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Journaling 101: Find Your Journaling Fuel!


It is seemingly impossible to keep a consistent journal and not feel the fruits of self-betterment in your life. Goals are accomplished, problems are solved, history is recorded and talents are honed as we transform our fluid thoughts into written word.

Why then do we so often struggle to do it? Similar to other self-improvement activities such as jogging and meditation, just doing it is much more than half the battle. And, just like these other endeavors, the motivation required for one can vary wildly from another. Someone may journal every day because they want to record their stories for posterity while someone else might write an entry now and again just to vent. For this reason it is important that we each find the unique driving forces that will actually encourage us enough to sit down and write something down.

Motivation to journal can be divided into eight categories: self improvement, creativity, family, writing, problem solving, spirituality, daily life and logging. This list of 101 Reasons to Journal breaks each of these down into manageable pieces to better help us understand what fuel will stoke our journaling fire and adds commentary for further explanation.

Here are just a few of the 101 reasons why you should journal:

  • Learn to trust yourself Remember that time you said you were going to lose weight? When you didn’t, you trusted yourself less. When you do what you say you will, track it and you will believe in yourself more every day.
  • Discover different ways to express yourself Do you like poetry or Haikus? How about writing in Shakespearian? How about writing without the letter ‘e’?
  • Preserve history If generations before us had not kept journals, we would have a pretty limited view on the majority of history as we know it. Write what the price of gas is today, just so that you know you can give a good laugh to a grandkid down the road.
  • Destroy writers block Obliterate, mangle and pummel it. Only brick crumbs will be left after you do a free write or two.
  • Vent! Because your husband, your dog and your steering wheel only pretend like they care.
  • Record inspirations Feel inspired to do something or act a certain way? Don’t let it slip from your mind.
  • Learn how to notice the little things The first conversation you had with your new co-worker or a gift you were given for no apparent reason- if you don’t write these things down, you won’t remember them past next week.
  • How To… Open Up More

    Unlike blogs, creative writing or other forms of written word, your personal journal should usually stay personal. These tips can help you keep it away from prying eyes, thus allowing you to open up and share how you really feel:

  • If possible, password protect it. For example, Penzu not only allows strong password protection, but encryption as well.
  • Remind yourself that you can always delete, burn or otherwise destroy anything you write if you later find it too embarrassing, painful or revealing.
  • Practice writing completely unfiltered with absolutely no rules. A few entries in this manner will show you how liberating opening up can really be.
  • Get More Out of Penzu Prompts


    One of the worst feelings is when you finally find the motivation to journal and you start a new entry only to find you have nothing to say or don’t know where to start. The easiest way to overcome this problem is ‘prompts’ which are simple questions to answer or statements to get the juices flowing.

    If you are a Penzu Pro user, seeing a variety of prompts is as easy as clicking on the light bulb icon on the top right of every entry.

    Learn More About Penzu Prompts →

    Sam Lytle

    Sam Lytle is the founder of and writer of Modern Journaling: The Complete Digital Journaling Guide. You can follow him on Twitter @easyjournaling.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm, by Alexander Comments (1)

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