If starting a daily journaling habit is one of the things you want to achieve this 2021, then you have come to the right place!

We know sometimes it can be hard to fit your journaling practice into your schedule. That endless to-do list can make it seem daunting or even make you feel guilty for wanting to take a few minutes out of your day to find inspiration or work on your mental health.
Whatever the case may be, incorporating a daily journal into your life shouldn’t mean putting pressure on yourself to write every day!

In this episode, Lauren talks about 5 common mistakes people make when they start journaling. She shares easy-to-follow journaling tips so you can set yourself up for success from the beginning and make writing in your journal more fun and creative.

Thank you so much for tuning in today! If you want to learn more about how you can create a writing ritual for yourself, check out this episode!

We want to know who you are and where you’ve been! Come hang out with Lauren in the Writers Squad Facebook group and over on Instagram @laurenmariefleming. We can’t wait to chat with you there!
You can also stay tuned for new weekly episodes @schoolforwriters, and if you want to spread the love even further, consider subscribing, rating, and reviewing!

Resources mentioned in this episode:
-Create the space you need to create a daily writing ritual. Join the Write More Challenge here and get all the resources, accountability, and support you need to write every day for a month.

Book recommendation of the week:
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

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Wondering why we don’t link to Amazon? Check out Episode 2 of the Business School for Writers Podcast to hear all about how supporting independent bookstores helps you see more stories like yours out in the world.


Welcome back to Season 2 of the School for Writers podcast! Woah, what a year 2021 has been and we’re only a couple weeks in. I know this podcast helped so many of you through the tumultuous wild ride that was 2020, and I hope it can help inspire, educate, and entertain you through 2021 as well, whatever this year may bring.

When I asked you what you wanted to hear about on Season 2 of the School for Writers podcast, I overwhelming heard two things: 1. Tips for writing a book, and 2. Tips for journaling more. So, this season, we’re going to focus on those two topics.

Many of you have written to me on the School for Writers Instagram, saying you want to start journaling more in 2021.

That is wonderful! I’m sure you’ve heard me wax poetically about my love for my journal before, but I’m going to say it again here: have a journaling ritual will transform your life.

Journaling is an amazing tool that can be your therapist through hard times, your best friend to celebrate the good ones, and your life coach when you’re stuck in the middle. But all too often I see people make some simple mistakes when they take up journaling.

Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those “you’re doing it all wrong!” posts. Quite the contrary. The key to journaling is finding out what works for you, so these common mistakes happen when people listen to others over what works for them.

Here are the five most common mistakes I see people make when they first start journaling:

1. Holding out for the perfect journal/notebook.

You are not Charlotte from Sex and the City looking for the perfect lifelong companion. Instead, think of yourself like Samantha, trying out whatever pleases you in the moment.

Your journal doesn’t even have to be a notebook. It can be voice memos on your phone, a legal pad kept by the side of your bed, Scrivener or a similar writing software, a sketchpad, post-its, a napkin, whatever you want to use. 

I use $2 college ruled spiral notebooks from the stationary aisle of my local grocery store, because they’re easy to write in and carry around with me. Plus, if I’m running low on space, I can just grab another one the next time I pick up groceries.

2. Putting pressure on yourself to write every day.

Okay, I know I said that I was going to help you write every single day, but if you start there, you’re going to set yourself up for failure. 

Yes, it would be wonderful if you had an hour every single day to sit down and write down all of your feelings, but eventually life is going to happen and you’re going to miss a day, or two, or fifteen.

If you put too much pressure on yourself to write every single day, you’ll get discouraged when you miss a day and potentially give up. Instead of trying to write every single day like some people suggest, try starting with an hour a week. Or a day a month. Or whenever the heck you feel like it becuase really there are no rules for journaling.

For me, I average about 5-6 days a week, but even if I journal just one single day, I celebrate that, because that’s one day more than I would have done had I given up.

3. Trying to be Virginia Woolf.

Virginia Woolf’s diaries are famously poetic and profound, but I bet there is a load of garbage in there too. That’s because journals are meant to be the dumping ground of ideas and feelings, not a collection of your most brilliant thoughts.

When you journal, especially at first, let go of the concept of good and focus instead on just getting whatever you’re thinking out of your head. Just dump it out. If you want some tips on how to do that, check out the Write More Challenge on our website.

4. Waiting until you’ve got more time/space in your life.

I’ve got some bad news: your schedule is never going to miraculously clear itself for writing. I too wish that little elves would stop baking cookies in trees and come cook me dinner so I could write, but in my decade of writing professionally, that hasn’t happened once (I keep hoping though!).

Instead, I have to proactively carve out time for writing to happen, and so do you. You have to find a sliver of time, push everything aside on your table, grab whatever pen and paper you can find, and write.

Again, if you want some help in this, check out our Write More Challenge. In just 10 minutes a day for 10 days, it will help you create the space in your life you need to create a writing ritual. Join the challenge at WriteMoreChallenge.com or find the link to it on our website and in your show notes.

5. Sticking to just writing.

Journaling isn’t just about writing. Journals can include anything that helps you get your thoughts out of your head, including doodling, collages, drawings, lists, stick figures, image boards, whatever you want.

For inspiration, I like to look at what artists are doing in their journals/notebooks, and Instagram is a great place for that. Three people to check out that inspire me are Lisa Congdon, Frances Cannon, Mari Andrew, and Gemma Correll.

So, be honest, how many of those mistakes have you made in the past? If your answer is “all of the above” don’t worry, I’m there too. If you’ve made these mistakes, awesome, that just means you’ve tried to journal, and that’s great.

Let go of the pressure to be perfect and let yourself simplify the process as much as possible. All you need is something to write with and something to write on. Then you need to sit your butt down — or heck, you can even do it standing — and write. Don’t worry about it being good. That comes later. With journaling, your only job is to let the words come out as you think them.

If you want more help, head to SchoolForWriters.com where we’ve got journaling tips and tools for you. And don’t forget about the Write More Challenge, a great way to jumpstart your writing routine.

Happy journaling! See you next episode.