Eight Suggestions for Finding Time to Journal Write

The biggest challenge for most people wanting to do journal writing, is finding the time to write on a regular basis.

After choosing your writing tool, pen and notebook, or a digital app, the only thing required of you is your time to write. Time is a scarcity when your plate is full with other responsibilities and tasks. But if you view journal writing as a tool for personal growth and staying energized, carving out time for writing should be high on your to-do list.

Here are few suggestions for how you might find time to journal write:

Schedule the Time: Like anything else, you’re more likely to complete a task when you make it a part of your daily routine. If you plan out your day, either in your head or in a planner, schedule time for writing. Mornings are a great time to get writing done, because it’s a time before you take on a larger, more demanding tasks. If you can only devote ten minutes a day or every other day, schedule that time and stick it for several weeks.

Set an Alarm: Add an alarm for your journal writing schedule, especially if you can’t do it on a daily basis. The Mac and iOS app, Day One allows for setting an alarm in the app, that will send you notification to journal write. If you use the Mac version of Day One, you can select to have the Quick Entry feature open in your menu bar at a schedule time. This works great if you work at your Mac throughout the day. If you don’t use Day One, schedule the time on your digital calendar or phone and add a reminder.

Day One alarm

Your High Energy Time: Choose the best time when you feel most productive. Are you more energized in the morning, or late in the evening?  Find time to write when you’re most motivated and least distracted.

Make It a Challenge: One of the reasons I created NaJoWriMo was to provide newbie journal writers a challenge of writing daily for an entire month. It takes several weeks of doing something on a daily or regular basis in order to make it a habit, and that’s why NaJoWriMo could work for you. NaJoWriMo also includes daily prompts that you can use to help get ideas for writing.

Edit A Task: If your plate is full of responsibilities, you may have to edit what you do. Is there a task that you can stop doing for a while and use the time for journal writing instead? For instance, in order to get my daily walks in, I found that I needed to cut short my sleeping time in the morning, and before it gets too hot. So now I get up around 6:30 or 7:00 and take my walk before I take a shower. The same could be done for journal writing. Could you skip watching a television program, use a part of your lunch break, or get up earlier to journal write?

Have a Purpose for Writing: Sometimes it’s difficult to journal write because you may be struggling to figure out what to write about. You might want to do more than write about your daily activities. So consider turning journal writing into a project. Choose a topic or goal that you will write about for an extended period of time. For instance, I wrote over 80 journal entries while writing and producing my first book. I wrote about the process, challenges, and progress I was making. Journal writing was a great motivator for working on my book. Here are some suggested projects for journal writing.

Free Write: If you find writing itself to be a challenge, which can keep you from journal writing on a regular basis, try free writing. Free writing is process of writing whatever comes to your mind. You’re not concerned about grammar, spelling, or even writing coherent thoughts. Your goal is to simply write 500 or more words a day. Free writing is a great way to build writing fluency and get your juices flowing. Free writing may feel like a waste of time, but I guarantee that free writing can help you get over your writing blocks if you commit to doing it daily for several weeks or even months. Just get a notebook or use a word processing application and commit to cranking out a specified number of words per day. Don’t read back over what you write. Just write. You may consider taking the 15000 words challenge during NaJoWriMo.

41ro+3kBT1LOne Sentence Per Day: If you’re really strapped for time to write, consider keeping a one-sentence per day journal. I know that doesn’t sound like journal writing, but committing to that one sentence per day will give you a sense of accomplishment, and you won’t feel bad that you don’t have time write more than that. Your daily sentence can be about what you plan to do or what you got done for each day. It can be a sentence of what you’re grateful for. It can be a daily brainstorming activity for writing ideas and work related ideas. It can be about you children or relationship, or a project you’re involved in. There’s a website called OneSentenceDiaryProject, or The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal: A Five-Year Record that you can purchase from Amazon. One sentence per day. Give it a try.

What’s Your Suggestion

I’m sure there are other suggestions for finding time to journal write. If you’re an experienced journal writer, let us know how you find time for writing. Did you have to build a habit over time? Are there stretches of time when you don’t write much? How do you get back in the habit? We would love to hear from you.

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Bakari Chavanu

is the creator of NaJoWriMo, and is the author of the interactive iBook, Starting From Day One: Using the Day One Journaling App to Record and Enrich Your Life