Start journaling (why and how)

October 22, 2015

Written By

Tabitha Dumas

You might have heard about people keeping a journal. You may wonder, “What IS ‘journaling?'” Perhaps you’ve considered starting a journal but have no idea where to start. Maybe you see cute journals at the store and think, “What could I do with that??” This recent post from Daypsring made me realize how much I love journaling and how much I rely on it daily. So here is how to

start journaling.

{Save and/or print a handout from here}

Keeping a journal means different things to different people. To some, a journal is like a grown-up diary where they record the happenings of their day. There are those who have an art journal or a Smash Book as part of their creative practice. Others use a journal to keep track of their spiritual lessons and insights, writing down what they’re learning or praying about. Some people even use journaling as a form of prayer, like a conversation between themselves and God, which can make the idea of journaling somewhat intimidating. 

Journals have many applications but let’s start with some reasons WHY to have a journal.
  • Journaling helps you keep track of your progress. There’s nothing quite like looking back a year or two to appreciate how far you’ve come and that’s hard to do without some kind of written record. A journal is like a photograph–it freezes a moment in time we might otherwise forget.
  • Journaling helps you sort through your thoughts and feelings, like how just talking things through with a friend or loved one gives us clarity.
  • Journaling forces you to put pen to paper, which is beneficial to your brain and is often therapeutic.
  • Journaling helps you see themes and commonalities. You might not realize that the breakthrough you had when talking to your boss also applies to the situation you were trying to sort out with your in-law until you write it in your journal.

I love keeping a journal for my spiritual practice because it helps me see how God is speaking to me in subtle ways that I might miss otherwise.

Now for the HOW.

Here are some types of journals:

1. art journal

Draw pictures, illustrate what you’re learning, paste in mementos or quotes…you can make it whatever you want!

2. idea journal

Don’t let those brilliant ideas drift into oblivion–write them down!


One of the greatest lies I tell myself is (3)

3. project journal

To-do lists, shopping lists, meetings notes–write down whatever you need to keep your project on track.

4. prayer journal

You can list requests and answers or write out your prayers.

5. spiritual journal

This one can have notes about the books you’re reading, the Scripture you’re studying or any themes that keep coming up when you’re studying or praying.

The best journals combine one or two of the above.

You can also have an idea/project journal or a prayer/spiritual journal. And why NOT add art to a journal, whatever its use?? Illustrating your insights and ideas can give you a new perspective. 

[tweetthis]Start journaling and you open up a world of possibilities. #journaling #starthere @tabithadumas[/tweetthis]

Now all you need is a journal! There are options.

  • a simple notebook
  • a spiral lined journal (my favorite because it’s a great size and can lie flat)
  • a leather-bound blank journal
  • an artist’s sketchpad

Then dive in! And please let me know how it’s going by leaving a comment or visiting my Facebook page.

For more ideas, check out my Artistic Journaling Pinterest Board.

Please pin and share!

Start journaling! Practical tips for WHY and HOW to start journaling. From



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