How to Make Journaling Fun With 6 Vital Tips

How can you enjoy the process of journaling? This post offers 6 great tips

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I’m sure you know that merely knowing something “is good for you” isn’t necessarily good enough for you to do it. If such were the case, I’d be devices-free by nine and in bed by ten – even on Saturdays. Casey would also be exuberantly proud of having a husband with the body of a Greek titan.

If only, right? Sadly, ’tis not always mind over matter. Not when it comes to doing something beneficial but hard to implement, such as better sleep hygiene, an ironclad gym routine, or, you guessed it, keeping a journal.

So, how to make journaling fun… Here’s the gist: Journaling becomes fun when you have balanced expectations of your abilities and avoid comparing your work to that of others. Also, it is always fun to research your preferences and hone your skills with good-quality stationery. Lastly, write in a comfortable, relaxed environment.

Why Isn’t Journaling Fun?

For many people, journaling isn’t fun because they associate it with either performing a chore or taking medicine. It’s the ATTITUDE and not the activity.

To replace the drudgery that might stem from keeping a journal, you just have to take a few practical measures to sweeten it up. After all, even adult multivitamins are sometimes made to eat like gummy bears, right?

With the following six tips, you can certainly make journaling more fun, whether said journaling is creating a doodle-laden BuJo or a pure text-filled diary. Even if pen and paper are too repulsive, I recommend you download a fantastic burden-free journaling app in Tip #6.

Tip #1: Ditch the Commitments

Are you one who recognizes the therapeutic value of journaling but can’t seem to enjoy the process? If so, consciously work at letting go of any commitments because these pressure you to perform. And performance pressure can sap the fun out of personal writing, which is intended to relieve, rebuild, and relax.

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • “I’m not a good writer.”
  • “Writing about [insert subject] is too hard…”
  • “I’m not creative enough…”
  • “I can’t do this every single day.”
  • “That journal on Pinterest looks way better than mine.”
  • “I don’t like how my [insert journal element] is turning out…”

All of those gripes surface in your mind because you’re in competitive mode. You’re either competing with others or yourself in one aspect or another. But personal journaling isn’t by nature a competitive thing at all.

So stop committing to comparing and remember that you’re making a journal for YOU – and you alone.

If you feel you have poor writing ability, then doodle (or even scribble). If you can’t bare your feelings, bare your thoughts, however “surface” or superficial they seem. If you can’t find the thoughts, find a journaling prompt. Write every other day, once a week, or once every couple of weeks. Write for five to ten minutes at a time. Use lists or points instead of sentences or paragraphs.

My point is that NO commitments are necessary. Of course, be lighthearted with your expectations, but don’t be lackadaisical. You’re not perfect and your journal likewise. So embrace the simplicity, the occasional failure, the inevitable yet organic imperfection.

Tip #2: Hunt For Your Preferences

Make journaling fun by doing research. Not only is it exciting to find a method or style that speaks to you, but it’s also satisfying to draw from the wisdom and expertise of like-minded people who’ve overcome the same pain points.

Think about your other hobbies for a minute. Doesn’t half the fun come from the “hunt”? The hunt for the best hacks, the best tools, the best supplies, the best experts? What about that splendid discovery of tips, tricks, tutorials, or other game-changing tidbits? A significant amount of fun comes from the chase itself.

The creative journaling community has ballooned in recent years and, with the world more stressed out than ever before, will only continue to grow. Rummaging through this general archive of inspiration will undoubtedly yield you some exciting finds.

If you’re a newbie, here are a couple of personal preferences you can have fun figuring out:

Which Type of Journal Fits You Best?

Are you more of a customizer? Or would you prefer your whole life unified in one convenient notebook? Then a bullet journal (BuJo for short) may be just the thing for you.

With a BuJo, you can incorporate eye-popping designs through colorful inks, washi tapes, and every other conceivable item in a stationery nerd’s arsenal. There are countless resources online for bullet journaling.

Are you a gifted penman (or penwoman), a deep searcher of souls? Perhaps you prefer the pure, analytical appeal of nothing but analog long-form? Then all you need is a traditional lined or blank notebook for mulling over your heart.

If you’re anything in between and want to fulfill that specific writing desire, there’s always insightful info out there to guide you. For instance, last I counted there are 20 different types of journals you can keep:

  • The blank notebook journal
  • For recording dreams
  • The art journal
  • For documenting food
  • The gratitude journal
  • For what you’re reading
  • For travel experiences
  • For cataloging plants
  • For managing your projects
  • The fitness journal
  • The pocket journal
  • For tracking your pregnancy
  • The poetry journal
  • The group journal
  • For tracking productivity
  • The pray-rain journal
  • For keeping tabs on your finances
  • Just to record neat ideas
  • The letter journal

I know what you’re thinking. What the heck is a pray-rain journal, anyway? If you’re curious to find out, here’s a comprehensive explanation by Intelligent Change – a designer of nifty productivity products.

See? The point is you can make journaling fun by digging deep into the discipline through otherwise casual research.

Which Themes, Topics, or Designs Inspire You?

This is the stage where you seriously induce your right lobe. If your brain had an EEG machine hooked up to it as you were browsing through all the ingenious BuJo spreads, habit trackers, cover pages; through all the fancy doodles, headers, banners, borders; through all the motivational quotes, prompts, poems, phrases; through all the freeform cursive, block, and calligraphic fonts, then the organ would be glowing brightly on the monitor.

Once you find some elements that speak to you personally, you can either directly graft them into your own pages, or modify them to better appease your vision. As long as you’re not taking with the intent to monetize, most fellow journalers would be fine – even flattered – with you using their design.

Tip #3: Splurge On Supplies

The best tools make journaling fun, so you should go all out. But don’t worry. Splurging on stationery supplies is like a kid spending his allowance money. No matter how much he flashes those bills, it won’t make any significant dent in the family savings.

Thankfully, this most beneficial exercise is also gentle on the wallet. So, the next time you venture to the local crafts store or scroll through Amazon, remember that those Sakura Gelly Roll pens are worth their weight in gold – gold ink, that is. And don’t forget to pick up a pack or two of those highly lucrative commodities – washi tapes (the metallic ones).

Tip #4: Prep Your Environment

The right place at the right time with the right drink – this definitely gets me in the zone!

To enjoy transcribing your innermost thoughts, it’s best you get comfortable. Comfort obviously comes in the form of a cozy chair, couch, or bed. But give attention to other subtle pampering as well.

WARNING: Boring descriptive writing dead ahead…

As I write this post, I’m sunken into a teal IKEA armchair with my elbows resting on either arm and my feet firmly absorbed into the mattress at the end of my bed. My knees bend upward and outward as if I were giving birth, but the only thing in my bosom is a crude contraption consisting of a single memory-foam pillow. It hoists up my precious Macbook Pro – the sole instrument of my livelihood – to a comfortable height, upon which my fingers are tapping away. The only glow in my otherwise dark bedroom emits from the screen, dampened by a wide yet faint orange ray of incandescence sneaking in through the half-opened doorway. Outside the floor-to-ceiling apartment window directly behind me, the bright patches of the blue-grey cityscape pulsate sluggishly like blocky buttons on an old computer panel. White noise in the form of a clicking wall clock and the occasional elongated whoosh of distant traffic are the only other things mingling with the ambiance. Oh, and I’m gulping down a Belgian wheat brew.

How did I do? Can you FEEL my setup? It works for me tonight, but might not tomorrow. If you want to optimize your writing surroundings, I urge you to try these simple yet effective suggestions:

  • Dim the lights
  • Light some candles
  • Make some tea
  • Brew some coffee
  • Grab a beer
  • Pour some scotch
  • Listen to ambient sounds on YouTube
  • Listen to an awesome playlist
  • Watch your favorite program

Tip #5: Hone Your Craft

It has been said that the better you are at something, the more you’ll enjoy it. Well, how can you better yourself so as to make journaling more fun? By honing your prowess with pen and ink.

After realizing your personal preferences and fetching some ideal supplies, why not apply yourself to improving your handwriting? For instance, download one of the plethora of free calligraphy or cursive guides scattered across the web and set aside appropriate time to practice.

Even in a technological era, committing yourself to an analog craft such as journaling is a valuable skill. I know I just told you to ditch your commitments in cardinal Tip #1, but there IS a difference between pressuring yourself and applying yourself.

What if, say, a while has passed since buying that prized fountain pen and your calligraphy strokes have yet to shed their feathered baby fat? Don’t bash yourself. New skills and muscle memory WILL develop, I promise you. Besides, your pretty little pen is still doing its job – it’s empowering your motivation.

Tip #6: If All Else Fails…

Then there’s an app for that. Realistically, life seldom works out the way we intend. If your righteous intentions of keeping a journal repeatedly die out, then try the Five Minute Journal App created by Intelligent Change.

The Five Minute Journal method was designed by two entrepreneurs named UJ Ramdas and Alex Ikonn, and their slogan for this simple yet remarkable system is “A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day.” It’s the perfect guided journal for busy professionals looking to elevate their lives but who refuse to commit more energy than absolutely necessary.

You CAN Make Journaling Fun!

To quote famous American author Dale Carnegie, “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” When it comes to keeping a journal, consciously abide by these words using the six practical tips above, and you’ll reap the rewards of this productive pastime for hopefully a lifetime.

Leo Cai

Leo Cai

Leo Cai, the one solely responsible for the inception of this Mickey Mouse operation, has at least garnered the acceptance of Casey Cai - his wife. He used to view himself as an avid writer back in high school, with grandiose dreams of making a living using words. That never culminated because, as he himself puts it, "It's more practical to stock bakery shelves while striving to become a professional photographer".

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About Us

We’re Leo & Casey Cai, and Journaling Diaries is our outlet for sharing what we’re learning from the lightweight, nearly disaster-proof hobby of journaling. So far, we’ve found that journaling isn’t merely a shameful tool for hard times or a poor memory. It’s enriching & fun. Whatever, whichever, however – as long as it involves journaling – we’ll be covering it all here. Thanks for stopping by!

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