1. Gather your materials. 

To journal well, you will need:

  1. A journal
  2. A pen (not a pencil)
  3. An interesting life.*

*It should be noted that the phrase “interesting” really means nothing; all you need to have an interesting life is an interest in your life. 

2. Think about all of your failed attempts at writing. 

Let your mind linger on the nine quarter-filled journals that you have already tried to keep. Think about that one planner you got in January that you put all of three entries in. One of them was your New Year’s resolutions entry which probably involved the goal “write more!” Even if you just journaled for five minutes at the start of every day or every night, imagine how much writing you’d get done! You stuck to this for the first two entries and then tapered off. Maybe you had a rebound attempt in February and that’s about it.

3. Realize that failing to write is a more universally human experience than writing well. 

After you feel properly ashamed for your lack of commitment to your pen and paper, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Everyone is a culprit of failing to recount their experiences and victories and mishaps as articulately as they’d like. Or recounting them at all, for that matter.

We all suck at commitment.

4. Commit.

The only way to not suck at commitment is to commit. Get a pen — even though you’ve used a pencil all of your life — so you can commit to not erasing your words. Scribbling them out is further and further proof of your trust in yourself; the messier it becomes, the more you let out. So keep scribbling with your pen; trust that what you have to say will lead to the next interesting thought. Aha! That you have interesting thoughts! And they cannot be erased, literally. You are on a roll! Nothing can stop you!

5. Fail to commit again.

Meh, it happens.

Sometimes, life gets too boring to write about or moves too quickly for you to trap it into words.

6. Go back because now it’s “something.”

Maybe you started to keep all of your notes in one journal (highly recommended). Maybe you started carrying it with you everywhere you go (highly, highly recommended). Or maybe you’re just particularly good at commitment. Whatever it is, writing has become “something.” Something that keeps your life together and present. If commitment is one of the hardest things for humans to do, being truly present in a situation is probably the next hardest. But writing is part of being present, isn’t it? Writing down your thoughts and trusting that you can rely on your words to accurately depict how you feel is part of experiencing; it’s how you process and remember. And even if your words aren’t perfect or spellbinding, they are yours. They signify your small yet deserved place in this world.

It is a form of self respect to write with a pen. It means that you think your words are above apologizing for.

This is how you curate yourself.

This is how you create yourself. 

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