List journal – 5 reasons why

I wrote about list journals the other day in the context of lists. But then it struck me, it being Mental Health Awareness Week and all, that they’re the perfect way to get into journalling if you’ve never really done it before. Or if you’re in search of a new journalling practice. Either way, here are five reasons why list journals may be the perfect way to get (re) started. 

ONE: There’s no page set-up required

The layout of a new journal is everything. Check out the various planner tags on Insta or read the gushing reviews of Hobonichi, Passion or Happiness planners and you’ll begin to understand that page set up is something that people who journal take very seriously.

As a journalling newbie, this can be intimidating. You might not be sure why you need a free space for doodles, or a ruler at the right-hand edge of each page. You might not have a preference for weekly over monthly spreads. It’s probably not something you’ve thought about too much.

List journals require no set up. They’re usually gorgeously illustrated with clearly defined spaces for you to write in. If procrastinating about layout has been holding you back, the list journal will fix that.

TWO: You don’t have to worry about what to say

Maybe it’s a legacy of that angst ridden diary you kept as a teenager, but something about a standard journal can make you feel as though you need to write something profound. Or at the very least that won’t embarrass you when you look back on it in five years time.

A blank page is full of potential. But it can also be pretty scary. If you’re not sure what to say, the prompted list journal format makes it all feel so much easier.  Responding to a question is much more straight forward than kicking off the conversation.

Better still, you don’t have to be uber disciplined in how you complete it. Journals are usually time bound – your progress against a goal or feelings recorded in an orderly, linear fashion. And the way you think isn’t always like that. List journals offer a little more flexibility as you can complete them in any order you like. Read through the contents page and pick the list that jumps out at you. Or let the list journal fall open at a random page and go from there. You’ll be scribbling away in no time.*

THREE: The only other thing you’ll need is a pen

My BuJo kit includes stamps, stickers, washi tape, coloured pens, highlighters. It feels a bit much even for a self-confessed stationery addict, so if the thought of having to buy lots of things is putting you off, you’ll love the simplicity of the list journal. Just pick up a pen and away you go.

It’s also worth saying that any pen will do. List journals usually have a decent production value so you don’t have to worry about ghosting/show through.

And because of this, you can journal easily on the move – no worrying about switching between different coloured pens.

FOUR: You can choose a list journal that matches your mood

List journals come in all sorts of forms from the bucket list to the customisable. You can read reviews of three of my current favourites here. Whether you’re looking for something more lighthearted or deep, there’ll be a list journal option for you.

FIVE: Many have a sizeable community ready to welcome you

Check out #52lists and you’ll instantly be connected to people all over the world that are list journalling just like you. This can be really motivating for the fledgling journaller and even used as a tool to aid reflection. If you’re struggling with a particular list you can find inspiration from what others have written. Yes, journalling is largely an individual activity but the communities that have built up around the most popular ones, show that it doesn’t have to be lonely.

I’m a big fan of list journals as you can probably tell. All journals if I’m honest. Try one and you might find that you are, too. Happy journalling. 

*I assume you’re writing as I’m personally all about the analogue, but there are list journal apps you can check out, too.

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