How do I get started?

A pen and some paper.

That’s all you need to get started on your own journal.

Use what you already have around the home. Or, you can start afresh with nice journal and a set of pens or pencils to get your creative juices flowing!

Here are some ‘best of’ resources if you’re in need of supplies:

  • Journals – I like the Leuchtturm1917 with dotted paper. It’s a blank state and the dots allow for some structure without being overbearing (unlike those strict lined journals!)
  • Pens – The Tombow is so easy to use! It’s my current pen of choice

Keep it going

A key principle with reflective journaling to improve your clinical practice is to make it sustainable. Journaling should be a practice that you do on most of your working days. You’ll see the benefit over time this way.

So, make your journaling as concise as possible.

With brevity in mind, consider creating your own set of abbreviations. An abbreviation can indicate a daily habit from a weekly one. Also, it can be used to capture an idea or a question.

Here are some examples:

So, what might this look like in practice?

Make it your own

Another important facet of sustainability is making your journaling experience an enjoyable one. This might mean using an array of colours to decorate as you go. Or, perhaps you prefer to draw your thoughts.

All journals have some structure – despite how haphazard they might appear.

You might like to let things flow and note down different things each day. Or, it could become a to-do-list, an idea capturer or your clinical reflections.

Though, it’s often nice to have a basic framework. And you can set this up as you wish. Here are some ideas for what you could include:

  • A goal setting section
  • Reflections (monthly, weekly and daily)
    • Create questions that help to guide your thinking (did I move towards my goals today?)
  • A professional development diary to collate the courses you attend and the resources you read
  • A place to put resources you’ve find to be useful

The How to use your journal post goes into more detail.

Author: Andrew Cammarano

Andy writes about anything that comes to mind. Oftentimes, he repeats himself. So, if you read a post and ask yourself, "I feel like I've read this before." Chances are you have. Apart from writing, he eats a diet high in peanut butter, he exercises (and suffers from a chafed butt from performing too many sit-ups in pursuit of a six-pack) and comes up with many fantastical ideas, like his peanut butter-based chafe cream. Reach out to him to share your opinions (or if you'd like to become his chafe cream business partner).

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