You've probably heard a lot of people talk about journalling and how it helps with self-care and processing your thoughts. With the introduction of Bujo (bullet journaling), we also ended up seeing beautiful page spreads, revisiting fancy letter sets, and 100 different coloured special pens - all of this can seem a little bit daunting. Well, we're here to let you know that you don't need all of the above to begin your journal journey in 2023.


Have you always been intrigued by the idea of keeping a journal but don't know where to start? This is the blog for you. And! It's written by someone who is kept so occupied by "life" that they struggle to find a few minutes for themselves. Yep, that's me.  

A person sits writing in a leather bound journal with a pencil, with glasses and a candle nearby.

What is journalling?

Journalling in its purest form is simply writing down your thoughts - and the benefit? You can get a better understanding of yourself and gain a clearer insight into your own mind. From sharing your emotions and feelings to keeping track of some of those beautiful moments that can be easily forgotten, these benefits can really serve your positive mental well-being. You can use a journal to help to try and make sense of trauma and reduce stress, or to explore your life, goals, and dreams. Some also use it as a way to log and keep targets - especially with New Year goals and aspirations, journaling can provide an easy way to keep those aspirations alive

Leather journal covers by Hord
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outdoor journalling, with journal covers by hord
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WHAT DO YOU NEED TO START JOURNALING?

First and foremost, find yourself a notebook that feels right and where the paper is a joy to write on. I personally love to use a Leuchtturm1917 A5 notebook with dotted paper for my journals and I shall outline a few bullet points as to why they are my go-to below! 


There are, however, lots of different books out there. I would recommend first looking at size and binding - you want to ensure it's really comfortable to write in. I struggle with very small notebooks, as I like my hand to rest on the page as I'm writing, so A5 is usually as small as I would go for myself. Some folks may prefer something in an A6 size that can happily fit in their pocket. Have a play around and see what works for you - if you have ever used a diary, think about the sizes you preferred to write in over others. 


Benefits behind the Leuchtturm1917 series of notebooks
  • Contents Page - the front of every Leuchtturm notebook has a contents page that can be filled in by the user. This is a great way to navigate to important memories or ideas you have when journalling. Mine acts as a diary, where I outline each month in the contents of my journal. I can also highlight other things I have written, for example, my work notebook has meeting notes, ideas, drawings, and good advice that I wish to remember. 
  • Two Bookmarks - These notebooks come with two ribbons as standard. What are these good for? In my journal, I start each month with an overview, kind of like a calendar, with some goals and aspirations for that month thrown in. I keep one of my bookmarks there to reference that page so I can easily add new events coming up and new goals, or to see if I am still on track with the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the month. The other ribbon I use marks my current page for my next set of writing. They can also be great if you're in the middle of a drawing that you keep returning to as well as your current journalling page. 
  • A Handy Pocket - At the back of each book is a handy pocket to pop small memorable items, notes, or stickers. You also get some Leuchtturm stickers with the journal that can help you catalog your book when you have filled it! 
  • Numbered Pages - This benefit goes hand in hand with the contents page I mentioned at the top. Each page has a discrete little page number at the bottom to make navigating your journal that bit easier!
  • Paper Options - These journals come in a variety of paper styles with plain, dotted and rules options for every type of journal keeper. They also come in two different paper thicknesses, the thicker 120gsm option being perfect for those that use heavy inks, paints or watercolours.
  • Journal Covers - You can get some pretty beautiful leather journal covers made to fit these books, they are removable so they can be used over and over again and they feel so luxurious to hold. They're also personalisable in both colour and stitch, as well as having custom text options. Did I mention that they're awesome?

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A figure sits in front of a lit stove writing in their journal, with journal cover by Hord

What should you write in your journal?

Start Slow

You will find loads of prompts and suggestions online - in the hundreds! But, this can often lead to feeling overwhelmed and that can start breaking down your intention and disrupt this new routine. 


I would recommend starting with one or two prompts and these prompts are ones you should try daily. They are helpful for your daily self-reflection and once you are secure in your routine, you can think about introducing more - or you might find you don't need the prompts, and you're in your own flow!


Great Morning Prompts for journaling

  1. What are you looking forward to doing today?
  2. What are you grateful for?
  3. Are you worried about anything today? Can you change it? (Your worries could be something you write in your journal throughout the day, especially if you wish to find patterns in your stress)

Great Evening Prompts for Journalling

  1. What worries or stresses came to light today?
  2. Reflect on if you managed to do what you were most looking forward to.
  3. What were the highlights of today? What brought you joy?

Great Prompts in General

  1. Write down your goals and intentions for the week or month, and keep checking in on them.
  2. Set yourself three small tasks that will help you move towards these goals. 
  3. Write three things you loved about your day - even the smallest of things like having a great cup of coffee or receiving some mail you've been excited about!
  4. Write down when things are stressful or are on your mind - some of these may be forgotten over the course of the day, but often these thoughts have the tendency to crop up when you don't want them to, the practice of writing them down can help to clear your mind. 

Handy Tip! If anything comes to mind and you don't have your journal to hand, set a reminder in your phone to write about later. 

The Fear of Starting

Now, this is a legitimate thing, and it's one I have had to contend with most of my life thus far. I am a bit of a stationery obsessive, I love the look of a clean page and I often over-worry that I am to be the one who ruins it. This would happen with my sketchbooks as well as notebooks - if I used them, whatever it would be, it needed to be perfect, but, that's not how notes, or ideas work.  

If you suffer from similar, try to release those shackles and remember the purpose and intention of using that book. If you have the time and you want to make your journal fancy on this inside, there are many templates out there that will help you with layouts and decorations - but most important is trying to release yourself from perfectionism. Yet another reason to begin journalling in the first place. 

One thing that hugely helped my sketchbook anxiety was actually our journal covers - one of the key reasons they became a product line for us, was my fear of ruining a lovely book. Well, if I ever did ruin the content of my sketch or notebooks (which has yet to happen, might I add) I still had the lovely cover to pop on another book, all fresh and new!

So don't be precious, make a mess and don't worry about it - it's all part of the process!

a cup of coffee and roaring fire, with journals stacked up near it

Set Up the Perfect Space

When introducing a new routine, it's always best to make it as easy to achieve as possible. Keep your journal and pen in the area you wish to write in and try your best to solidify that place as where you choose to write in your journal. Whether that is when you're tucked up in bed, or at a desk - seeing that place will remind you to pop a few words down in your notebook. 


I am often one for writing in the morning and evening - so a good place for me is to keep the journal next to my bed. For many people, this may have too much crossover with other routines they have in the bedroom (wink, wink), such as meditation, reading, or sleeping. I get you. Find the perfect place for you to unwind!


Light a candle or some incense, pop on your favourite music, and indulge.

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THE TAKEAWAY - A DIGITAL DETOX

I hope these ideas have inspired you to take time out of your day to write and release your thoughts on paper - stepping away from the digital landscape and being in tune with yourself once again. With technology now being at our fingertips, it can be hard to shut out all the noise that comes with it - treat yourself to a little bit of quiet away from it all and enjoy!

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