The following suggestions are just some basic guidelines you might find helpful for keeping you organized and getting the most out of journaling. It is up to you to decide how you want your journal to be. Make your own rules but feel free to change them at any time. These tips are not strict rules to follow. Just pick and choose only what you find useful for you.

(In no particular order)

  1. Record the date, time, location, and/or weather for each entry
  2. Give each entry a title and/or a number
  3. Number each page
  4. As you fill up your journal, make an index on the back pages listing the title or number of each entry (plus a description if there are no title); or list each page number and its general contents; this helps you find past entries after a long time has passed, summarizing the contents of your journal; this also produces a nice overview of your life — your life’s trends and cycles
  5. Leave blank pages for comments; write your comments soon after your journal is filled up and you’ve read the whole thing; also save space for reflective comments you might want to make in the distant future from an older, wiser self
  6. Use multiple journals to record specific subjects: dreams, childhood memories, vacations or trips, collections of favorite poems or quotes, your beliefs, etc.; however, you may feel more comfortable keeping everything together in one journal — to be more integrated and to see how different areas of your life influence each other
  7. Use different colored pens or pencils in your journal to write about different subjects or to highlight important thoughts
  8. Keep a box of momentos and record their significance in your journal; or paste small objects (opera tickets, newspaper clippings, odds and ends) in your journal
  9. Make copies of important photos to keep in your journal; especially nice to put with portrait descriptions
  10. Write only about what matters to you; write about the most memorable events and your thoughts and feelings about those events; don’t feel compelled to record every single detail of your life — will you care 30 years from now that you vacuumed the living room floor at 6:42pm today or that you went to sleep at 1:12am? be selective and don’t worry if you leave things out
  11. Don’t restrict yourself; feel free to break your own rules; don’t worry about grammar, spelling, punctuation, or organization; just write what you feel; being a perfectionist will only lead to frustration and possibly even giving up, since it’s often difficult to keep impossible writing promises with a busy schedule; write as often as you can but within reason
  12. Write in a special place so that you enjoy writing and feel more relaxed; make journaling a special time
  13. Keep your journal in a safe place and only show it to others if you feel comfortable
  14. Use your favorite writing utensil(s) and pick a journal that fits your needs and tastes
  15. Write quickly so that unconscious revelations make themselves known; writing fast allows the hand to record thoughts before you actually think of them or before you can censor yourself; it makes you more honest and digs below the surface
  16. Be more perceptive of your life by recording details; use all of your senses to capture reality as you feet it

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