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7 Ways to Beat the Journaling “Blahs”

Let’s face it. As much as we love journaling and all the benefits it brings, journal writing is not always a picnic.

Sometimes we just get, well… sick of it. We’re bored with our journals, bored with our writing – even bored with listening to ourselves.

Here are some tips that have worked well for me in the past when I’ve hit the journaling wall. Give one of them a try next time you don’t want to journal and see if they work for you. Let me know how it goes – I always love to hear about your experience!

1. Journal about why you don’t want to

Yes, this is a bit of a trick. But it’s okay to trick ourselves into action once in awhile. When you don’t feel like writing, just write about why you don’t feel like journaling. Your writing may sound like that of a petulant 3 year old, but that’s okay. I don’t wanna! I hate journaling! This is stupid. This is boring!

Once you’re done venting, you may discover that you start writing about the real reasons why you don’t want to journal. Maybe you’re about to hit on some inconvenient truth. Maybe you’re on the cusp of discovering something about yourself that’s going to shatter your worldview, shake up your life. (That is scary stuff. Take it slowly.)

Maybe you’re mired in perfectionism. Worried that all this journaling is happening but you’re not seeing any progress. Or you still can’t write. Or you’re not doing it properly.

Or perhaps you’re concerned deep down about privacy and your fear of being discovered is hampering your desire to document your world.

Maybe you’re just worried about the long-term consequences of putting it in writing — whatever “it” is.

2. Change it Up

Sometimes we fall into a rut. It’s been said the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth of the hole. While rituals and regularity can be helpful in establishing habits, a ritual that steers you into a rut is a hinderence. It’s time to shake things up and try something new in your journal.

Write someplace you’ve never written before. Switch morning for evening and vice versa. Try a different pen. Just do something different, something new. A change of scenery can have a huge impact on your journaling.

Novel experiences physically alter your brain chemistry, stimulating you and boosting creativty and motivation. It’s an instant hit of inspiration!

3. Get Creative

If your journal writing has become tiresome, try putting the words aside for a day. Try taking photos instead to tell the story of your life.

Infuse your journaling with some heart. Or make a collage to explain how you’re feeling. One of my favorite ways to collage is to chop up old magazines and use the headlines and text to tell my own narrative.

Try some art journaling.

4. Use Tools

There are plenty of journal writing tools out there, including great decks of cards that supply you with ideas for topics to write on. I really like the Wide Open deck and the Inner Outings kit.

Sometimes a little external nudge will get you moving in the right direction.

5. Use Prompts — or don’t

If you normally use prompts to write in your journal, try taking a break from that and just write from your heart and mind. If your writing is normally unstructured, try a journaling prompt to get you writing again.

6. Change Your Point of View

Write in the third person. Write from the point of view of yourself as a child, or as your significantly-older self. This exercise is like looking at a familiar room while hanging upside down. Everything seems new and different.

7. Take a Break

Although I’m a big believer in the value of daily journaling, it’s okay to take a break, too. I need a day or two off every once in awhile myself. If you’re new to journaling, it’s a good idea to write regularly until it becomes a habit. But if you’ve been doing it awhile, there’s no reason you can’t take a few days away from the page. Go for a walk, get some fresh air.

I almost always find that a little journaling vacation refreshes my desire to write, and I often have lots of material to cover when I return.

Journaling should be enjoyable (most of the time). So if you’re finding yourself sick of it, bored with it, or just plain don’t wanna, try one of these tools to get the juices flowing again.

Have your own recommendations for overcoming journaling blahs? Leave them in the comments below so we can all give it a shot!

8 comments

  1. Those are some great advices! I’m not often bored with my journaling, maybe because I take natural pauses when life are busy for a few days and then come back to it because it is my habit and I miss it. I’m going to try to journal in the evenings for now though, morning pages (though I love the feeling the give me) are not right right now. Thanks for that.

  2. Hey Hanna — it’s good to be able to honor your own flow with natural pauses. It sounds weird, but I actually like missing journaling after taking a break. It means I’ve got a lot to say, and it makes me appreciate the benefits I get from the process.

  3. I am not a daily journaler, per se. I journal when I want to or feel I need to, and that ends up being nearly daily. I enjoy the natural breaks that occur when I am too busy to record the way I want to and how it feels SO GOOD when I get to come back.

  4. Great stuff Kristin! I really appreciate your work thanks for sharing!

  5. As always, Kristin, you’ve come up with some great ideas to liven up the journaling process. I love the idea of writing in 3rd person or writing from your pov as a child or older person. That would certainly give it an interesting perspective, especially when dealing with conflict.

    Thanks for another great post.

  6. Thanks for the feedback you guys! I can so relate to the good feeling of returning to journaling — most Mondays are like that for me because weekends can get crowded out.

  7. Kristin: I do a 1, 2, 3 and ! thing in the top of my electronic journal. The three things that I want to journal about and the one positive thing that I want to be thankful for (the !). In the evenings I journal in my book. It’s just a page-a-day sort of thing. Great suggestions here too. I don’t often run into a road block. I just force myself to keep writing and usually I’ll land on some subject that I can’t shut up about. (grin)
    …dave

  8. I like the idea of using pictures. Sometimes what I am feeling is too intense or upsetting for me to write about. But i could use pictures to express my feelings and still be journaling.