A Guide to Sporadic Journaling

third year hana rehman

photo by farah hammady

photo by farah hammady

Sometimes thoughts need spilling out. Sometimes they plague us, swarming our heads with what I should have said’s and what I could have said’s as we walk away from conversations. Sometimes ideas pop into existence and threaten to eradicate themselves if we don’t immediately preserve them. Sometimes thoughts keep us up at night and just linger, fading in and out of the mind’s eye, begging for attention. My thoughts often itch to be written down. Just not every day.

I was never one for making consistent journal entries; I feared the tedium of scheduling journaling into my day would quickly douse any enjoyment I could get out of it. I lasted only about a week attempting to adhere to bullet journaling, and I could never bring myself to consistently chronicle every little detail of every day. It felt counterintuitive to put rules and regulations on something meant to be an escape from my highly structured, academic world.

Structure and consistency in journaling work for lots of people. It depends on what you want from it. For me, however, I find that lifting any sort of pressure or expectation from journaling makes me far more inclined to do it.

As college students, so much of our existence revolves around schedule and structure. The internet and books provide us with a profusion of tips on how to introduce and organize more and more into our lives. Yet when surrounded by all this structure, the sporadic can be a welcome and refreshing change.

So to those who wish to write down their thoughts as irregularly and meaningfully as they come to you, I hope you give sporadic journaling a try. In the form of an ironically structured list, here are some tips to escape structure in your journaling journey:

1. Bring a place to write wherever you go. It can be a traditional journal, but it can just as well be the notes on your phone or the margins of your homework. Just have it with you, in your backpack or purse, ready to record something whenever the urge to preserve hits you.

2. Only journal when you feel like it. Unless you want to, don’t feel the need to schedule it in. Your Google calendar is already full, and you know it.

3. Keep in mind that no one has to read what you write except for you. Write purely for yourself, with no pressure of an audience. Be as emotional, thoughtful, and cliché as you want. Just spill out onto the page, or screen, or whatever it may be.

4. Disregard anything I’ve said, and do whatever feels right to you. There is no rulebook to journaling. Write what and when it feels right. Most of all, be true to your own head, however inconsistent and wonderfully unpredictable it may be.