Journaling in 2020

Hello! It feels so nice to be writing again.

So, I guess, this will be the first of its kind on my blog, but I wanted to start writing about my journaling habits and my journaling journey because honestly, it’s a habit that has religiously stuck by me ever since I was a child.

There’s something nostalgic about the texture of paper, the scribble of a pen, the sound of turning a new page, the peeling of a sticker from its sheet… These are experiences unique to the tactile nature of analog journaling; something, I feel, can never be replicated by a screen and software.

It’s 2020 this year, and in terms of journaling, I have found it to be such a source of comfort especially during this pandemic. It’s a form of self-therapy for me, and it has always been. I will format these journaling posts partly in Q&A formats, since I think that’s the best way to approach the subject. I’ll also be showing you some snippets of my journals, but due to privacy reasons, some lines have been wiped out (hope you don’t mind!). I still like to maintain my privacy on some matters. 🙂

Let’s begin!

How long have you been journaling?

I think I should first mention my love for reading. My Mom would read me bedtime stories every night as a kid, and that’s when my love for words developed. They could easily transport you away from reality. I also used to write children’s books as a kid! I’d always ask my Dad to bring home some scrap paper from his office, and I would use that paper to make books. My Mom has them tucked away somewhere in our basement.

I was gifted my first diary (complete with that generic lock and key!) when I was in primary school. I still remember what it looked like. It was red, had a bear with a striped blue shirt on, and it had some text on it. It was a present from my Mom and Dad, and I wish I still had it with me.

/EDIT: My Mom read my blog post and sent me photos of my first diary! Apparently she kept it with her. 🙂

Journaling has always been a huge part of my life since then, and I always had a go-to notebook as an outlet to pour my thoughts into. It felt great knowing a had a little notebook with me that contained all my secrets. However, I would always be scared knowing someone might read my journals, so I would discard them at some point by tearing them apart or burning them especially during my teenage “emo” years (I regret doing that now!).  

As a 90’s kid, I’ve learned to appreciate the eras spanning analog and digital, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything else. As everyone is leaning towards the digital age, I still prefer to keep things analog when it comes to journaling (with blogging being the only exception). My love for reading has also inspired me to write more, even if it’s just for myself.

How many journals do you have?

This 2020, I have been consistently using five journals! I didn’t start these five all at one go. It was more of like a slow build-up, adding to the roster depending on my needs.

2020 was an important year for finding my journaling “groove”. I still have a go-to journal, which is my trusty gray Moleskine lined hardcover (I am very OC when it comes to my handwriting!), and with the growing number of journaling systems out there, I experimented with a handful of formats for myself, and finally settled on a few.

I have a strong feeling these will also be the same ones that I will use for 2021! I will talk about them in greater detail in a separate post. 🙂

I guess there’s a part of me that will forever be an old soul. I want to document as much as I can on paper, while the whole world is transitioning into digital files. Part of me wants to strongly preserve the methods that I grew up with, and journaling helps me achieve that.

Do you journal everyday?

I try to! Like I said, journaling has become a form of self-therapy for me, and it’s a habit I’ve developed throughout the years. Although, I must say, I’ve been journaling everyday consistently only since August 2020, thanks to the Hobonichi. I’ve developed a rhythm for journaling because of it.

I had a Hobonichi in 2018, but I did not appreciate it the way I do now. I usually journal either when I wake up or before I go to bed, and I realized I have so much to say (or rather, write down) nowadays. Perhaps I have so many thoughts and dreams and curiosities during this season. I also like using stickers because they make me feel like a child again. I was so fond of stickers and sticker albums growing up, and this brings back a wonderful sense of nostalgia!

In my main Moleskine journal, however, I write only whenever I feel like it. Sometimes, there are also days when I don’t feel like journaling, and it’s really something you can’t force out of you if it’s not there. And that is okay!

Journaling is an art that’s meant to be enjoyed. Whatever your reason for journaling may be, there will always some satisfaction in having an outlet to pour your feelings and thoughts into.

What do you write in your journal?

A hodgepodge of stuff!

I love making lists, so I write a lot of those. I also write down quotes, lines from a book, or song lyrics that inspire me or get me thinking. I also sometimes write about my meditations or Morning Pages. I write about my hopes and dreams, and on bad days, I usually write about why I am angry or frustrated, and I often find myself calmer or closer to a solution whenever I write my thoughts on paper.

I find that journaling is also helpful in keeping me in the present, and it allows me to appreciate life more. There’s something about the art of memory-keeping that helps me preserve a moment better and give it more gratitude than I usually do.

Especially when I travel, I would really find pockets of time during my day to find a café and simply write there. The environment and mood really help in clearing my mind. You can leave me in a coffee shop with nothing but a cup of coffee, my journal, and a pen, and I can spend a couple of hours or more just writing about whatever crosses my mind!

What type of paper do you prefer?

Lined paper is my favorite, but I really love grid and dotted papers as well. I cannot appreciate blank pages because my handwriting usually leans to either the left or right, and I get really frustrated about that!

I guess it boils down to the purpose of the journal or notebook. For my go-to Moleskine, I’ll always grab the lined ones because I mostly write words on it. Hobonichi has made me appreciate the beauty of grid papers, as well as my Jibun Techo (my planner), especially because I love putting stickers and photos on them.

And that concludes my first post about my journaling journey! I hope you had fun reading it and picked up a few helpful things along the way. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below, and I’ll answer them the best I can! I’m looking forward to writing more journaling-related posts soon. Take care!

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