6 Ways to Stay Creative with Journaling

Here's 6 ways that you can fill your journal while staying positive and creative.

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These articles were written and submitted by young people across Kent, between August 2016 and July 2019. We are no longer adding new articles or maintaining old ones. Read more about Art31.

Journaling is a great way of keeping your thoughts organised while being creative on a daily basis. When people think about journaling, it seems a tedious task to write about what happened in your life every day, but there’s endless things you can fill your journal with. Whether that’s for reflection, progression or just doodling, journaling can keep your mind active, or slow it down when you need it. The best part of journaling is that there’s no rules – you can do whatever you like, and whatever feels best for you. Here’s six ways that you can fill up your unused notebooks:

1. Daily log

This is the style of journaling most people are aware of – writing down a log of what has happened in your day. Not only does this help you reflect on the tasks you’ve accomplished or the places you’ve been, it can also help you to understand your reactions, mood and memories a bit better. You don’t just have to write them, you can doodle, stick in photos, make short notes or be as detailed as you like!

2. Goals

Rather than focusing on what you have done that day, this style focuses on what you want to achieve. Writing out your goals helps you to get kick-started in the morning and be motivated as soon as you wake up. Each morning before you start your day write down a list of your goals in your journal. Your goals each day probably won’t change, and that’s the purpose. Writing down the same goals each day allows you to focus and fully understand what you want. While keeping your mind focused on your goals, you’ll find it easier to create new ideas, solve problems and keep pushing forward. Don’t look back on your previous goals until you’ve been writing for 30 days. Then, compare what you’ve written each day – you should notice that your goals becoming clearer and more specific.

3. Character sketch

This one is quite similar to the goals journaling where you focus on what you’d like to be or do, rather than your current situation. Thinking about your personal development helps to find out the person you want to be and your style, whether that’s your working style or your personality. Everyone has a fantasy version of themselves – a person that you want to be, act like, dress like or be as successful – yet this isn’t who we currently are. Each day, write down the person you want to be. Many people do this as a mind map with some doodles, but whatever works best for you is key. This person may change drastically throughout the days, and thats fine! This is simply focusing yourself on you and your development, and that doesn’t have to be the same everyday.

4. Bullet journaling

If you’re particularly creative and artsy, then this one is for you. Bullet journaling allows you to create and design your own planner how you like it. You can do this by getting yourself a plain paged notebook, some pens, pencils and colours and design a diary layout that suits you. What you fill your bullet journal with is up to you, but many people tend to draw daily and monthly diary-like pages to write down their plans, tasks, notes or deadlines. Another interesting addition is using graphs or doodles to track parts of your life such as water, exercise, mood or grades.

5. ‘Morning Pages’

Morning pages is a technique from the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron where she writes down three pages of longhand writing as soon as you get up. This can be about anything on your mind: fears, worries, positives, goals, plans and more. This technique is meant to lower anxiety levels throughout the day, increase motivation and helps you to work through problems in your mind. There doesn’t need to be any order or clear understanding to your writing. It can just be any words that come to your mind, but this style helps you to get any building thoughts out of your head so that you can focus on your day better.

6. Affirmations log

This one will probably seem the hardest for many people, despite being the shortest. We always talk about the things we can’t do, or the things we are bad at, that we believe it, so keeping an affirmations log forces you to do the opposite. In your journal everyday, write a list of things that you can do, and are good at, even if you don’t believe it yourself. For example, instead of saying ‘I can’t draw’, write down everyday that you can. Or, you can write things that you are going to do, such as ‘I am being more active’. Keep it in the present, and say each one out loud. Overtime, you’ll start to believe it.

Chloe Walker

Special Guest

I'm a second year Journalism student at Canterbury College with an interest in Fashion, Arts and Business.