9 Actionable Journaling Tips for First-Timers

beginner journaling tips

Journaling allows you to explore your feelings and thoughts through writing in a journal or a diary. There are many known journaling benefits that you can find particularly helpful if you are under stress or feeling emotionally exhausted. Journaling can also serve as a problem-solving tool and provide other health benefits. Since there’s a generous amount of journaling benefits, it comes as no surprise why many people want to know how to start journaling. If you are planning to keep a journal as well, you could make use of some beginner journaling tips.

Journaling can be an effective self-exploration and stress-management tool as it allows you to unload your overwhelming thoughts and feelings through writing.  It also gives you a sense of clarity about how you feel and think, giving you valuable self-knowledge. Have a look at the top 9 beginner journaling tips to help you get started! 

9 Beginner Journaling Tips
  • Change Your Mindset

The first journal you will ever have will serve as your learning journal. Do not pressure yourself too much. Your journal doesn’t need to be a hand-made leather, and you’re neither required to have a stunning penmanship. Drop all the common notions you have in journaling and change your mindset. See journaling as a tool for you to express your feelings and thoughts and release whatever tension that’s bugging you. Remember that journaling aims to help you reduce your stress, not add to it.

  • Buy a Journal and Other Writing Tools

Obviously, you need something to write onto and a pen as well. Begin with an affordable notebook and other writing tools. There’s this thing called bullet journaling – a type of journaling that’s been increasingly popular today. It allows you to show your creativity while blending together thoughtful reflection, self-expression, and deliberate planning in analog form.

If you want to do bullet journaling as well, others recommend beginning with a blank or dotted notebook and a pencil so that you can erase your mistakes easily. Otherwise, you can buy gel pens or ballpoint pens and other tools such as highlighters and watercolor to take your bullet journaling (also known as BuJo) to the next level. If you want to stick to the traditional, more basic journaling, a simple notebook and pen will do.

  • Divide Your Journal into Sections

There are many types of a journal: emotional release, gratitude journal, and bullet journal. All of these journals serve different purposes, and you can choose among them which works best for you. However, if you want to have all of these in a single notebook, you can divide your journal into three different sections. Create a section for emotional release, another one for gratitude, and one for personal planning or the bulleted type.

If you want to write about how you coped with stressful events throughout the day, you can write in the emotional release section. If there’s something you are grateful for, write about it on the gratitude section. And if you have goals to achieve or a schedule you need to keep up with, write it down in a bulleted form in your personal planning page. This way, you’ll no longer need three different journals, you have it all in one place.

  • Make Logs

Logs are places where you can braindump the projects and tasks you are working on at the moment. They also serve as your storehouse for your goals in the future. Journaling not only lets you write about what happened during your day, but it also allows you to have an idea of the future. So, if you want to keep track of your progress, creating logs is the best way.

  • Choose Your Signifiers

You can write just about anything in your journal, and you can customize it the way you want. Also, you can make use of bullets if you want to write about your future plans, highlight special moments and memories, and put dashes in your notes. Besides, your journal is highly customizable, therefore you can use your personal signifiers to remind you of important notes. 

  • Make a List of Things You Want to Remember

This can be anything from books you wish to read, movies you plan to watch, friends you want to renew ties with, self-care tips, and more. You can write these things towards the back of your journal since they normally don’t change that quickly.

  • Dedicate a Time for Journaling

Among all beginner journaling tips, setting up a diary schedule is crucial. This is especially important if you’re keeping a bullet journal. Tick off items in your daily, weekly and monthly logs as you accomplish them. As a result, you will see the things you’ve achieved while moving forward. If you write in your journal regularly, you can reflect on what you’ve written in the past months, too.

  • Optimize Your Process

Over time, you’ll see what fits your journaling needs and preferences. Maybe you want to improve your handwriting or add washi tape to help you find a special page easier. Once you learn through the process, you can optimize it as you keep writing.

  • Be Consistent

This is one of the simplest, yet most effective beginner journaling tips. If you try to be as consistent as possible, you are more likely to feel the benefits of journaling, too.


These are just some of the beginner journaling tips you can use. If you find it difficult to keep a regular journaling schedule, remember that you can resume it anytime. While being consistent is highly beneficial, you can still reap journaling benefits if you write a few times each week. Finally, keep in mind that any day is a great day for a journaling habit.

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