Welcome to the final post in The Unbound Journal. I appreciate you going through this series with me while I experimented with writing about something a little different than usual. Hopefully you have started to think differently about what your journal can be and ways in which to make your journal something valuable that you can cherish for years to come. In this final post I want to go back to basics of journaling and the core foundation behind it. You should write things you want to remember, real things, or write down everything, and keep it simple, or make it elaborate, do lists or write paragraphs, the point is your journal is yours and everything I have said are just ideas. What you write, how you write, that is you and your voice, and I encourage you to continue to listen for it as you journal. Don’t be afraid to be creative, messy, and fun. Some small additions that I like to add are dates, which are nice to look back at later, color schemes with colors representing certain things (I have also used charcoal, highlighter and sharpies aside from the normal pencil or pens), or even drawing a picture to represent an idea rather than words. A journal is a canvas for creativity and remembrance that represents you, your life, and your voice. You should already enjoy the process of journaling, but if you follow all the advice I have given you, you should have a journal that you will enjoy for a long time. Thanks again for reading and being a part of this community. As always, much love!
Another week, another tip to make the most of your journal. This post builds off the previous one in the series, before the break, so if you haven’t already read that it might be a good place to start. Last time we talked about adding more than just words to your journal and treating it almost like a scrap book. This piece of advice takes that a step further. Today I want to share with you something that I haven’t experimented with too much myself, but I find very intriguing and know will definitely make your journal unique. This is not for everyone, but some people might enjoy it. The idea is to encapsulate your environments into your journal. In the last Unbound Journal this was accomplished by adding items, but now I want you to take your journal and get it dirty! That’s right! This is a really strange idea, but I think some people might enjoy it. Some examples of what this might look like are; splashing water from a river on a page, laying the journal flat and putting a nice footprint on there, or even spilling a friend’s perfume or cologne on a page. They can be small like a smudge of dirt from your hometown or a stain of your favorite food, or they can be something big that takes up the entire or page. Trust me when I say I understand how weird this sounds. As I am writing this it feels wrong, but I wanted to try it out before I recommended it. I did this by spilling just a little coffee from my go to café in London on the page. I also wrote a note saying what it was and why I did it as well. If you can get over how bizarre this is and try it, I think that you will find that it adds character and color to your journal. The goal behind this is that you start to take your journal with you and start thinking outside the box on how you can incorporate important things onto the page. And worse comes to worse you will see the “blemish” on the page and be reminded of that silly time you took a bloggers advice.
We are at the halfway point for this series on finding the full potential of your journal. After this week, the series will take a break for a while (I will be posting other things during this time) and then the final two posts will be published to wrap it up. I hope that you are enjoying these tips on journaling so far. These types of post aren’t my normal, but I think it has been fun for different. Alright, with logistics out of the way, on to the post!
Your journal doesn’t have to consist of just your words, or the words of others. In fact, you should think of it more like a scrap book to some degree. Additions beyond just writing can really make your journal come to life, capture special moments, and allow you to hold on to cool keep-sakes. One of my favorite features of my last two journals has been that they have a pouch like a folder in the back. My journal is mostly used as a prayer journal and so during my times of travel I have been trying to keep little things like pamphlets, or service cards from churches that I’ve visited around the world so that I can add them to my journal. What you keep in there is up to you. I also have kept movie tickets, bus stubs, odds and ends, drawings from friends, pictures of family and friends, and notes. Now, if you don’t have a pouch in your journal don’t worry! There are tons of other ways to add physical things to your journal. One time I didn’t have my journal and I wrote something on a piece of paper. I forgot about it and kept writing in my journal only to stumble upon it later. I really wanted to add it in so I stapled it into where I would have been chronologically. The point is, you can staple things, tape things, or glue things as there are a bunch of ways to get keep-sakes on the page. This is a tip that I have found fun to do and really takes your journal to another level. As always, much love!
Once again, we are talking about how to make the most of your journal. Your journal is more than just pages, and one of the biggest ways to drastically increase the fullness of it is to start looking at the space in-between. Go beyond just writing on pages and start looking at all the other areas you can add to. For example, my current journal has a band to hold it closed and a book marker attached to it. This space to be taken advantage of! Don’t let it go to waste. On the band and book mark I wrote encouraging words that are easily visible before I even open my journal. This adds flavor and makes your journal exciting. I have written all over every part of my journal and it makes it so much more stylized than just uniform writing on each page. The inside of the covers are great places to write things as well, and one of my favorite places to write things is along the sides of the paper when the book is closed (the image for this post shows what I mean). Don’t let any space in your journal be overlooked. Look for creative places to add more character to your journal. This will fill your journal with lots of little nooks and crannies of things that take it above and beyond and make it a little more unique and special. I hope this short and sweet tip helps you create a journal that is truly your own. Best of writing, and Much Love!
I have explained in previous posts the importance of reflecting and how journaling has impacted my life in so many incredible ways. So, before we get started, I would recommend checking those out and to just start writing because it can be extremely beneficial. You don’t need a journal, just something to write with and something to write on. I would highly suggest physically writing out things, and not typing them on your phone or on a computer because there is something different about writing without technology. To me it feels more personal and relaxing. I have been recording things for a while now and there are some really fun things that I have done that make my journal very special to me. This series is for those of you who have a journal, or those of you who are looking to get one, and how to make the most of it. First off, journaling is whatever you want it to be. The advice I give is just interesting ways I have found to spice things up and add new and creative ways to express yourself through writing. They are not standards or demands, merely suggestions for making the most of your journal. Through this series, my goal is to help you create a journal that truly captures your personality and feelings; something that when you look back upon will bring you right back to important memories in your life. With that said, let’s get started!
The first piece of advice I would give to bring your journal to the next level is share it with others, don’t just let it be your own words. Let those in your life speak through your journal. This is something I have done for all my journals and it is probably the best thing you can add. It is so memorable and touching to look back at later. The way I did this the first time was by having my friends and family give me one piece of advice. The things they said were astonishing and are words that I now hold dear. I did this same thing with everyone in my community for my most recent journal, and it is unbelievable the things that people have to say. People are so full of wisdom and it is a shame that we don’t take more time to listen to what they have to say. The different perspectives of everyone really opened my eyes to new ways of looking at the world, those around me, and myself. It is so powerful, and I truly cherish the words from the ones I love and hope to preserve them. If you can, get them to write it in the journal themselves so that you can capture their actual handwriting. This makes it even more special. Now when I write in my journal, I find uplifting words from friends, family, and community and I am reminded of them and my spirits are lifted. This has led to me feeling encouraged, loved, and confident and I can look at them at any time I need a pick-me-up. Don’t be afraid to get creative with what you ask others. Some things I haven’t asked yet, but that I think would be really interesting to have in my journal are; their favorite bible verse, a memory between us, their favorite word, a joke, etc. This is essentially what you might have someone do in a yearbook, but I promise you that you will be thankful for it in the future. Open your journal up to the voices around you and let your journal become something bigger than yourself, something much more meaningful.