How to Get Started with Journalling and Prompts for Romanticising Life

Dear Diary,

It’s been so long since I opened up this notebook that I don’t know what to say.

How many times have you opened up your newest, beautiful, carefully selected notebook, primed to start your journalling journey, only to end up at a complete loss of what to say? Well, I’ll let you in on a secret, because that was often me before I developed a real rhythm for my own journal-writing style and made a habit out of it.

Even though I switched to a ring agenda to stay organised in 2023, I never stopped long-form journalling. I simply kept a separate notebook for this (which I still have feelings about!). Here, I wrote at length whenever I felt I needed to: short snippets, book quotes and how they made me feel, conversation snippets from my days, and even longer, personal essays.

Perhaps that’s why the blog has seemed bereft of personal essays lately – they’re all saved just for me.

These days, it’s part-and-parcel of my weekly routine – rarely daily – and it certainly helps to keep my mind feeling calmer and less chaotic. I’m often asked how I started out, what I write about and even whether I use prompts, so I wanted to introduce a new, short series on Daisybutter, devoted to helping you improve or start a journalling practice.

Why do you want to start a journal?

The best place to start is to consider your ‘why?’ and, really, ensure that you’re not doing it just because everybody else seems to be. There can be all sorts of benefits to keeping a journal:

  • Self-preservation
  • Keeping hold of precious memories
  • Tracking habits
  • Logging everyday tasks and making to-do lists
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Writing practice
  • Improving your handwriting…

But, best of all, it almost always helps to untangle your complex thoughts and emotions.

Start a journal because you simply want to. Start one because you want to try all of the things I mentioned. Above all, start a journal just for you.

How would you like to keep a journal?

So, now that we’ve established a purpose to your journal, it’s time to consider how to keep one. There are many options, even if I tend to gravitate towards a catch-all notebook – my bullet journal.

For some, a physical notebook solely for journal entries is what works. For others, it’s all about using an app. I often write entries digitally, in Notion, and then spend an hour in the evening transferring it to my journal, while watching a comfort TV show. I find that a physical notebook feels special and I like being able to reread my entries like a book, but I also like the impermanence of writing digitally. Sometimes, I’ll write about my feelings and then delete the lot of it. Whatever works for you.

The key, however, is to find a style that does work for you. There’s no right or wrong way. Choose a method that you eventually find you can stick to; regularity is paramount when it comes to the benefits of journalling.

10 journalling prompts for romanticising life

To kick-start this mini series, I’d love to share some new journalling prompts for romanticising life. I’ve always written Daisybutter in a subtle diary-like way: the posts relate to or resonate with what’s going on in my personal life. And, lately, I’ve noticed that my entries all gravitate towards the romanticised, already-romantic parts of my life. I really love life at the moment, and you should too:

  1. What are three things that I love about myself?
  2. What are three things that I love about my life right now?
  3. What is something that I look forward to every day?
  4. How does my ideal morning feel?
  5. What parts of my life could be improved? Note down three bullet points for how.
  6. Choose one moment from your day that you particularly loved. Write about it in fine detail.
  7. Script the ‘dream’, end-goal romanticised version of your day. How do your Mondays look? Your Tuesdays? Your Fridays?
  8. What would romanticising your life more bring to your days?
  9. What is a habit that you’d love to add to your life? What’s stopping you?
  10. Make a list of the qualities that help you to romanticise your life.

Tell me more about your journalling practice.

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