t have to be. Your journal can be a glorified list book, reminding you of what you’ve got to do any given week (or day). Or your journal can be an appointment book. If you’re a student, it can help you keep track of important assignment dates, when you need to renew library books or maybe (given the current Covid climate), be the place where you note down when your Zoom lectures are happening.

Your journal can be a place where you meal plan, track your self care, doodle, draw, design, dream…..and yes, write down what you’re feeling and thinking (if you want to.)

Basically your journal can be whatever you want it to be.

Myth number 2: You need to learn some complicated system of squares, dots and ticks

You’re probably thinking of bullet journals. And if you weren’t, you’re probably more confused about why I’ve brought ballistics into a post about journaling. Shoot. (See what I did there?!) Anyhoo. Bullet journaling is actually an organisation system. It was devised by a guy called Ryder Carroll to kind of bring all the stuff that’s going around your head at any one time into some semblance of order. A typical bullet journal can combine appointments, tasks, brainstorming and ideas, lists…you get the idea.

Why bullet? Well, originally that’s because all of those things are in a bullet point list, but it’s also because a bullet journal is usually housed in a notebook with dotted pages, like little bullet points.

It can get petty intense, with an index to order everything, a key for all the symbols used to arrange the information…yeah. It can be a lot.

Do I keep a bullet journal?

No. Not in the traditional sense. But I do borrow some of the best bits of bullet journaling. Or at least, of how bullet journaling has evolved.

Myth number 3: You need to be really dedicated and write in it every day

This one is kinda similar to Myth Number 1. I don’t believe that writing in a journal daily is the best fit for everyone, but I do believe a regular journaling habit is incredibly beneficial to mental health.

I think it’s really useful here to share how I use my own journal. Now, as you may have figured out by my website / Instagram / market stall, I’m an artist. Which might help you figure out that I don’t just use my journal for writing in. I use it as a place to create. Whether that’s sketching a few cute flowers round a to-do list, or spending time doing something more elaborate, the creative time is just as important as what is written in my journal.

reasons to journal

Personally, I do use my journal every day, but sometimes, that’s just to colour in something on one of my habit trackers, which brings me neatly to…..

The fun stuff!

Now that I’ve hopefully allayed some of your journaling fears, it’s time to talk a little bit about some of the fun stuff you can do with your journal. I frequently refer to my journaling habit as being my own best friend. It’s a place where I can truly be myself, note down all my crazy ideas, organise my thoughts, keep track of things, do something that can be mindless and mindful at the same time.

weekly journal spread inspiration

On my YouTube channel I take you through some simple illustrations to brighten up your pages and also some tricks that will dress up any dreariness (given the, ahem, lack of exciting appointments in the midst of the last 18 months of the corona-coaster.) Like this one where I show you how to draw a dandelion:

 

Tools of the trade

Now, before you start freaking out and worrying about buying loads of stuff to start (or re-start) your journaling habit - STOP.

You do not need to buy loads of stuff.

In fact, I’d hazard a guess that you don’t need to buy any stuff. If you’ve got a notebook and a pencil, you’re golden. Throughout the month, I will of course share some of my favourite journaling bits and bobs, but that is purely because I am a complete stationery addict and I’ve never met a notebook I don’t like.

A5 otter notebook

If you’ve purchased one of my notebooks, then this is a great opportunity to get using it, or you know, add to your stationery collection with another one ;) 

Come as you are

For me, as someone who prizes action above pretty much all else, journaling offers me the opportunity to prioritise self care, build a habit of creative time and put myself first for once....why don't you try it?