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The Rules to Journal Writing

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A huge misnomer in journal writing are the rules.  Allow me to set your mind at ease and inform you that there are none.  There is no right or wrong way to write and maintain a personal journal.  It’s yours and therefore only your rules apply.  Not very good at grammar?  Simply ignore the punctuation or at least its accuracy.  Spelling have you tripped up?  Cross the word out and continue writing pen to paper.  And if you’re using a digital journal please don’t stop for spell-checking.  There’s nothing worse than being in the flow and allowing that dreaded red squiggly line to distract you.  Keep writing and return to it when you’re done.  Over the years I’ve scribbled out misspelled words or a repetitive thought and left it on the page.  No whiteout for correction since I’d be the only eyes to see it.  This is not an artistic form of journaling.  Writing with the intention of posting it on Instagram is strongly discouraged.  It’s a safe place for your perfectionistic tendencies.

There also aren’t a required number of pages to complete during a writing session.  If you want to use the time to complete your “morning pages” as outlined in the artist’s way it’s fine, but not required.  If I’d sat down with the requirement of filling three pages before considering it done I probably wouldn’t have continued for as long as I have.  One half of a page is fine if that’s all you have to write for the moment.  Remember the purpose for writing in your journal is to free your mind of any thoughts you’re grappling with.  Not to fulfill a daily word quota.

It’s also not a requirement to write something, anything down every single day.  My early journals were sporadic with two or three days in between each entry.  Don’t add undue pressure by requiring yourself to sit down and write merely for the sake of writing.  Sporadic may work best for you to keep your journal nearby.  If you’re at lunch and need to write down a thought or idea feel free.  Remember there are no rules here.

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