The Beginners Guide to Journaling – How to start

I know in the past I have talked about journaling and I was doing it for a while, but it all started to just look like words on a page. It didn’t mean much to me. I would write and write, but wouldn’t enjoy the process. However, I am now starting from scratch in 2021 and I am starting with a beginners guide to journaling.


For me, I really wanted to enjoy the process and tap into my creative side. If you are anything like me… you like to think you are creative, but in reality, you are not. I have creative ideas, but I never know how to go about making them a reality.

I myself have a perfection problem. If the idea in my head doesn’t come out perfect I RIP IT OUT and either start over or I give up. Most of the time I just give up. Just like I did with journaling.


What are we not doing in 2021

We are not going to do that in 2021. We are going to create things and appreciate them at face value. If you are reading this post it’s most likely you are a beginner in the journaling world and feel overwhelmed. I hear ya… We are all surrounded by these beautiful layouts by these crazy creative people and we are jealous.

We need to get over ourselves and stop comparing our beginning to someone else’s middle.

They had to practice and make not so good layouts just like we are going to. The journal is going to be your yearbook of progression. Your drawings may look like stick figures and your color palette is all over the place, but who the fuck cares.

We need to make it clear in our heads that we are beginners. So let’s put on our creative caps on and not give a fudge if it doesn’t look good. Just have journaling fun.



Let’s start off with supplies. What do we need to start a journal? Everything I list I have bought off of Amazon. Not that you have to buy from amazon, but if you click these links I provide I get commissions for purchases through the links in this post. Amazon has been a godsend in 2020.

(side note- this is the first year I have shopped online for Christmas, my everyday needs, and journal/penpal supplies. Have I been living under a rock… everything is right at my fingertips. I never had to leave my house!)

The basic supplies: Notebook, pens, and markers. I took it a little bit further with the help of Amazon. Also, I made an amazon wishlist and sent it to my friends and family. So some of the supplies I got for Christmas.


Supplies you can buy

What I bought from Amazon –

Then I had an amazon gift card so I bought these for myself-

For Christmas I was gifted these –

Look at your local Walmart or Dollar store. I have been collecting stuff to use for months. I have found so much stuff on clearance or for a buck to build up my stash. As I said before nothing is off the table. Think outside the box.

Not all of this was bought because of journaling. I also penpal and bought the stickers to send to my penpals. I am doing what I can to go back to being the creative person I used to be growing up. Somewhere along the way, I lost it. These products are just a bonus to make journaling fun.


Supplies you can find at home

I have also been scouring my house for things to use. Advertisements in the mail, magazines, old tissue paper, wrapping paper. Anything and everything is on the table. Recycle, reuse, repurpose. Don’t limit your imagination.

I raided my stepdaughter’s room. I of course told her I did beforehand. Nothing personal that was for her, I just swiped her construction paper, glue, washi tape she wasn’t using. Whatever I could find and use to make journaling fun.

Sticker bombing my journal

This originally started out as a project for my stepdaughter. She is really into anime and drawing, but I couldn’t find a sketchbook for her that was anime. I had all these stickers that reminded me of her so I thought why not put the stickers on her sketchbook.

This lead me to search YouTube “how to sticker a notebook”. Because YouTube has everything. However, I found 1 maybe 2 videos on it, but they called it “sticker bombing”. Everyone was sticker bombing everything, but not so much journals.

I had so much working on her sketchbook. The stickers went crazy and I ended up sticker bombing a new cellphone case for her of one of her favorite anime shows “Hunter X Hunter”. I knew I had to do it for myself. I had so much fun.

You can watch the video I made of me sticker bombing my journal. Just uploaded a new video as well of my first few layouts. It was a recap of 2020 and a get to know me. Go check them out if you wanna journal along with me. I even made a podcast about it.

Record the journaling fun

I am by no means perfect, but I have a really good time creating those YouTube videos. Just turn on the camera and got creative.

Being able to watch myself take a blank piece of paper and make it into something memorable has been so freeing.

No expectations just taking an hour for myself to just do and not think has been the highlight of my days.

Tips for making journaling fun

Don’t Stress about journaling everyday

My days are pretty boring lately and very routine. There is no need to beat yourself up if you don’t journal every day. That is how you get burned out.

Create a relaxing routine around journaling

Since Mikayla isn’t here a lot due to school and covid. I have set up shop in her room at her desk. I go in and close the door with my drink in hand and a smelly good candle. Although, I have a desk I needed a space separate from it. At my desk I do my work, blogging, answering email, and other business-related things. I didn’t want to clash my 2 places.

If all you have is a desk then do what you gotta do. I did journal and work from this desk, but it took me a couple of months to realize I could use Mikayla’s room while she is not here.

Pick a theme ahead of time

I get so overwhelmed when I know I want to decorate my journal, but can’t decide how. Then an ungodly amount of time is spent on Pinterest and Instagram trying to find inspiration.

Look at the supplies you have… stickers, scrapbook paper, junk mail ads… are any of them the same color or would look good in a spread together?

I took all of my supplies and laid them out. I started grouping things together that I thought would be cute. Grab some zip-lock baggies put it all in there and BAM you grab a baggy and get to creating.

Create lists

If you don’t know what to write in a journal create lists. I plan on adding pages of shows I like, Movies, books I want to read.

If you have read my blog before you know I love me some lists. I am putting my to-do lists in there. No need to waste another piece of paper. Or if you do write it on another piece of paper glue, tape, or staple that sucker in your journal.

Practice your handwriting

I have good handwriting days and I have bad days. I know I need to practice. Plus I got those dual tips markers and I need to know how to do the fake calligraphy with them.

My hands and wrists don’t move the way they should to create those beautiful lettering so I MUST practice, practice, practice!

Writing prompts help

If you want to get more in touch with yourself sign up for my email list and you get access to my freebies that include 38 Journal prompts as well as others to help you out on your personal growth journey. You can visit the sign-up page by clicking here.

Do not be perfect

We need to get over this notion that if it doesn’t look pretty it is ugly and not perfect. You need to change your definition of ugly and not perfect because anything created with your own 2 hands is crazy beautiful and perfect.


Lose yourself in the process

I go in thinking I will be doing just one page and I will end up doing multiple pages. Getting lost in the process and just create things is one of the best feelings. Don’t worry about time or if it’s perfect. This is the part I find that makes journaling fun.

Print, cut and glue

If you are not as drawing savvy as others… there is no shame in printing things off of the internet, cutting them, and gluing them in your journal. I have done that and will continue to do that.


Final Thoughts

No matter what you decide to do when it comes to journaling make it your own. Your journal could be nothing but random squiggly lines and glued magazine letters. If that is what makes you happy then do it.

The point of a journal is to be an outlet of some source. I am making my journal my catch-all. Anything I see, think, or feel will go in here. Brain dumps, random drawings, random thoughts, things I want to keep track of, and things I just want to remember.


Have fun with it it’s just paper, take your time to enjoy the process, and don’t take yourself so seriously Picasso!

Until next time, Have a great day!


18 Replies to “The Beginners Guide to Journaling – How to start”

  1. It’s nice to have a notebook for a daily journal. However, in my case, I can’t keep up with the writing due to various reasons. Customizing a journal notebook is also a good idea. Great article to be shared with everyone, keep it up!

  2. pretty good tips,,,this pandemic should not stop us from learning new things and become productive even at home,,,learning is a continuous process..

  3. I’ve never had a journal before. I love this idea of creating a journal notebook.

    1. I have so much fun just creating and getting my thoughts out of my head.

  4. It’s funny how different the handwriting can be from day to day. I thought it was just me so it’s really interesting to read that yours vary, too. Also, I think we just don’t write enough with pens anymore.

    1. My handwriting varies from hour to hour. It’s crazy. Also, it depends on what I am using to write with. Certain pens tend to make my handwriting sloppy while others looks amazing.

  5. I totally agree with you on the style. At first, I didn’t want to start because it looks ugly and I want it to be colorful haha. However, now I’m enjoying the process. Thank you for sharing!

    1. The process is my favorite part. I get out of my head and just create.

  6. Journaling has helped me throughout my life. Thanks for sharing this and help others start that great habit.

    1. Creating these beautiful layouts have really made me want to journal more.

  7. I just start journaling and I really needed some help… Thanl you so much for sharing, will bookmark this 😊

    1. That is what I am here for! Let me know if you have any questions!

  8. What a great guide on how to journal. I journal a lot and I just need a pen and paper to jolt down my thoughts.

    1. I was doing it like that, but it got kind of boring just seeing my crappy handwriting across the whole page. I needed something pretty to look at. lol

  9. Great guide. Journaling helps control your symptoms and improve your mood by helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns. Tracking any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them.

    1. Absolutely. I am using my journal for everything.

  10. I always dont know how to start journaling & this sharing from you really helpful. yeah!! thanks so much for this. cheers, siennylovesdrawing

    1. You are very welcome Sienny!

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