5 Ways to Express Yourself in Journaling

I'm a journal junkie. Just ask my husband.

When we were rearranging the apartment a few weeks ago, and I was cleaning off bookshelves to move them around, I discovered at least a dozen blank books, journals, composition books and spiral bound notebooks that were unused, or almost unused.

I never met a blank book I didn't like!

Really. I love to stop and look at journals and blank books whenever we're in a book store, and I tend to check them out (and buy a bunch) during Back to School time. Sometimes, Scholastic Book Fairs have some really fun ones, too. If it has a pretty cover, and really inspires me to write, chances are, I'm taking it home with me.

I've been keeping journals for decades.

I started keeping a journal back in junior high, when my English teacher made us keep a journal. Of course, it always sat poorly with me that she'd read our journals, and then critique or comment on them. Who wants to write about the troubles they're having as a pre-teen, going through puberty, struggling in a new school, new town, and then have some adult that doesn't even know you go off and tell you how you should feel about all that? At least, give the kid something constructive to work with, suggest how they can work with the situation, but for heaven's sake... don't tell them how to feel.

When I left that school, the journal went with me, and I turned to it often to write out how I felt, then work through the worst parts on paper. That's a trend I've continued on up to today. It's something I'm teaching my daughter, who keeps a private journal as well as a journal we share.

Why keep a journal?

There's a ton of reasons to keep a journal, not the least of which is keeping a written record of feelings, emotions, and events in your life. You can also use a journal as a creative starting point (I keep a big creative journal where I make collages), or as a list of ideas (I also have a notebook where I keep brewing book plots that I'm not ready to tackle just yet).

I've also used journals to sort through difficult feelings, to chronicle spiritual growth, or just follow the track of my life through the course of a year.

I wrote a blog post about reasons people keep a journal, and you can check it out over here.

"But I'm not a writer!"

So... don't write! Draw. Not an artist? Then cut out images and words from magazines that draw your attention, then create collages.

"But it's terrible work!" I can hear you cry from the other side of the screen. So bloody what?! This is for you and you alone, unless you plan on sharing it with someone; which, by the way, I don't recommend. This is your private universe, this little (or big) book of your innermost thoughts, dreams, hopes, pains. If you must share it, then share it only with someone that you trust completely to let you be you, and not critique it, or the feelings contained in it.

sage wolfsong blog graphic fearlessly journal to express yourself

Do what you enjoy

Browse the internet, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram... whatever platform you enjoy most. Check out books on Amazon about journals, check out your local library. Research some different ways to keep journals, and then dive into the one that seems like the best fit. Here's some ideas for you to check out:

1. Writing Prompts.

Check out Pinterest for journal writing prompts. These are short sentences that are meant to get you thinking and writing.

2. Collage.

Grab old magazines and catalogs, and then cut and glue to your heart's content!

3. Draw.

This can be as easy or as complicated as you'd like it to be. You can use a portfolio of blank paper, or grab a sketch book and pencil and just get started, or if you're more artistically inclined, pick out a lovely covered sketchbook, some quality pencils or pens in a variety of sizes and types, and spend a little time every day, drawing your world.

4. Paint.

This one could be a little more difficult, but only because paintings can take up a good deal of space and time to dry. Watercolors and acrylics, with a good quality pad of paper made to handle these mediums would be your best bet.

5. Lists

My daughter has been having a lot of fun with the lists in our mother daughter journal. Maybe create a series of lists that you can come back to over and over, just to see how your tastes change over time.

Further exploration and reading:

Oh, you've gotten this far? Cool! I've gathered together a few more resources for you to check out if you'd like some more ideas or motivation for keeping a journal:
*This post originally appeared on one of my old blogs, on Oct. 13, 2016. I will be moving the blog posts over there to sagewolfsong.com gradually. This post also contains Affiliate links - You can read more about how I use these over on my About page, here.

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