Published Sep 9th,2019 & updated on Sep 3rd, 2020
Peer Reviewed by DiveThru Team
Licenced Social Work(MS & LSW)
5 Journaling Tips (Plus Prompts) For Beginners
Starting something new can be scary. It’s normal to feel unsure and doubt if you’re doing anything right. Unlike piloting a hot air balloon for the first time (is that even what it’s called?!) or venturing out on open water for the first time with someone who has Rose like vibes (there WAS enough room on that floating door), you have nothing to be afraid of when it comes to journaling. You realllyyyyy can’t do anything wrong.
Well, you could just not journal at all but we’re going to assume you’re dedicated to your journaling practice and are looking to get the most out of it.
Like anything, there are tips that you can follow to help you get the most out of your journaling practice. Because we know you’re eager to DiveThru, here are our best tips for those of you just starting to journal:
1. Ignore Spelling Mistakes
We live in a world that is constantly correcting us. We take a wrong way on our commute, and Google Maps is there to remind us of our mistake. Social media is right there with you when you wrongly quote a source or say something you shouldn’t. Spell correct greets us daily with its little red line or forced correction! No, iPhone, I’m not saying duck.
We have ample opportunities in our day-to-day lives to concern ourselves with grammar, punctuation and spelling errors… journaling is not one of them.
Constantly correcting spelling mistakes or getting hung up on the proper placement of commas dramatically takes away from your journaling experience. During a hot, steamy journal sess. we’re often swept up in emotions, memories or ideas. By forcing ourselves to focus on spelling, we’re flow-blocking — as in, blocking ourselves from getting in a journaling flow.
Lay your perfectionist flag down while journaling and embrace your 5th-grade writing level — we here at DiveThru certainly do!
2. Keep Your Journal As A Judgement Free Zone
Continually editing your journal entries isn’t the only way you can flow-block yourself. Allowing our judgemental selves to steer the journaling ship can negatively impact the incredible benefits associated with journaling.
You know that super judgy co-worker? The one who sits back in meetings sneering at everyone and picking apart what everyone shares.
Don’t let yourself transform into that co-worker while journaling.
Allow yourself to write freely. Lay it all out. Write down the shit you have always been afraid of saying. Dish about your most secretive secrets and get real about your deepest insecurities. Get it all out there on the page.
This is easier said than done, yes. But, being aware of your tendency to censor and judge yourself during your journaling sessions will help you break free from the habit.
3. Keep Your Journal Close By
You never know when the mood to journal will strike. By keeping a journal close by, you’ll help yourself get in the habit of turning to your journaling when things come up. Here at DiveThru, whenever we’re facing a creative challenge, our team members turn to their journals. Yup, we truly practice what we preach.
You could go as far as keeping a private at-home journal and a work journal. Bring your work journal to work and keep your other one at home stashed away. Whatever you need to feel comfortable about busting it out when the mood moves you.
4. Keep Distractions Minimal
We have all tried to journal while the TV has been on only to get distracted by Tony Stark’s good looks. Wait, is that only our founder’s, Sophie, experience?! Uh… Well… This is awkward.
Regardless of your preference of Avengers, we know what it’s like to slowly look away from our journal and get swept up in whatever’s happening around us. For this reason, it’s vital to ensure you journal in a space or at a time where distractions are limited.
If you’re journaling in the morning or evening at home, turn off the TV or set yourself up in a private room away from whatever’s pulling your attention. If you’re at work, put your headphones on. Retreat to a vacant office. Put a sign on your cubicle that says you’re taking a moment.
Do whatever you can to keep the distractions to a minimum.
5. Prepare Your Mind Beforehand
While the TV can be the thing that is stealing your attention, your busy thoughts may be sabotaging your journaling session. We cannot stress enough the importance of adequately preparing your mind before journaling. It can be challenging to transition from the busyness of life into the introspective place that journaling takes you. By dedicating as little as 3 minutes before your journaling session for introspection, you’re allowing your mind to get thoroughly swept up in whatever topic you’re journaling about. To do so, the first step is to take a few breaths before each journaling session and tune into yourself.
While taking a few breaths before your journaling session can prepare your mind, we recommend you take things a bit further. In the DiveThru app, we take you through a guided introspection piece before and after every journaling session. It helps get you in the space to journal and helps you reflect post journaling session, as well. You can download the DiveThru app and get started for free by clicking here.
As we mentioned, you really can’t mess journaling up. However, if you remember to let go of spell checking yourself, leave the judgment at the door, keep a journal close by, keep distractions minimal and prepare your mind beforehand, you’ll get the most out of your journaling practice.
Feeling the fear subside? Here are 5 journaling prompts you can DiveThru right away:
1. How is my day going?
Checking in to see how your day is going is always a good thing. Take a moment to slow down and explore your day.
2. What am I grateful for?
Science tells us that taking note of our gratitude is cool, so you should probably make a habit of it!
3. What have I learned recently?
Lessons on lessons on lesson. Here at DiveThru, we believe there’s a lesson in everything we do. Slow down and ask yourself: what have I learned recently?
4. What are my most present feelings and why?
Feelings need to be processed. Take a moment to explore a feeling that has been present for you lately.
5. Who’s someone I appreciate in my life and why?
Chances are, you have someone in your life worth appreciating. Turn to your journal to express gratitude for this individual. Who knows, you may end up wanting to share your gratitude with them!
If you want to follow the fifth tip (preparing your mind beforehand) make sure to download the DiveThru app! It’s free to get started and has thousands of Dives for you to DiveThru!
That’s why journaling is a major pillar of the DiveThru method. Putting your feelings into words helps create a narrative for your emotions and establish reasons and causes for those feelings.