I love writing. And I don’t just mean blogging, I mean the physical act of writing. Putting pen to paper. Writing to-do lists. Planning. Organising. Goal setting. Reflecting at the end of the day. It’s why, over the last couple of years, my blog has gone from a lifestyle blog to, more specifically, one indulging my passion for stationery.
But A Cornish Geek isn’t just about stroking notebooks and swooning over the flow of a particularly good pen. It’s about finding the right supplies and techniques for you.
I started my first bullet journal three years ago, largely because I’m a stationery addict and it was ‘trendy’ (that’s such a wanky term!). I didn’t have a plan or purpose, I just had a crack at it and got swept away by the beauty of the spreads I saw online? and was disheartened when they proved near impossible to recreate with my (non-existent) artistic skills.
Then I started my second ‘bujo’ a year later. I knew what I wanted to get out of it but, again, creating Instagram-worthy content was more important to me than something that was actually functional, and it didn’t take long before I lost motivation.
Towards the end of last year, Megan C. Hayes guested on Hashtag Authentic and I was inspired to get back into traditional journaling. She focused on the art of positive journaling, rather than the ranty teenage diaries I’m sure we all have hidden in a dark cupboard somewhere.
I didn’t want to go back to my failed ways of bullet journaling. I wanted something more bespoke: a blog schedule, space for daily reflection, a goals tracker, and a bit of a brain dump.
I’ve written in my journal every day for the last six months and I feel so much better for it, so I thought I’d share some of the benefits and encourage you to have a go yourself!
7 benefits of journaling
1.It can help you to organise your thoughts.
We all love a list, don’t we.
Whether it’s a pros and cons list, a to-do list, or a shopping list, it’s good to get everything down on paper. Plus, studies show that the simple act of writing something down means you’re more likely to remember it.
2. It’s therapeutic.
Too many thoughts running through your mind when you’re trying to fall asleep? Have a little mental declutter session by externalizing your thoughts.
Did you know that practicing daily gratitude can improve your sleep habits, your self-esteem, and improve both your physical and mental health? By all means rant, but remember to end on something positive which you can focus on as you drift off.
3. It can help keep you on track
While a traditional bullet journal is made up of a future log (brief monthly overviews for the year), monthly spreads (traditional diary) and daily logs (to-do lists, schedules, etc), what you include is entirely up to you.
I set myself goals at the start of the year and reflect on my progress at the end of each month.
I also thought a bit more long-term, using Ryder Carroll’s (founder of The Bullet Journal Method) 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method. Here, you take a page each for your personal and professional goals, and note what you’d like to achieve in one hour, two days, three weeks, four months and five years.
4. It builds self-awareness
I’ve learned so much about myself with simple trackers.
The year in pixels technique can help you see everything at a glance, which is so helpful.
I have trackers for my mood and sleep (you can track anything from water intake, to steps and menstrual cycle) and they’ve proved so useful. Just list your months horizontally and your dates vertically, pick a few colours and categories, and you’re on your way.
5. It can help set you up for the day
Don’t like to reflect at the end of the day? Some find it helps to have a free writing session first thing, otherwise known as ‘morning pages’. The only requirement is that you write a stream of consciousness across three pages about whatever comes to mind.
Then you’re ready to start your day without everything weighing on your mind.
6. It makes for a great keepsake
Whether you want to use your journal as a diary, planner, scrapbook, or art journal, it’s so lovely to look back at how far you’ve come and recall precious memories.
7. It’s an excuse to buy new stationery (not that we need it)
Technically all you really need is a notebook and a pen.
But we all know you can’t just use any notebook and pen. It has to be the notebook and pen.
Thinking about starting your own (bullet) journal? I’ve reviewed and rated 12 different notebooks to help you find the right one for you. Check it out here.
The way I bujo has evolved to focus on minimalism and productivity, with more of an emphasis on goals and reflection. It’s not about how it looks, but how it makes you feel and how effective it is for you.
Do you already journal? What areas do you choose to focus on? Not kept a diary since your teens? Why not have a go?!
Emma blogs about books, stationery and self-care at www.acornishgeek.com. She has worked with the likes of Paperchase, Ryman and Leuchtturm, is a champion of particularly nerdy campaigns such as National Stationery Week and World Calligraphy Day, and was listed in Stationery Matters? Thirty Under 30 two years in a row