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In a Journaling Rut? Ideas, Tips, and Inspo to Kick-Start Your Journaling Habits

by Jacki Andre July 26, 2020

In a Journaling Rut? Ideas, Tips, and Inspo to Kick-Start Your Journaling Habits

In case you didn’t know it, the interwebs are packed with journaling inspiration. Or, as the cool kids call it: inspo.

I mention this because *I* didn’t know it. It’s weird because I usually turn to the internet for inspiration. (*ahem* I meant inspo, of course, ‘cause I’m cool like that.) Ideas for a shade garden? Yep, I googled that. Gluten-free vegan dishes for the staff potluck? Pinterest knows where it’s at. Halloween costumes for my dogs? Well, really, how else would I know which canine costumes are trending?

But when it comes to journaling, I never thought to search for inspiration. I just journaled. And when I got stuck, I just didn’t write anything until I got unstuck.

For most of my life, I kept basic writing journals. Then, a few years ago, I read Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Two of Jen’s tips resonated with me: keep a gratitude journal and make a vision board. But since I didn’t like the idea of a static “board,” I made a vision journal, starting a blank notebook for collages, inspirational quotes, and notes to myself.

I thought I was pretty rad.Look at me, coloring outside the lines! She said a vision BOARD but I made a vision JOURNAL. HA! But then, I was invited to blog for SohoSpark. I started to research journals and journaling, and may I just say: Mind. Blown.

So. Much. Inspo. Everywhere.

No matter where you’re at with your own writing journal, a little inspo can go a long way.

  • Do you need to be inspired to even pick up a journal?
  • Were you inspired enough to buy a cute notebook but then stalled out before you actually did anything?
  • Do you feel stuck in a rut with your writing journal, and in need of inspiration to break the tedium?
  • Do you need some inspiration to get over the hurdle of writer’s block?

Luckily for you, I’ve already done the googling and can point you in the right direction.

Get Inspired! Journaling is for YOU!

Yes, YOU! I can imagine the excuses:

  • You don’t have time, even though you can journal by writing as little as one sentence a day.
  • You don’t think you’re a writer.
  • You don’t want to spend money on journaling supplies.
  • Journaling is for girls.
  • Yadda, yadda, ya.

It’s time to get over it. Journaling has all kinds of benefits. I really can’t put it any better than Jill Conyers, who says:

Journaling is one of the greatest tool[s] in finding your purpose, healing yourself, and creating the life you most desire. It is a way of coaching yourself through your “stuff” and letting it out on the page, unclogging your mind from years of destructive thoughts. In doing so, [you] begin to see life with unsurpassed clarity.

And the Bullet Journal® system, in particular, can give you the focus you need to “weed out distractions” and pursue “what’s truly meaningful.”

If using a writing journal to live your best life isn’t inspiration enough, then how about this? Journaling has both physical and mental health benefits. Journaling can boost your physical health by strengthening the immune system, decreasing symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, and decreasing the impact of stress. Journaling can also assist with your mental health by helping you prioritize your worries, tracking symptoms, and providing a forum for positive self-talk.

You’re welcome.

Get Inspired! Stop Stalling!

I get it. Trust me, I do. I got so excited by ALL THE INSPO that I bought two cute notebooks, 27 rolls of washi tape, and assorted other paraphernalia. A month ago. I have since made exactly two creative pages in my new blank notebooks and two weeks’ worth of boring text-only lists in my new work journal.

What gives?

It turns out this is pretty common. There is SO MUCH INSPO out there that it’s actually counterproductive. Where do you even start? How do you decide what to do in your journal? How on earth can you ever create something as stunning as the spreads on Pinterest?

If you need inspiration to stop stalling and dive in, consider these ideas:

  • Use a journal that inspires you, Such as one with an inspirational quote or meaningful graphic on the cover. SohoSpark's Compass Rose journal, for instance, may speak to the traveler or life explorer in you.
  • Choose a journal theme. If you have a focus for your journal, it can be easier to dive in, rather than trying to capture all the things.
  • Start small. Don’t attempt to copy all the beautiful spreads and try all the trackers that inspire you. Rachel over at Planning Mindfully suggests choosing just five things to try in your first month of journaling, and see how that goes.
  • If you’re starting a bullet journal, create a monthly spread. That will give you a reason to stick with it for one month, as you track your monthly plans and goals.
  • Correction tape is the bees' knees.

One other thing worth mentioning here (though it’s advice and not inspiration): schedule journaling time. Journaling will become a habit if you set aside the same amount of time to do it, at the same time each day.

Get Inspired! Search for Inspo!

If you’re already journaling but stuck in a rut, or if you’re living under a rock (as I was), do some online searching to see what’s possible with a journal. Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr, in particular, have tons of journaling eye candy.

Facebook has some fabulous journaling groups, where you can seek out advice, ideas, and yes, inspo.

YouTube has instructional videos as well as walkthroughs, which are basically videos where people flip through their journals and explain how they created their pages.

If you need something a little more in depth--or something that requires commitment in order to get your behind into gear--why not consider an online class? A search for “free online class journaling” brings up millions of results.

Get Inspired! Kick Writer’s Block to the Curb

The easiest way to deal with writer’s block is to use prompts. No matter what theme your journal has (if any), it’s easy to find free writing prompts online.

Got Inspired! How About YOU?

I’m off to create Page #3 in my personal journal. Friends, if this piece inspired YOU in any way, please leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Jacki Andre
Jacki Andre

Jacki Andre has been journaling for over 30 years and still has her jam-packed Judy Blume Diary to prove it. Somewhere along the way, she started writing for reals, and is now a published author and Huffington Post blogger. In her spare time, Jacki supports dog rescue, advocates for disability rights, and educates other drivers via hand gestures about the importance of using turn signals. She keeps in shape by chasing joy (and her ‘80s teen idols) in earnest.


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