1.) Is it hard to get started with personal journaling?
There is absolutely nothing difficult about starting a journal. All you need is a pen (or pencil if you wish), a notebook, and a desire to write reflectively about your experiences in life. Journaling is nothing more than materializing your deepest thoughts and feelings.

2.) Where do people get these fancy and decorative journals to write in?
Any bookstore would have them. Borders and Barnes and Noble have about the best supply I’ve seen for bookstores. You can also purchase them on-line from hundreds of sites that sell diaries and journals.

3.) Do I need to write every day in my journal?
No, there are no etched-in-stone rule that says you have to write in your journal everyday, but it’s much like exercise or learning to play an instrument. The more often you do it, the better you get at it.

4.) I’m never sure what to write about. My journals end up feeling more like a day to day diary. Are there tricks to finding topics to write about?
A day-to-day diary is often a great way to begin learning how to journal. Journaling is different insofar as you write more reflectively about topics. Try writing about your thoughts on political issues like the war in Iraq, or the Abortion debate. Surely we all have thoughts about these things, so all you have to do is write about it. I have found that writing even about simple things like watching my children play or observing people’s behavior in public places are fun things to write about.

5.) Is there just one style of journaling that most people do?
Heavens no, there are many different styles, or should I say themes you can follow. If you’re a spiritual person you can keep a spiritual or perhaps prayer journal. Perhaps you love walking and being out in nature so why not keep a nature journal and reflect on your thoughts about what you see and encounter in nature? You can keep a journal about family, friends, vacations, and even work. The choices are limitless.

6.) Can my children journal too?
By all means if you have children you should encourage them to articulate their inmost thoughts and ideas. The sooner children learn to interact with their thoughts, and to incarnate them into words, the better thinkers they will become. We learn to think more clearly by interacting with words and ideas.

7.) Sometimes writing seems too painful about serious and important feelings in my life and I want to stop writing. How do I stay motivated to work through these feelings?
There is no easy answer for these things, and this is often where the writer is plagued with writer’s block. I have had times like this when I couldn’t muster enough writing strength to save my life.

This was during a most horrific, painful time in my life. Sometimes all I could write was, “I feel awful today, and I wish this pain would go away.” If that’s all you can write, then write it. These down times do not last forever.

8.) About how long do people spend when they write journal entries?
Can I fit it into a busy day? That all depends on how fast you write. Most people (at least those who have day jobs, and things to do all day) report that they spend at least thirty minutes a day writing in their journals. I carry a journal with me throughout the day so the amount of time I spend writing in it is perhaps a great deal more.

9.) Do people keep more than one style of journal going? Is it okay to write in one for awhile then another for a few topics?
Why not? If you have the time and the desire, go for it. I do it all the time. I keep a prayer journal going every other day, a family journal, and a reflective philosophical journal going all the time.

10.) I find I journal in cycles, with steady entries for awhile, then gaps where I don’t write much at all. Is this normal?
Yes this is common for most journalers, and sometimes it can be a sign of someone losing interest. That is entirely up to the individual as to how consistent they wish to be. It’s like anything else in this life. Just force yourself every day to write as much as you can. The entries don’t have to be long and fancy. They just have to be from you. Fear not the down times.

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