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Journal Entry Essay

  • 1

    Find something that can become your journal. You can use a notebook, legal pad, blank book, word processor, journaling application like Red Notebook, or you can also buy journals with locks at Staples or whatever you like for your journal. Just make sure that it contains blank pages you can write on, and that the pages are bound up so they won't scatter and get lost.

  • 2

    Find a writing tool. If you chose to use a word processor in Step 1, you can skip this step. If you're using an actual book, locate a pen you like. (You can use pencil to write in your journal, but it will fade dramatically over time.) Some journal-keepers have a particular brand of pens that they prefer, or they favor a certain style (such as gel pen over ballpoint). Either way, your writing implement should feel comfortable in your hand and help you write at a pace you enjoy.

  • 3

    Set up a routine. You might want to bring your journal with you wherever you go, so that you can write down your thoughts as they strike you. You could choose a particular time each day to sit down and clear your head. Whatever you decide, make it a habit. Journaling as part of a routine will make you more likely to stick with it.

  • 4

    Choose a setting that's conducive to writing. Place yourself in an environment that makes you feel calm and want to write , whether it's the privacy of your own room or a busy coffee shop. If you're not sure where you like to write, try out a few different locations at different times during the day.

  • 5

    Date your entry. This may seem a real drag, but this is the only real rule when it comes to keeping a journal. You’ll be amazed just how useful having each entry dated can be.

  • 6

    Start writing. As you begin your journal entry, write down your thoughts as they occur to you. If you're stumped, start out by discussing what you did during the day, or any major epiphanies you've had lately. These topics might lead you to other interesting topics about with you can write.
    • Try to see your journal as "thinking on paper." Your thoughts don't need to be perfectly constructed or written with the right grammar and punctuation. Instead, try to think of your journal as a space where you can write out and organize your thoughts and feelings.
    • Don't feel self-conscious. Unless you're planning on showing your journal to someone else, remember that it's just for your eyes and don't worry about what other people think. Feeling free to express yourself is a vital part of keeping a meaningful journal.
  • 7

    Be creative. Try incorporating different styles of writing into your journal, such as lists, poems, screenplays or stream-of-consciousness writing. You could also include artwork such as sketches, drawings and collages.

  • 8

    Know when to stop. You might stop writing as soon as you feel like you've exhausted your thoughts, or after you've reached a certain page limit. Whatever you choose, stop before you feel completely drained - remember, you want to have enough energy to come back to your journal and write again.

  • 9

    Reread what you’ve written, if you can. Either read it directly after making the entry or set aside a time to read your past entries. You can potentially gain a lot of insight from going over your journal.

  • 10

    Keep writing. The more dedicated you are to your journal, the more valuable it becomes. Find ways to make journalism a habit, and keep doing it.

  • Do you need a place to express yourself? Do you want to express yourself on different topics? Writing different journal entries can help you put your various thoughts into words. You decide the length and topic of your writing. Let your feelings fly onto different pages. The great thing about journal entries is that they offer you a blank canvas each time you decide to write. No need to pick up where you left off, unless you want to.

    So, what exactly are journal entries?

    Journal entries are individual pieces of writing that populate your journal. They are expressions of personal growth, interests and opinions. They are usually between 500-1000 words and each entry can be about something different. Journal entries are usually kept private, as that allows people to write honestly.

    8 Tips for Writing Journal Entries

    Getting started with a journal entry can be difficult, but they can take any form you like, from bible journal entries, to food journal entries, to dream journal entries. Here are some creative ideas to get you started.

    1. Write a Letter

    Pretend you are writing a letter to someone. The letter will not be sent, so you can say anything you want. Maybe you write things in this letter you were too scared to say in real life. It can be written to a single person or to a group of people. This is a healthy way to get things off your chest and say the things you are truly feeling. This also helps people deal with stress.

    2. Write a List

    Lists are always easy ways to get started. Think about writing a to-do list of things you want to accomplish over the next year. You can even write a list of things you want to write about in your journal. This can be like a brainstorming session for your writing. 

    3. Use a Photo

    Penzu allows you to add pictures to your journal entries. If you are feeling stuck on what to write, add a picture and write about what it means to you. It can be a picture of a special moment, a special person, a special pet, or a special place. Use this image as a way to inspire you. 

    4. Describe a Character

    Write about a person. It can be a stranger or someone you care about. Sit down and write about that person. It doesn't matter if it is truth or fiction. You can let your imagination wander and write a story about what you think this person wants, likes, doesn’t like. Let your mind fill in the blanks and create a character in your mind.

    5. Write a Poem

    Try to write a poem. Think about a significant person and write about how that person makes you feel. Think about a place and how that makes you feel. Try and find emotion in the simple things in life.

    6. Write a Dialogue

    You can write an imaginary conversation between you and someone else. Or you can write an imaginary conversation between other people. This is a creative exercise that can help you prepare for an upcoming discussion or help you reflect on one that already happened. 

    7. Write a sprint

    Put five minutes on the clock and write as fast as you can about whatever comes to mind. This is about just thinking on your feet and focusing on the task at hand. Let loose whatever ideas are at the front of your mind. 

    8. Write a memory

    Identify a memory you find important, although it doesn't have to be. It can just be something you think about often. Describe that memory and what it means to you. How does it make you feel? Are you fond of it? Who was involved? Paint a picture for yourself.

    The best way to get started with your first journal entry is to download Penzu and begin writing using their software. It is easy-to-use, private and secure. All your posts are dated and saved, so all you need to worry about it what to write. Use this list and get started today! 

    There's no time like the present - start your free online journal today!

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