Just Write: It’s Time to Start a Journal

When was the last time you set pen to paper? Words flowing from heart, to head, to hand; the curling script of your signature scrawl looping across the page?

I’ve been blogging for five years, and it’s been nearly as long since I devoted myself to writing anything substantial on paper. The words I typed daily taking my full attention, the neat, orderly Times New Roman characters preferable to the frenetic loops and angles of my own, impossibly messy handwriting. One more aspect of life and creativity taken by the screens that seem to dominate our surroundings. But then I realized something. And that something was important. As time went on, I became more and more accustomed to typing out my thoughts and increasingly hesitant to write — even just create — with my own two hands. When you set pen to paper, or set out to translate what’s in your head to a tangible thing, you’re exposed to your own imperfections. And those imperfections can be intimidating. How often have you set out to create something that looks incredible in your head, only to be disappointed with the outcome? Search “Pinterest fail” and you’ll see that you are not alone in this world. But that made-by-hand-ness, in all its imperfection, is so vial to self-expression and creativity!

With the start of the new year, I’ve set the intention to use my own two hands more. Not to type (although there will be plenty of that), but to create. To draw, to write, to collage, to paint… to get messy. And this weekend, I dare you to do the same. Get your hands on a fresh journal — preferably one with no lines for the ultimate blank slate — and just start writing.

Just Write

Don’t think, just write. Write about your day, the day you hope to have, even your plans for the following day. The beautiful thing about keeping it between you and the page is that nothing is too mundane, nothing is not worth writing about… there are no boundaries. Clear your head, get it all out. And then keep going.

Just Write

Create a sanctuary for yourself where you can sneak away for a little while each day. Grab a cup of something warm and soothing, put on a record, fill a box with writing tools that you’ll feel inspired to use. Allow yourself these moments to capture your life, just as it is. No filters.

Make it a challenge. Commit to writing or journaling, in some way, for 30 days straight. If you can’t find the words, draw. Fill your pages with color, shapes, scraps of paper, and mementos. Be free with your expression.

Just Write

Need a little inspiration? I’ve created some writing prompts below to get you started:

  • Write about the person you thought you’d be five years ago. How does your life differ from what you imagined? How has that vision of the future held up?
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? What is holding you back from making that your reality?
  • Write about something someone once said about you that you’ll never forget. Why has that statement or sentiment remained in your consciousness?
  • Write about your day hour by hour. Take a photo an hour throughout the day to print out and collage in afterwards.
  • What is your most vibrant memory? Write down as much of it as you remember, then ask someone else who was present at the time their side of the story.

Just Write
More inspiration posts from the BLDG 25 blog

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  1. Love this! My brand new notebook got delivered today and i’m so excited to start journalling!


  2. I am always hesitant to write, still being at school, I almost see it as a ‘chore’ do to the fact I spend the majority of my days writing out work not being creative with my writing abilities. As much as I love being able to type out my thoughts onto my blog, I feel the whole spontaneity of physically writing is lost as we can easily delete something from our computer screens whereas writing something down requires more thought as you may try to erase your words, but it’s still always going to be there.

  3. I miss journaling,,,,I did it for years, then i went through a horrible loss and heartbreak and couldn’t do it anymore. What was in my heart to write was too dark. Life is better now, but when I try to set pen to paper, there’s nothing. My pen is mute. Funny thing is, my daughter and I both collect journals. She struggles with writing because of dyslexia, but she’ll draw. We both love finding beautiful journals and bringing them home and putting them on a shelf to admire. No one but my husband knows that i have stopped writing…. I love your prompts, Maybe I can use one to inspire me to write again. Happy New Year

  4. My daughter got a beautiful journal for Christmas and began journaling for the first time. She really is enjoying it. I think I will join her.
    I like your prompts. I have kept a journal in the past but then I usually quit. After I read back what I wrote it always sounds so silly.
    I love beautiful journals though. Especially soft leather ones.

  5. Oh, I just love writing journals! Right now I have artjournal which is actually a sketchbook, another journal for lists which is scrapbook at the same time and also a normal journal which is actually like a diary :D I’m just crazy about them!

  6. ive been keep a journal since fifth grade! its my therapy! i can’t count how many times i have taken the time to thank myself for keeping up with a journal throughout most of my life. it is so so so wonderful to be able to go back and read about specific moments in my life.

  7. there is something so incredibly healing about letting the words flow out onto the page. For me its also a way to get started. allowing the words to be imperfect, awkward, unpolished… writing by hand also seems to access a different part of my creativity. scrawling the words on the page feels more primal and wild than typing a neat row of characters with spell check pop ups. there’s something so wonderfully real about taking a pen to paper….. i need to do it more often….thank you for the reminder !

    happy creating everyone!

  8. I have been writing/journaling almost all my life. It is therapy for me now although when I was younger I wrote poems, prose and pasted pictures in it. I miss that! It was creativity. Now sometimes I feel blocked by the day to day responsibilities. Thank you for the prompts. I am so glad I found your blog and look forward to following you.

  9. Absolutely loved this post! For the past several weeks I’ve been trying to get back into writing more but haven’t really had any ideas on what to write. So this was great inspiration! Also, I think this will be a great way to let go of all the day to day stress and worries . Wonderful.

  10. It is so hard to make your feelings and thoughts form anything presentable or make the words as beautiful as they seem in your head. This post gave me ideas, motivation and that kick in the butt that I needed. Thank you. Now I have to go and buy inspiring notebook to fill <3

  11. i journal as well and i gotta admit, i couldnt imagine a more fun way to express myself. i have been journaling since i was in grade school and i know that it’s been a big part of growing up into an adult. i definitely recommend journaling to anyone as well. great tips on this post, thank you!

  12. Normally when I journal it’s just putting my feelings about whatever is actually going on in my life on paper. I love the idea of writing topics that aren’t necessarily about that particular day, but life in general. Definitely going to incorporate that more.

    Kim | Lost in Dreamland

  13. This is a great idea! I do keep a journal and I also collage, paint and draw, but I’ve found that I spend far more time online than engaging in any of these creative activities, so thank you for your encouraging words! Hope you have a lovely day!
    Hannah x

  14. Thank you for these prompts, and this post! I journal, but quite irregularly and sometimes only to journal the crazy disjointed dreams I have! I like the idea of following a prompt to write about, to get you thinking, to write instead of type, etc. All so true!

  15. I tried to keep a diary for a few years and it just didn’t work. I started to keep a journal when I started university and I’ve had one ever since. I write ideas and thoughts and dreams but also draw and sketch and doddle. I’ve just made a tutorial for how to make your own journals/sketchbooks over on my blog – helloisabelle.com


  16. When I was in high school I was fearless. I would write and draw in my journal and read it out load to my friends in the dorm. There was nothing more liberating. I miss that. Thank you for this post. I have to write more. :)

  17. I have a hard time keeping a daily diary because I always forget to write in it, and when I remember that I forgot I’m too tired to write. I think I may keep a weekly journal though. Might be a little easier to remember to write in.

  18. I’ve been journaling since I can remember. It’s my own personal & non-medicated type of therapy. I write everything you can think of and nothing to me seems too silly or uninteresting to write about. My husband jokes with me saying things such as “so honey I was thinking of building you your very own library, however instead of novels we can fill every shelf from ceiling to floor with your journals”! I always respond with something to the effect of “haha Baby you’re just such the comedian”, however these days I’ve been taking his idea more and more seriously and I think that I might give it a whirl! Why not? My house is literally scattered with my journals in every room. You’ll find them sporadically thrown here and there and I don’t mind that it’s my own personal thoughts. I actually have decided that it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to be open about what I wrote in those little books that I refer to as my own novels. So from now on I’m going to be telling the hubby that the library he says he’ll build for me will in fact be filled with novels. Those journals are my entire life story. Preteen drama, high school boy friends, proms to my wedding day. Deaths to the birth of our three children and everything in between. So I agree with everything you wrote in this blog and in fact it’s refreshing that I got the privilege to read something other then tabloid nonsense or how a female should or shouldn’t look or even my personal favorite “ten signs that he’s cheating”! What rubbish!! Thank you for making journaling something to talk about. It’s an awesome and amazing way to be extremely creative and to find out things about yourself you may have never known. It’s spiritual and just comforting!!
    Thanks again
    xoxo <3

  19. This is so beautiful, its been a while since I’ve written anything on paper. I love to paint and draw but I’ve been missing out a lot and 2014 was such a downer for me. I do blog a lot but comparing it to my hands holding a pen or paintbrush is not as satisfying.

    Thank you for this post, I’m not alone after all and this year, I will make it my goal to be more hands on! Paint, draw and write – whatever it might be!

  20. I love the idea of journal keeping, but have never been any good at it. I bought a ‘One Line a Day’ journal in the hopes that I can at least be successful at that! Not sure why it’s so hard for me.

  21. These are great prompts. I have kept a journal since I was eight, and it has been my therapy for all of these years. I have a very busy mind, and it helps me organize and examine my emotions.

  22. If i have a positive thought or a change in perspective i write it down in my journal.
    The best thing about journals
    Is that you can burn it or throw it out at the end of it and all those feelings you can finally let go of

  23. I too wanted to use my journal a lot more. I stuck to a lined journal but glad that you recommend using an unlined journal. This way you can let your creative mind do as it please. I think this breaks up the creativity, it is endless with what you will do each day. I think for my I always want it to be very detailed so it’s either black or white. I need to work on letting myself be fee and stop trying to be so strict and focused on one type of route.


  24. I started to write on a journal right before the Holidays. I’ve felt a little empty or in search of something I’m still trying to understand, but it’s been so great letting go of some of my thoughts into pages or accepting my feelings by writing them down. I do, however, feel like I can write about the same things so I love the prompts you suggested. For the next couple of days I’ll be referencing them, and trying to dive deeper into myself for growth.

  25. I’ve been so accustomed to traveling the analog path over the years I find it impossible to compose my thoughts using a keyboard and Times New Roman! You truly nailed it with this inspiring blog! I love going to one of my coffee houses and writing with my favorite pen and journal! Thanks for putting the fun back into being creative!!

  26. I love writing first thing in the morning, as a way to clear my head and set my intentions for the day. I also find the less precious of a notebook I have, the more easily a time I have writing in it. My favorite these days are those brown covered sustainable earth composition notebooks from staples. Thank you for this reminder to get back to my daily journaling and for the thought-provoking prompts!

  27. I’m so glad I found this blog. I’m obsessed with journals/diaries. I collect them and write in them. I have over 100 journals, maybe even 200. I donate them from time to time. My favorite journals are the leather ones from Barnes and Noble and Paperblanks. My absolute favorite leather journals are from Etsy.com. I buy them from Teo (store name- teostudio) and her sister Anca (store name- medievaljourney). I’ve been journaling for almost 10 years now and I’m so glad I started it. It has healed me and helped me become more outgoing. It is such a wonderful, healthy thing to do.

  28. I always loved writing but I never really thought about journalism. I soon found to love it when I started to write down my feelings and thoughts and even ideas.

  29. Thank you so much!! I need this inspiration. I used to keep a journal and wrote in it nearly every day! That lasted a whole year. Then life hit and craziness slapped me across the face. I haven’t quite gotten up yet. *sigh* But this post really gave me a boost. Thank you so much!!

    Jaz @ http://thrivinghope.blogspot.com

  30. Hi there !
    I’m writing a diary since i can write, for like 20 years.
    This is so helping in my everyday life ! I personnaly don’t use that kind of lists giving ideas to write, just write my life and feelings.
    The diary itself is soooo beautiful, it’s some kind of art !
    Don’t overtink, just write what’s in your mind

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