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Hello, my name is Jiawen and I am a senior from Virginia. I decided to become a part of the Hobby Hub team to share my love of journaling and help others discover new passions. My favorite subject is history and besides journaling, I spend lots of time dancing and baking. 

7 Reasons to Start Journaling


   1. Journaling Helps You Remember Your Past

The most obvious reason to keep a journal is that it is a record of your memories from the past. You can write down daily events, thoughts, feelings, or opinions on certain experiences. Journals have uses outside of simply tracking everyday occurrences. You can document stories, jokes, quotes, art, and phrases as well. Journal entries will serve as an archive of your life that preserves the significant interactions with the people you know and the ideas that arise at particular moments of your life. Additionally, writing specific events that happen throughout your life can enhance your memory since it is easier to recall things once you write it down. Writing will also help your mind make stronger connections with information you have learned.

   2. Increases Your Writing Ability

The best way to get better at a particular skill is through practice. Journaling forces you to synthesize information and write in your own words. Whether you write formally or informally in your journal, making writing a habit will lead you to be a more abstract, analytical, and creative thinker. A journal will refine your conversational skills, crystalize thoughts, and build your vocabulary. Consistently writing will teach you more about the creative process, spark your imagination, and introduce you to different stylistic techniques. Being able to communicate through writing is an essential skill, especially in the era of online communication. Therefore, expanding on your writing skills is extremely beneficial whether you want to be a professional writer or not.


   3. Improves Your Mental Health

Writing down your thoughts and feelings will guide you to comprehend them more clearly. Journaling can help you gain control over your emotions by encouraging you to prioritize your problems and fears. Log, track, and explore your symptoms and your healing in a safe space. You will be able to track your patterns of behavior to see what is getting in the way of your personal growth, satisfaction, and healthy relationships. Paper listens to you without interrupting and is available whenever you need it. Your journal will not judge you for what you write, so you can tell your journal anything that you do not feel comfortable verbalizing to someone else. This opportunity for self-talk will prompt you to identify negative thoughts and sources of anxiety. Once you have identified causes of anxiety, you can devise a better plan to work towards a healthier state of mind.

   4. Healthy Way to Release Any Emotion

Whether you feel anger, excitement, or sadness, journaling is a great way to express your emotions. With a journal, you have the ability to share your feelings without hurting or bothering anyone in your life. Also, journaling gives you the opportunity to process information. Understanding why you feel a certain way will assist you in conveying your emotions to other people. Journaling is inexpensive and extremely accessible. All you need is a notebook and a pen to have an outlet to be authentic to yourself. Your journal is a safe space for you and you alone, so you do not have to be afraid of being vulnerable while writing.


   5. Promotes Motivation

The sheer act of maintaining a healthy habit is an incredibly practical way to encourage you to develop resilience. Routinely journaling will provide more structure in your life which has lasting implications on getting the most value out of each day. When you write down your goals on paper, it will hold you more accountable for accomplishing them. You are more likely to act with productivity when you can see what you should do to fulfill your ambitions, instead of just keeping goals in your head. Through introspection, journaling can inspire you to create new goals as well.


   6. Brings More Meaning to Your Life

How you define the word “meaning” is subjective because it is unique to each individual. However, since a journal tracks your aspirations, it will allow you to discover your personal purpose in life and what is most important to you. Through conversing with yourself, you can uncover the inner version of who you are. Physicalizing your thoughts on paper invites you to deeply evaluate your passions, dreams, and intuition by forcing you to pause and think about your actions and intentions. Taking time out of each day for creation and reflection leads to more personal satisfaction and drive since you gave worth to your day. If you make it an everyday routine to journal, you show yourself that you cherish self-care and that each day of your existence is valuable enough to be worthy of documentation. 


   7. Encourages Long Term Reflection

Journals stay with you as you learn, change, and grow. They are honest written assessments of the challenges you have encountered and the steps you took to overcome them. Reading through past entries will remind you of the path you took to be in the position you are today. Reflecting on your past successes and failures, and seeing what changes you have made in your life will help you recognize personal growth and aspects of yourself that may still be in need of improvement. Evaluating your previous entries is the best method to gain insight to yourself. Introspection and self-awareness of your past and present self are qualities that aid you in becoming a more compassionate person towards others.






7 Tips For Starting a Journal


The most difficult part of journaling is starting and sticking with it. Below are some suggestions to help you begin journaling and make the most out of your experience. While reviewing these suggestions, keep in mind that journaling is very personal and you should use whatever methods work best for you. 


   1. Date every entry

Dating entries allows you to recognize how often you write and gives more context to your content when you look through your journal in the future. Adding a date to each entry will also help you maintain some level of organization within your journal. At the minimum, record the day, month, and year of each entry. If you would like to be more specific, you can also include the day of the week, the time, and the location from which you are writing.


   2. Be honest with yourself

Record your successes as well as your failures. It is impossible to realize your faults and stay open to opportunities for growth if you are not conveying the whole and uncensored truth about yourself. Becoming comfortable with being vulnerable in your journal will encourage you to develop self-awareness and empathy towards others. Vulnerability will also aid you in gaining confidence and letting go of grudges from the past. 


   3. Use journaling prompts

Sometimes staring at a blank page can be incredibly intimidating. You might be hesitant about starting to write because you think that you are not an interesting person and have nothing to express about yourself. When you can’t get past the blank page, use a journaling prompt to encourage you to write. More often than not, you will find that you have a lot more to say than expected. As you are answering a prompt, don’t be afraid of getting off topic. The point of a prompt is to inspire you to write, you do not have to strictly answer the prompt if you do not want to.


   4. Use the right supplies

You can use a digital or a physical journal. While writing on paper is more personal and is less distracting, digital journals offer more privacy and convenience. If you want to journal digitally, you can start by creating a simple Google Doc or downloading a journaling app. If you want to keep a physical journal, choose materials that will withstand the test of time. While your notebook does not have to be expensive, make sure that it is durable enough to endure heavy usage. Writing in pen rather than pencil is ideal because pencil has a tendency to fade over time. Don’t choose a pen that is hard to write with or has ink that bleeds through your paper. Get a notebook with the kind of paper that works for you whether that is lined, blank, gridded, or dotted paper. Also make sure that the size of your notebook is desirable. If you intend on writing longer entries, a pocket-size notebook may not be optimal. Finding the materials that you enjoy most will take some experimentation.


   5. Consistency is key

Writing consistently is crucial for staying motivated to journal, however you do not have to fill a whole page each day. Do not feel like you have to write the same amount every day because giving yourself permission to keep an entry short will make it easier to maintain your journal and make writing a habit. Realistically, there will be some days where you will not have time to journal. While it is ideal to journal at least once a day, don’t stress over missing a day or only being able to write once a week. Developing a routine that works for you is what is most important. 


   6. Don’t be afraid of imperfection

While you write, your handwriting will not be perfect and you are bound to make mistakes. However, your journal is not a research paper that you need to turn in for your English class. You do not have to write formally and there doesn’t need to be a main idea to each entry. Also, your entries do not have to be free of grammatical errors, in fact, they do not even have to be written in complete sentences. Your journal is not meant to be a literary or artistic masterpiece. Let go of trying to be perfect since part of what you can get out of journaling is learning how to live with imperfection. 


   7. Don’t worry about being detailed

A motivation that many people have for writing in a journal is to have a record of each day. Therefore, it may be tempting to write about every detail of your day, but in five years you probably will not care about what you had for lunch on a random day. Journaling can start feeling like a chore when you force yourself to list everything that happened in a day. Write about things that are revealing, exciting, or feel therapeutic to you. You don’t even have to mention occurrences in your day at all if you don’t want to.






Choosing a Journal

In order to start journaling, you must decide how you are going to use your journal. There is no right or wrong way to journal. Below are various methods of journaling however, do not limit yourself to these strategies. Your journal can be as organized or disorganized as you would like and should be customized to suit your lifestyle—the options are endless! Start by having one journal, but as you get more experienced don’t be afraid to have multiple journals for different purposes.

Each method has at least one linked attached for inspiration on that type of journaling.

  1. Daily Journals

Daily journals are what most people think of when they think of a journal. These journals act as a record of how you have changed throughout your life and what you have felt at specific moments. It is a traditional diary where you can write down your ideas, feelings, and occurrences of the day. You can also discuss current events and your opinions on them. Daily journaling will clarify your mind and help you process significant lessons and experiences. 


59 Journaling Ideas: What to Write About in a Daily Journal


   2. Bullet Journal

Bullet journaling is a method of journaling utilized to help you achieve your short term and long term goals. Unlike a traditional planner, it is not limited to a predefined layout and is extremely customizable. It consists of daily task lists, monthly calendars, and notes. You can also include a mood log, list of birthdays, weight loss tracker, and grocery lists. Every bullet journal should include an index with page numbers to different collections and a key with symbols that you use throughout your journal. Bullet journaling is great for people that are organized, artistic, and have a lot of free time to set up pages and layouts.

Bullet Journal Index: Tips, Tricks, Inspirations

18 Monthly Bullet Journal Spread Ideas That Are Incredibly Creative

20+ Bullet Journal Weekly Spread Ideas

   3. Travel Journal

A travel journal is used to document your experiences at the places you have visited and the discoveries you have made along the way. You can list down your itinerary, paste the photos you took during your trip, and include written descriptions of the locations you went to. Rather than use a travel journal for reflection, you can also utilize it to plan your trip by writing your expectations, travel wishes, and including cultural guides. A travel journal will help you understand your motives for traveling and remember the memories you made on your trip.


5 Reasons Why You Should Keep a Travel Journal


   4. Scrapbook Journal

This type of journal is a great place to record events that are important to you. Scrapbooks are made up of a variety of materials and do not only include words. You can add doodles, quotes, photos, newspaper clippings, concert tickets, theatre programs, receipts, or any embellishment that will help you treasure your memories.

How to make your own scrapbook

   5. Dream Journal

This journal is a record of dreams you have in your sleep as well as your experience from waking up from a dream. A dream journal will allow you to identify your thoughts and recognize patterns and themes within your dreams. By tapping into your subconscious mind, you will gain a deeper understanding of yourself. To keep a dream journal, sleep with an intention to remember your dreams and record the scenes you have experienced in sleep with detail. You should also include your reaction to your dreams and anything you think is interesting about them. If you keep a dream journal, make sure to write in it as soon as you wake up.

Diary Journal Book


   6. Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is a place where you can write about everything you are grateful for. It promotes positivity and mindfulness by forcing you to pay attention to things you would otherwise take for granted. You should keep this journal if you would like to cultivate a joyful spirit and constant appreciation. To get started, simply write about items, people, events, and places you are grateful for.


Gratitude Journal: A Collection of 67 Templates, Ideas, and Apps for Your Diary

   7. Pocket Journal

A pocket journal is written in whenever you need to write down anything that you want to remember. You can carry a pocket journal with you to record ideas, such as a quote or piece of advice, that resonate with you throughout the day. Use it to document fleeting thoughts and keep track of tasks. Do not worry about order or organization within your pocket journal, most of the material in your journal can be a sequence of unrelated notes


Favorite Pocket Sized Notebooks












56 Journal Prompts to Increase Gratitude


  1. What are five things that I have recently done for others that made me feel good about myself?

  2. What went well today?

  3. Who has forgiven me for a mistake that I made in the past?

  4. What is my happiest childhood memory?

  5. What important lessons did I learn as a child?

  6. What is the biggest accomplishment I have achieved?

  7. What is an aspect of my health that I appreciate?

  8. What do I like most about the area I live in?

  9. What is my favorite place that I have traveled to?

  10. What are five activities that I enjoy doing alone?

  11. What are five activities that I enjoy doing with others?

  12. Has there been a mistake that I have made that ultimately led to a positive experience?

  13. Who or what made me smile today?

  14. What is one positive thing I can say about today’s weather?

  15. What is my favorite part of my daily routine?

  16. When was the last time I offered great advice to someone? Describe it.

  17. What is a purchase I have made recently that has added value to my life?

  18. Who is someone I have never met in person, but has improved my life in some way?

  19. What is something positive in my life that I did not have three years ago?

  20. What is an insightful article or book I have read recently?

  21. What are five skills I have that most people do not possess?

  22. What is my favorite holiday and why?

  23. What is my favorite season and why?

  24. What is my favorite show or movie and why?

  25. What is my favorite food and why?

  26. What do I like most about my favorite subject?

  27. What is my favorite sport or hobby? Why is it my favorite?

  28. What am I looking forward to most in the next year?

  29. What do I love about my friends or family?

  30. Who is someone that I love and what do I do to express my love for them?

  31. What is a major lesson that I have learned from failure?

  32. What are some of my good habits?

  33. What are ten things that I take for granted that are not readily available in other parts of the world?

  34. Who are five people I take for granted?

  35. When was the last time a stranger went out of their way to do something nice for me? Describe it.

  36. What is a lesson I have learned from people that have shown adversity to me?

  37. When was the last time I helped a stranger? Describe it.

  38. What activities would I miss if I could no longer do them?

  39. Who is someone I miss and why do I miss them?

  40. When was the last time I laughed? Why did I laugh?

  41. What do I enjoy about school or work?

  42. What is the best piece of advice I have received from someone?

  43. What are ten of my favorite possessions?

  44. What is a painful experience that has made me a stronger person?

  45. What is a small detail that I enjoy about someone special to me?

  46. Where have I seen unexpected beauty?

  47. What is a gift that I enjoyed receiving?

  48. What family, cultural, or community tradition do I love?

  49. What is my favorite emotion to feel? When do I feel it and why is it my favorite?

  50. What is a possession that makes my life easier?

  51. What is an event or occasion I am looking forward to?

  52. What is one thing that I look forward to every day?

  53. What do I forgive myself for?

  54. What are positive changes that have happened in the last year?

  55. What are ten things that I love about my current living space?

  56. When was a moment that I felt brave?


58 Journal Prompts to Boost Confidence


  1. What are things that I judge myself on?

  2. What stresses me out the most? How do I deal with that stress?

  3. What drains my energy? What can I do to increase my energy?

  4. What or who makes me feel empowered?

  5. What do I wish I could stop worrying about? What can I do to let go of the worry?

  6. Am I too hard on myself? If yes, why am I so hard on myself?

  7. What do I think is my best physical feature and why do I think it is my best feature?

  8. When was the last time I was proud of myself? Why was I proud of myself?

  9. When was the last time I overcame a fear? How did I overcome it?

  10. Why does failure scare me?

  11. What is a failure that I have learned from?

  12. What can I do today to check something off of my to-do list?

  13. What is a compliment I have received that I struggle to accept?

  14. What is the best compliment I have ever received? Do I agree with the compliment?

  15. How can I reconstruct the way I criticize myself to be more confident?

  16. What was my greatest triumph? What can I learn from it?

  17. What is my best talent?

  18. Do I do things out of my comfort zone?

  19. What are three reasons why I deserve to be loved?

  20. What is my best personality trait?

  21. What is the most negative thought in my head at this moment? How can I eliminate it from my mind?

  22. What is something that I could change or improve about myself that would make me feel more confident?

  23. What are some songs that boost my mood? Why do I enjoy listening to them when I am feeling down?

  24. Do I need to be more optimistic or realistic? Why?

  25. Am I pushing myself to my fullest potential?

  26. What are quotes that give me motivation?

  27. Do I compare myself to others? If so, why do I compare myself to others and how is this harmful to my self-esteem?

  28. What are unique traits I have that other people envy?

  29. What does the word “bravery” mean to me?

  30. What does the word “self-esteem” mean to me?

  31. Who or what supports me when I am feeling down?

  32. When do I trust myself and my intuition most?

  33. When do I ignore my inner voice? Why do I not trust myself?

  34. How does my inner critic prevent me from moving forward?

  35. What would I tell my best friend when he or she feels insecure?

  36. What are three excuses that I make often?

  37. What would I do if fear did not stop me?

  38. What are my most common negative thoughts? How can I start to separate from these thoughts?

  39. What will I do the next time that I doubt myself?

  40. Do I carry emotional baggage? How can I deal with that?

  41. Am I a people pleaser? If so, why? How can I change that?

  42. How could accepting and loving my body improve my self-esteem?

  43. How would my life look if I created more balance?

  44. What are ten goals I will set for myself to prompt personal development?

  45. What are ways that I have taken care of myself the past week? How did each of these improve my overall health and happiness?

  46. What do I believe I deserve in life?

  47. What is holding me back from being more authentic?

  48. How can I feel more comfortable expressing myself?

  49. Where am I putting in too much energy?

  50. Where am I not putting in enough energy?

  51. How do I deal with confrontation?

  52. What are my favorite ways to take care of myself physically and mentally?

  53. What are important needs I have that are not getting met? How can I satisfy these needs?

  54. Am I honest with myself in every situation I encounter?

  55. What are my three favorite positive affirmations? 

  56. What issue from my past needs healing right now? How can I heal it?

  57. Is there anything that I am scared to admit out loud?

  58. What was one situation where I was very anxious? Was whatever I was anxious about as bad as my anxiety made it out to be? Was there anything I could have done to reduce my anxiety?


70 Journal Prompts for Self-Discovery


  1. What are five words that best describe me? Why do I think these words describe me?

  2. What would an ideal day look like? How can I emulate aspects of what I find to be ideal into each day?

  3. What are some distractions that prevent me from being productive? How can I reduce those distractions?

  4. How have I changed in the past 5 years? Why have I changed and what are the biggest lessons I have learned?

  5. Where do I see myself in a year, 5 years, and 10 years from now?

  6. If I could travel back in time to give advice to my younger self, what would I say?

  7. What are ten aspects about myself that I love? Why?

  8. If I could not fail, what would I do?

  9. Who do I look up to most in my life? Why?

  10. What does the word “success” mean to me?

  11.  What does the word “beauty” mean to me?

  12. What does the word “identity” mean to me?

  13.  If my last day was today, what would I do?

  14.  If someone else was asked to describe me, what do I think they would say?

  15. Are there actions I can implement to simplify my life?

  16. What is my dream job? How can I accomplish that dream?

  17. What is my favorite memory?

  18. What are challenges I have faced that have shaped who I am today?

  19. How can I take better care of myself?

  20. What is on my bucket list?

  21. What am I most passionate about?

  22. What do I want to improve about myself?

  23. How do I communicate with others best?

  24. Am I happy with who I am today?

  25. What is my biggest regret? What would I have done differently?

  26. What is my purpose in life?

  27. What are my most fundamental values and does my lifestyle align with those values?

  28. Who or what do I miss the most?

  29. How do I want to be remembered and what can I do to ensure that I will be remembered this way?

  30. What would I do with my time if money was not an object?

  31. How much do I value my personal privacy?

  32. If I could become an expert at a subject or activity what would it be?

  33. Based on my morals, would I consider myself an ethical person? Why or why not?

  34. Do I consider myself to be an intelligent person? Why or why not?

  35. How do I cope with physical or emotional pain?

  36. What keeps me awake at night?

  37. Do I feel like my life is moving too fast, too slow, or just the right speed?

  38. Who or what inspires me most?

  39. Am I calm in challenging situations? If my answer is no, what do I need to do to calm down?

  40. Do I censor how I truly feel and think?

  41. Do I love my country? Why or why not?

  42. What political issue do I feel most passionate about?

  43. What is the best book I have read? Why is it the best book?

  44. Do I need to listen more or less to others?

  45. Are there any hard questions that I am afraid of asking or answering?

  46. Do I get too caught up in other people’s problems?

  47. Do I resist change?

  48. What do I contribute to society?

  49. What do I define as a healthy work-life balance?

  50. Do I enjoy being in a position of power?

  51. Is there someone I am jealous of? Who?

  52. What was the last mistake I made and how did I learn from it?

  53. What is my main focus at this time in my life?

  54. What is my greatest pet peeve?

  55. Who or what makes me feel relaxed?

  56. Do I spend too much time online?

  57. Do I have a healthy diet? What changes could I make?

  58. How do I measure how productive my day was?

  59. If I could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

  60. Am I happy about how I spend my time? What would I keep and what would I change?

  61. Who is my biggest hero and why?

  62. When was the last time I truly felt alive? What steps can I take to feel like that more often?

  63. Do I find it easy or hard to follow through with plans that I make?

  64. Am I able to forgive others?

  65. Am I a patient person?

  66. How do I express my love for others? Should I change how I express love?

  67. When and how do I feel loved by others?

  68. What is my favorite activity to do when I am alone?

  69. What is my favorite activity to do when others are in my presence?

  70. Do I live life with integrity?











Sharing Your Journal


Should you share your journals? It is a personal decision, but there are benefits and drawbacks to be aware of, whether you decide to share your journals or not. Whatever your decision, it is important to write without the intention of showing your work to others because having an audience changes your voice and selection of the topics you choose to discuss. Your journal is a place for you to have honest conversations with yourself and writing for an audience defeats the purpose of having a journal to be true to yourself. Therefore, think about allowing someone to read a journal only after you have finished writing in it.


When you show others your writing, you are opening yourself up to judgement and exposure. Many of your entries might be about issues in your life that are best kept private. Sharing your writing may deepen relationships, but it can also weaken them if they are perceived negatively. Keep in mind, everyone has a different outlook on life and your journals could be upsetting for people that disagree with strong opinions you write. Be careful who you trust reading your writing because it is crucial to remember that once you share your entries, you cannot unshare them. Ultimately, it is up to your readers to do what they please with the content they learn from reading your writing.


While there are drawbacks to sharing your journals, there are also many benefits. People tend to self-censor themselves in social situations so journaling can reveal another side of you. The ideas you express freely through writing might be intriguing and inspiring to others. Sharing some of your journal’s content will spark interesting conversations and cultivate deeper relationships. Letting someone explore your thought processes will help them understand you which in turn will strengthen the bond they have with you. Though, if you choose to show your writing to someone else, set parameters. Journals are more detailed and personal than a memoir, so it might be best to strictly let your closest friends and family members read them. You can start small by only picking a couple of lines to share. If you feel comfortable, you can build from there and share more. If you cannot move past the fear of someone you know reading your journals while you are alive, but recognize the historical and sentimental value journals hold, consider donating them to a historical collection or leaving them with a family member for future generations to gain insight into the past. 


Staying Motivated to Journal


Misery yearns for company and instead of bringing misery upon someone else, you may choose to journal instead. If a reason why you journal is to vent negative emotions, it can be easier to journal through tough times rather than when your life is good. Entries can get stale as your quality of life improves because you may feel like there is nothing to write about. Whatever your reason is for becoming unmotivated to continue journaling, recognize that journals are versatile and can be used in many different ways. Below are some tips to combat becoming bored of writing. 


   1. Remind yourself why you are writing

Has your reason for journaling changed over time? Should you change your reason?


   2. Write about something other than you

Diverting from strictly talking about yourself will not make your journal less personal because your surroundings and the people you encounter are integral to your experiences in life.


   3. Reflect on how much you are journaling

Do you write too much or too little? Maybe you do not need to write 15 pages a day or maybe you feel like you could be writing more than one page every other day.


   4. Use your journal for dreaming about the future

Write about your goals and take notes on your experience reaching them. You could make a vision board or write a letter to your future self.

   5. Care less about what you are writing

If things are good for you and you don’t feel like you have to write as much, then don’t. Remind yourself that your journal is the story of you and is a tool for your self-growth. Do not make journaling an obligation or a source of stress.


   6. A sk yourself whether or not you should re-read your old entries

For some, the process of writing is healing, but revisiting the past is detrimental. Reading what you have written can also cause you to judge yourself negatively. However, reading past entries can also remind you how far you have come.

   7. Drop the importance of documenting every detail of life and just write

It is better to write anything than nothing at all. It can become frustrating to journal if you write with the mindset of having to record everything that has happened to you. Getting frustrated at your practice does not do anything other than hinder it further. 

journal with coffee.jpeg
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