How to Keep a Journal: Guide for Beginners + Free Template to Get You Started

Journaling is a way to keep in contact with your own thoughts, improve your writing ability, and develop disciplined writing habits. 

Effective journaling practices will help you meet your goals or improve your state of mind. This can look different for each and every person, and the outcomes can vary widely, but they are almost always very positive.

Some of the benefits of Journaling include: 

How to Keep a Journal: Step-by-Step 🖊️

1.) WHERE DO YOU WRITE? Nowadays, there are at least fifty ways to do one thing, and it’s both a blessing and a curse (analysis paralysis, am I right?). Don’t you worry, I’ve rounded up some of the best options for you.

a.) Old school actual notebooks – Nothing beats the classics. I’ve accrued a good pile of notebooks over years of journaling, but lately I’ve been trying out digital tools as well. 

b.) Paperless – Digital planners are growing more popular day by day. I get it. I was apprehensive with the idea of going digital at first. If you want to give it a try, I’ve made a free and accessible digital planner. It includes a range of features such as Year At A Glance, Daily Planning, and Journal Prompts. 

c.) Google docs – You can’t go wrong with a trusty word doc.

d.) Notion – Notion is an all-in-one workspace where you can write, collaborate, and organize your plans. It is a straightforward tool. Although sometimes it can feel quite challenging to learn. If you’re looking for a simple and customizable Notion Journal Template, I have just the thing for you.

2.) WHEN DO YOU WRITE? Schedules. If you’re new to the practice of journaling and you don’t have a schedule for writing, you’re likely to abandon the process altogether. And you don’t want that.

You want to incorporate the habit into your life. My advice? Pick a schedule. Will you do it at night? Before breakfast every morning? Once a week? Or only on weekends? You choose. Make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure by placing too much on your plate. Start small and gradually build momentum as you progress.

Make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure by placing too much on your plate. Start small and gradually build momentum as you progress.


a.) Stream of consciousness – According to Creative Primer, stream of consciousness journaling is a simple exercise that requires nothing more than a pen and blank sheet of paper or journal. No prompts or guides needed. As you write, pay no attention to structure, tone or grammar. Simply let your thoughts flow freely onto the page.

b.) Bullet journaling – A bullet journal, also known as a BuJo, is a mix of a daily planner, to-do list, and diary. The bullet journal is an analog journaling system created by New York-based designer Ryder Carroll.

c.) Snippets – Write about the small things you want to record throughout the day. You can think of this as a mix between bullet journaling and stream of consciousness writing. Short and simple.

P.s. How Does Journaling Hone Self-Awareness