How do you start a journal entry? When I was younger, I thought a journal entry had to start with the traditional Dear Diary. Now, my journal entries start in all sorts of ways.
Date and Location
I usually head up every entry with the date and sometimes the location (especially if I’m traveling). You will also need to decide if you want to start each new entry at the top of the page or just at the end of your last entry. In my “writing” journal, I just start a new entry right where I started separating the entries by the date (and sometimes the location). Sometimes, I make a horizontal line if I’m making multiple different entries in the day. My planning journal usually has some kind of a title at the top of the page and I have the pages numbered at the bottom so I can locate different sections in the index. Usually, I include a date so I can keep track of when things were entered. Again, there are NO set rules. Your journal is very individual so make it work for you.
Sometimes, I do like to use the traditional “dear diary” letter format. I tend to write lots of “undeliverable letters” in my journal. I will write to either people who are no longer available or inaccessible. I occasionally write to my grandparents or my mom because although they have passed away, I would love to be able to talk to them again. (Sometimes, I even write back to myself what I think they would have answered.) I write many letters to God. I have even written a letter to the woman that made me mad at the grocery store. I write letters to my son for him to read in the future.
A Little Background Please
I try to remember that I haven’t included all the details of my life in my journal, so I often start an entry with needed background information. Sometimes, I sit down to write and see something that happened a few days ago in a different light. I always try to remember that maybe someday my son, or my grandchildren will be looking through these journals and they won’t know what has been happening in my life or what I was thinking. (LOL! Maybe I need to edit my journals a bit before I die!) I also try to comment on larger current events on occasion so future generations can know my thoughts. I often wonder what people in the general public thought about Hitler when he first came on the scene. I wonder what kind of stir Joan of Arc caused in her community. What were the feelings of the people who were helped by Mother Teresa? In a sense I feel as if I’m helping record my little part of history.
Remember the #1 rule in journal writing is to just do it! This is your individual expression so it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about how you are writing in your journal. Start your journal entries in a way that makes you happy…but most importantly, just start that entry!