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  • Helen Colebrook

5 Ways to Keep a Journal


Making a few notes every evening

Document the Day to Day

This might sound obvious, but one of the best things to document in your journal is a snapshot of the happenings in your life each day. For most of us, our lives aren't made up of endless travels and adventures, but this doesn't make them any the less interesting or worthy of recording.


I have just finished my last 6 month journal insert and decided to have a look through all of the pages. It's amazing how many of the little details I would have forgotten if they weren't there to look back on. Each page brought a smile to my face and an acknowledgement of how much has happened and changed during that time.


Don't underestimate the value of your own journey. Take the time to make some notes each day and enjoy the pleasure of reading back through them in a few months' time. Even the bad days are worth recording. When I reflect on the unpleasant moments, this is an opportunity to learn about myself and be proud of pushing on through to a happier time.


Add photos to your pages

Take photos of the 'ordinary'

It's easy to remember to take photos when you are on holiday or visiting somewhere new. Everything around you is exciting and you naturally have the desire to document each new moment. But, I believe you can bring a huge amount of happiness to your life by taking the time to notice the 'ordinary' things that are around you each day.


I love to take photos on walks that I have with my dog. It encourages me to stop for a moment, look around me and take it all in. Other things I love to take photos of include:

  • interesting shop fronts

  • gardens

  • beautiful courtyards

  • meals I have prepared

  • family gatherings

  • the cover of a book I am reading

  • 'before' and 'after' shots of creative projects

  • birds

  • street signs

So, I encourage you to take a moment and look at the things around you that make your life unique and beautiful. Photos are such a lovely way to add visual interest to your journal.


I use an HP sprocket to print the photos straight from my phone onto sticky paper. I love how simple the process is and it really encourages me to add them to my journal. *The link provided is an Amazon Affiliate link.


Stick in all the stuff

Stick in Anything you can Find

A great way to make your journal wonderfully unique is to add in bits and pieces that would often end up being thrown away. By this I mean receipts, leaflets, food wrappers (if they're not too messy!), bits of wrapping paper, interesting envelopes, stamps, torn bits of paper bags, newspaper headlines and pretty much anything else you can think of.


Next time you are about to throw something in the bin, take a moment to consider whether it might just add a special something to your journal. It can either be significant to you, or just something you like the look of, it doesn't matter. It's your journal so you can't do it 'wrong'.


Using quotes in your journal

Use Quotes to help Guide your Writing

One of my favourite ways to use my journal is to examine the thoughts and feelings that I am having, whether happy or sad. If I'm struggling with how to move forwards, or how to get my thoughts onto paper, I will often use a quote to get me started and write this on my journal pages first.


For example, if I'm feeling anxious about a big change that is coming up I might search for "Dealing with Change Quotes" on Google Images. I then scroll through until I find one that really speaks to me. In this example I might choose to pick "Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won't have titles until much later" - Bob Goff.


The simple act of finding this quote triggers a whole new way of thinking for me. I can use my journal to write about the situation and get everything out of my head, but with a positive and uplifting sentiment as I'm thinking about the opportunities that come with change, rather than just the uncomfortable feeling.


Get creative

Express your Creativity

Using your journal to get creative can be a hugely rewarding experience. Creativity can take many different forms, including:

  • collage

  • stamping

  • using stencils

  • adding photos

  • different font styles

  • strips of washi tape

  • painting

Adding creative elements is by no means essential, but it might just help you find a creative style you didn't know you had. I find the creative side of journaling very expressive and it also helps to calm me as I reflect on life, thoughts and feelings. The colours you use can say so much about your emotions and also the time of year.


Don't be afraid to experiment and try different things. Just as your journal will reflect your life, it will also document your creative progress and changing styles.



Journal pages

Keeping journals has brought so much pleasure to my life, along with personal growth and a higher level of self-awareness. I hope this blog post has inspired you with some new ideas for your journal and encourages you to document your unique and beautiful life.


Favourite journal supplies:

Travelers Notebook Cover

Weekly journal insert

Blank journal insert

Journal ephemera - washi tape, stickers, stamps and paints


"I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say" - Flannery O'Connor