Want to know how to start a visual journal? While it’s easy to get overwhelmed when looking at Instagram or Pinterest, the process is actually crazy simple.
And while you will likely try things and morph the process over time, if you are new to visual journaling, here are some basic rules for beginners:
5 Simple Steps on How to Start a Visual Journal
1. Use a notebook you can keep with you all the time.
For some people that is 8.5 x 11, for others it is the size of a passport or something in between.
Try a few different things in cheap versions until you find what works for you. The magic of visual journaling is in what you capture. Having an easy-to-carry notebook helps you capture more.
2. In the beginning, capture whatever interests you
Write down memories from the day, tasks to be completed tomorrow, mindmap a project, scribble that fragment of an idea you had, track a habit you want to add into your life… It doesn’t matter if it feels disjointed. Our thoughts are disjointed. Put them on paper so you can engage your eyes in processing them.
3. Write most of your words in black ink.
We’ve been trained to see text in black ink by years of reading books and blog posts. Our brain recognizes black text as information to process. Also, the contrast between black ink on white paper helps our eyes. So, make it a practice to write most of your words in black ink and save color for headings, borders, drawings and callout boxes.
4. Do add color to your pages.
Color engages our emotions. So add color to your pages, even if you do it later when you are reviewing them.
5. Give yourself permission to create bad drawings.
This journal is just for you. Stop judging your skill. You just started.
(Besides, this isn’t about art, it’s about thinking on paper.)
Scribble lame stick figures, draw a flower, doodle something random, throw in some arrows, clouds, borders and things. Making your visual journal visual helps your eyes process the information and makes what you are writing more sticky in your memory. Play with it. This is an exercise in imperfection.
And that’s it! Do this for a few weeks and you’ll start to notice a few things:
- You become clearer on what you want (and what you don’t want).
- You get a better sense of where you are spending your resources of time and energy.
- You plan steps to get to where you most want to go.
- You start to feel more organized and in control of your life because you can “see” it.