I personally have some trouble trusting apps with such personal information about myself. It's one thing to put in your email and phone number, or even credit card, but it's entirely different to put in all of your most private thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
You never know what the apps company does with this information. I can understand the positives and benefits of journaling with an app, especially if they can sort of analyze the journal entries and show you information such as things that trigger you or things that cause you stress, or other insightful things, but even with this, I still could not feel comfortable with it.
Journaling for me is probably the most private thing I can do, it's the most private time of my life that I do not share with anyone, nor do I want to. So having all of the things I write, on my phone, in an app, on the internet, is just not something I would even consider. Even if it's not on the internet, the fact that it is on a phone, or digital device that is hackable, is just not something I would be comfortable with.
- Don't judge yourself, your journal is for you, not for others.
- Don't try to make it perfect, allow yourself to make mistakes in spelling and grammar.
- Don't copy other people's writing styles. Write in your own way, however it comes out.
- Don't force yourself to write, not every day and not a certain amount of words/pages.
- Don't let journaling take over your life or become an obsession.
- Find a spot you feel comfortable in, and that you won't be interrupted.
- Use a pen and notebook that you enjoy using.
- Don't just write down things that happened, reflect on them, analyze them, try to understand them.
- Make journaling a habit by doing it at a scheduled day and time, but don't be too strict.
- Journal with an open mind, allow your thoughts to flow, and explore even the silliest ideas.
I have noticed that when ever I try and force myself to journal, not only do I not actually benefit from it and end up writing nonsense, I also lose motivation for journaling and end up not doing it for a long time until I feel motivated again.
I have also undoubtedly tried to write whole pages at a time, which I now understand is a problem and should be avoided.
So for me, when ever I try and force it, it stops working.
Some reasons why you may feel that journaling isn't working for you are: you are expecting the wrong things from the practice, you are not asking yourself the right questions, you are forcing yourself to write more than you actually need to, you are not personalizing it.
There are of course more reasons why journaling may not be working well for you, be those are some very common reasons.
If you expect things that are not realistic, such as journaling being a cure for what ever you are dealing with, then you may end up very disappointed when the practice does not provide those results. Understand that journaling is not a magic trick, it will not suddenly change your life. It is a practice that takes time to get better at, to build up the patience and acceptance of the practice. It takes time to build up the benefits it can provide. Give it the time it needs.
Asking the right questions:
Are you asking yourself the right questions? Searching online, you can find hundreds of journal prompts to give you examples and inspiration for questions to ask yourself while journaling. Don't stick to the same ones if they aren't working. Try out different prompts, explore them and see which work best for you. There are no rules when it comes to which questions to ask yourself, just as long as you feel they are benefiting you and not making things worse. Try asking questions based on the reason you are journaling in the first place, ask yourself how you are feeling, why you are feeling that way, and continue from there.
Forcing yourself to journal:
If you don't want to journal, don't. If you don't have anything to write, don't. If you only have enough for half a page, or a few sentences, then write just half a page or a few sentences. The point is to not force yourself to write when you don't have anything to write. The point of journaling is not to write as much as you can, but, to write what you need.
Journaling is a very personal practice. You decide how to do it and what's best for you. Find your own way to do it. Find a spot that makes you more comfortable, that makes your thoughts flow better. Use a notebook and a pen that you like that you will want to write in. Ask the questions that get your mind flowing. Write in your own style, without fear of judgment from others. Your journaling practice is your own, and no one else's. Make it your own, however you like to do it.
I always like to start by asking myself, "Why am I journaling?". If I chose to start journaling and to start writing, there must be a reason for it. If I can understand that reason, even if i just partially understand it, I can use that as a guide to asking myself further questions.
There are many questions you can ask yourself, some people like to stick to the same questions, some like to ask different questions each time, and some like to mix it up. There aren't really rules or "right" ways of journaling, it just depends on why you are journaling and what you hope to get out of it.
Based on the reason you are journaling, you may want to try different journaling types, such as mindfulness journaling, gratitude journaling, or reflection journaling. There are many different types, and each may have different prompts that can help get you started and get your thoughts flowing.
If you are doing morning journaling, or are considering starting to do it, here is an article about how to start a morning journaling habit, which includes 100 prompts.