Before writing my book, I was asked a lot “What do I need to start journaling?” I didn’t really know how to answer the question, because I tend to be something of a minimalist when it comes to my journal essentials; however; when the question popped up again after writing and publishing the book, I figured it was time to share some of my thoughts and hopefully answer this question to the best of my abilities.
So today, I’m answering the question and keeping it simple. I will elaborate on some elements in later posts too.
Deal? Cool :)
So you’re ready to start a journal? Are you sure? Because once you start, it’s like Pringles…you won’t stop. (Side Note: This is the second post this week that I reference food…Lol) Deciding to start a journal is a big deal because journaling is a true journey into ourselves. I’m a strong believer that your journey to self should be a big deal, therefore your vessel should be one that you enjoy and the items that you bring with you on this trip should be just as meaningful too.
What do you need, then? Not much, just the following:
These three items are all you essentially need when starting your first journal. You want a journal that is sturdy and of course eye catching (my husband surprised me with this TOMS journal).
If you plan on carrying your journal with you during the day, be sure to choose a journal with a durable cover and quality paper that can survive the daily bustle of your life. When it comes to the media that you use to document your journeys, it can be a pen, pencil or marker. It depends on your preference and sometimes, what’s readily available. I keep a few pens in my purse or messenger bags (because I’m a pen thief and I have a SERIOUS pen preference issue.) No matter what, be sure you choose a writing utensil that you love to use. I have found that I write more when my pen writes great.
And of course, you can’t have a journey to self without YOU! I say that you are essential because you not only need to be physically present when journaling, you also need to be mentally and emotional present. It doesn’t matter the type of journal that you are keeping (art, gratitude, listing, etc.) you and all your senses and emotions need to be in those moments as you develop those entries. I definitely recommend not to journal “just because” because you will find yourself holding back and ultimately not going anywhere on your journey. Imagine being in a speedboat and driving in circles…Not so fun, huh?
See how simple that is? All you need are these 3 items to start a journal. Our journal experience and sessions should be simple and designed for clearing our minds, expressing our thoughts and understanding who we are and what we want out of life.
Now, if you want to amp up the creativity in your first journal, you can try adding some, if not all of these items to your journal arsenal:
Each of these items can add a punch of personality and innovation to your first journal. Magazines are great for creating collages and even journal prompts. Decorate your pages with words and images that inspire positivity and happiness. Photos make great writing prompts because they allow us to recall the day that the picture was taken and all the emotions in and behind the photo.
Who doesn’t love a pop of color? You can achieve that with markers and colored pens. Sharpie has some great no bleed pen markers in a nice variety of colors and Papermate’s new InkJoy collection gives you all the colors of the rainbow in some inexpensive and smooth writing ball point pens. Colors can represent events, emotions, months or days of the week. Adding color to your journal gives you endless inspiration.
Stamps are a fun way to decorate your handwritten pages or emphasize something of great importance. Many journal enthusiasts also use stickers for the same effects too.
Other items you can use in your journal include stickers, cardstock. washi tape, post cards, stationary, etc, etc! I could give you a list of over 30 things (maybe more) you can use in your journal but I’ll save that for another day.
When starting your first journal, I offer a little advice…Don’t get hung up on the supplies, reflect on the reason why you’re ready to start a journal. Are you in need of a release? Are you ready to write your life story? Maybe you just need an outlet for your thoughts, creativity or pains. No matter your reason, let that be the fuel for you to keep that book near you at all times so you can write it all out.
Each of us has a story worth sharing, why let someone else mess up your happy ending?
I would love to know, when did you start journaling? What did you first journal look like? Share your answers in the comments below and share your journaling essentials with me on Instagram too, follow me @the_enduringoptimist, tag me and use the hashtag #journalessentials. I can’t wait to see what you have.
If you’re new to journaling and want to know how journaling can benefit you, what other types journals there are and much more, get my book, The Optimist’s Guide to Journaling, available on Amazon.com.
Until next time, stay blessed and happy journaling!