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10 Journaling Mistakes You Should Avoid

Do you write in a journal regularly? Do you want to start journal writing? Do you write in a journal sometimes but not often? If yes, I'm sure these things must have crossed your mind and made journaling a daunting task for you.

In this post, I am going to discuss mistakes that we commit while journaling or planning to start journal writing. There are some things that even make journaling a daunting task rather than a fun, self-reflecting activity.

You should definitely read this if you are putting off journaling to tomorrows, next weeks, and even months just because it seems like a huge mountain to conquer.

So, let's not eat up your time and start with the first and most common mistake:

1. Judging What You Write

There's a huge difference between judging and observing. When you journal, observe what you write without judgement.

You have to look at your thoughts on paper and observe what is it that's holding you back, what's your thought and behavioural patterns, and how your thoughts are affecting your life.
A girl journaling

If you judge what you write and fill yourself with self-pity or self-loathing, there's no use writing in a journal. A victim mindset won't help you grow. So, just write, observe, and let it go.

If you find it hard to not judge, then don't read what you write on a day for, at least, a week or more.

2. Copying Styles You Can't Keep Up With

Journaling is about exploring yourself and the creative thoughts that stay hidden in a corner of your mind.

Our Instagram feeds are filled with numerous journaling photos, each user posting in a different style. You don't have to follow their styles, definitely not all of them.

You can, by all means, try the styles that call to your soul. But if you develop your own style, you will find it more comfortable and soothing. You don't have to find it necessary to follow someone else's style.

3. Sticking To The Time That Doesn't Suit You

I start writing my morning pages well into the afternoon and they often run till evening when I write them in instalments with more than a few breaks in between.

My gratitude journaling is reserved for the bedtime. I never write in my gratitude journal any time before going to bed. Some of my other journals have no time restrictions at all; I pick them whenever I feel like.

The thing is, we all have a different lifestyle, different routines and schedule. So, watch out what time suits you the best but if you have no time for journaling on your schedule, do keep, at least, a thirty-minute slot reserved for journal writing.

4. Overdoing Things

I don't know how else to title it because it includes everything from keeping multiple journals to tiring yourself up decorating your journal when you don't feel like decorating them.
Journals in a tray with coffee

You don't need to keep multiple journals, unlike me who is always buried under journals because that's where I find peace. You can keep just one commonplace journal and do all of your journaling in it, be it gratitude journaling, art journaling, morning pages, you name it.

Likewise, you don't need to decorate your journal with junk/pretty papers or washi tapes. You can just go for a minimal approach and trust me, minimal journals take my heart away. They are just as pretty as decorated ones.

So, it's your journal...decorate if you wish to, or create a freaking mess if that's what soothes you.

5. Trying Too Hard

Don't put any kind of pressure on your mind. Journal is meant to set your mind free. Just let your thoughts flow on paper as if you're talking to your reflection in the mirror. Don't try 'too' hard. Let it be easy, free-flowing, and natural.

Let things unfold on their own. Unpack your soul on paper rather than putting locks on your baggage.

6. Treating Journal Like A Daily Diary

A diary entry is where you write and your everyday log—dear diary, today I did this, I ate that, I met them, etc.

Journaling is more about reflecting on your thoughts, repeating patterns, knowing why things are not working out for you, asking yourself about the mindset you had when things did work out for you.

Journal for growth, not for recording your life.

7. Afraid Of Creating A Mess

Don't be afraid to make mistakes, cuttings, and mess in your journal. You are meant to create a mess in there for clearing your head.

Don't beat yourself up for cuttings, don't fret over a ruined first page, don't be afraid of spilling inks or colours in your journal. It's your space and no one's going to peep into it unless you allow them to.

8. Treating It Like A Chore

Please don't treat journaling like a chore. Skip writing on days you don't feel like writing. It's in no way meant to upset you or become a huge responsibility.

Have fun with it. Start with once a week, and when you start enjoying it, switch to writing on alternate days and eventually, start writing daily. By daily, I don't mean you have to write every single day (it's good if you can), but as many days as you feel like writing.

9. Not Being Honest

Okay, the toughest step...even tougher than writing every single day, especially if you share space with other people.

I'm not blaming you. I have done that myself. I have not always been honest in my journals in the fear of someone ending up reading them.

But try and keep your journals safe. Give yourself permission to throw them away or destroy them once they are burned.

If you can't destroy them, like me, you can choose a digital journal and start recording your deepest, most hurting emotions on it. It's easier to delete an MS Word page than it is to tear up a page from the journal. You can find lockable digital journals too. There are many apps that allow 4 digit passcode lock on your notebooks.

So, for once, try writing honestly in a journal. It will feel good.

10. Buying Journals You Don't Like

Are you a handwriting person or a typing person? Do you love physical notebooks or digital journals or simply your Notes app?

You should always get a journal that calls you to write in it. People find colourful journals cute, I do too, but I am madly attracted to black or just plain journals. Even if I buy cute, colourful journals, I just don't feel like writing in them. They repel me. Whereas I love filling pages and pages of classy, decent black cover journals, they never distract me from writing.

Just because colourful, floral/cartoon journals are cool and sweet and everyone loves writing in them, or that black journals are decent and kind of mature, doesn't mean you have to love them too or you have to stock them up.

Journals with amazing and smile written on covers
Just go for what you feel attracted to. Don't bother about what others love. Find what you love and buy them.

And if you're a typing person, just use Evernote, Notes, Word, or even journaling apps to jot down your thoughts.

Hope that helps you get unstuck and start writing in your journal soon.

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  1. Flexibility and minimalism is what makes you unique ❤️

  2. Glad you blogged about this!


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