Want to Journal? Hate to Write?

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Journaling is a powerful self-help tool that is gaining popularity in business. Coaches and therapists are also using journaling to help clients, so you may want to consider it for yourself and your business. It is also incredibly easy to journal on your own in just a plain notebook.

However, all journaling has one thing in common and that is writing. So how can you enjoy all the benefits of journaling if you hate writing?

Draw Pictures

If you learn anything about me, know this I can’t really draw – what I see in my head never looks like that on paper. But if you are artistically inclined, you can draw from simple pictures to elaborate scenes. Any kind of picture that expresses your emotions and situation will help.

After you’ve drawn the picture you can label and annotate it. If you leave a blank page opposite your drawing then you can come back and review it at a later date and jot down any additional thoughts, emotions and responses. Quite often this simple method will actually get you writing quickly.

And I love color, and if you do too, you may want to consider colored pens or pencils. Like I shared in my previous post where I updated my progress with my bullet journal, I purchased a journal with a stencil set – you may benefit from using stencils with or without those colored pencils. All of these shapes and colors will hopefully make your journal feel more personal to you and that will make you more likely to use it.


If you are journaling about a problem, then you might consider using a diagram such as a mind map or decision tree. Diagrams are powerful because they are visual and help you to see patterns and connections more easily. If you think about a flow chart that is using shapes to have different meanings, the concept is the same here – but you don’t have to limit yourself to just the traditional shapes of a flow chart.

If you are trying to make a decision, then you can illustrate the different outcomes and results to help you formulate the best decision. Adding in color not only makes them more attractive but can help to highlight connections.

Use Prompts

I know that when I started journaling, I started with a gratitude journal, and so I was trying to right down what I was thankful for each day – but some days were harder than others to get started. Then I learned about journal prompts, I had never heard that term before, but the concept is so simple.

You use a simple prompt, such as a word or question, to help break the blank page syndrome and inspire you to unburden yourself onto the empty page in front of you. The prompts can be about any number of topics, so you don’t have to have just a gratitude journal, like I mentioned before. For business a great prompt for the first of the month is to write down your goals for the month. How much income do you want to earn? How many new followers do you want to attract on social media?

Then you can also build on these ideas for other days topics. It’s important that you don’t feel that you have to write a lot or even in full sentences. The journal and act of journaling has to relate to your needs at that moment in time and this will vary day to day. You can also use charts and graphs, instead of just writing.

You could consider purchasing a journal ready made for the specific use you need. There are lots of weight loss, gratitude, happiness and other journals available. Many of these will include prompts and recording methods that don’t require lots of writing.

Create a Collage

I like this project, because I feel like it has good green living implications. Get some magazines or newspapers and cut out words, phrases, paragraphs or even articles that relate to your situation or emotions at that particular point.

Add in pictures that you find that could demonstrate how you are feeling or want to feel. To make it more personal you can annotate the articles and pictures. Consider also leaving a blank page so that you can revisit and review at a later time and add in additional journaling.

Speak It

While writing using a pen and paper is probably the most powerful method of journaling you can also use dictation software such as Dragon. You’ll need the software and a computer with a microphone to use this method. It may be easier to start your journaling journey by speaking to the computer and imagining you are talking to a friend or just yourself. The software will ‘write’ what you say and you can save the document so that you can review it later.

You may decide to keep your journal electronically in which case you can review it and add in later thoughts and feelings by typing or dictating through the speech recognition software. Or you may decide to print it out and keep it in a binder. If you do print it out, then you have the opportunity to embellish it or make additional notes on the hard copy.

Be Flexible

Journaling does not have to be undertaken every day for a set period of time if that does not suit you. Many people journal every day for 20 minutes as that is the method that suits them best. However, it may be that once a week is enough.

Alternatively, you may decide that you will journal when you feel you need it. Some days it may be that you choose to use a prompt or picture to kick-start your writing. Other days you may find that the words flow and you can write without stopping.

The important points to remember are that the journal is a personal document designed to help you and that it is designed to be used and revised. It’s a living document and there is no right or wrong way to create or use it.

This is one of the reasons I love the bullet journaling system. I feel like I can use it as a planner and tracker, but it can also be a place for me to journal out my thoughts and feelings when I need to. You will also notice that most of these alternatives to writing work great in a bullet journal.

If you want to learn how to use bullet journaling for business, please check out my course on the topic here.


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  1. I have several small notebooks/journals that I write in. Some are for technical/business related, others are for personal development, and some for just writing down my thoughts.

  2. Great ideas for journaling, especially enjoyed the idea that journaling doesn’t have to be done on a daily basis. I used to think I failed at journaling when I didn’t do it daily. Have since given myself permission to journal in a way that works for me. Sometimes that’s daily, sometimes it’s more sporadic, whatever works.

  3. I agree, I don’t always journal daily, but when I do I find it so helpful. I’m glad you have found a way to make journaling work for you too.

  4. Having all those different journals is one of the reasons Ryder Carroll developed the bullet journal system, to get everything in one place, you may find it beneficial too.

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