5 Common Journaling Fears (and How to Overcome Them)

Have you ever thought about keeping a journal? Perhaps, you did keep a journal at some point in your life, but stopped because you thought it was childish or you grew out of your teenage obsession or you found it a waste of time. Maybe you had nothing to say.  There might be a variety of reasons, but main fears usually come back to one of the five below.

Five Reasons Why People Are Afraid To Keep A Journal

I don’t have time.

This excuse is used for nearly everything, and yes, it is an excuse. Every gets twenty-four hours in a day, so how is it that some people manage to achieve seemingly incredible amounts of things, while most of us find just managing day job and family demands overwhelming? It’s very easy to fill time with unproductive activities. Often, we don’t even know that we are wasting time, and so we think we are busy. If you want to do something, and I mean really want, then you will find the time even if that means sacrificing your favourite TV show, spending less time on the phone, cutting down on the window shopping or spending less time slaying dragons on video games.

I hate writing or I’m a bad writer.

Your journal isn’t supposed to be a literally masterpiece. No one else will even see it, so it doesn’t matter how good your writing skill is. As long as you can decipher it, and understand what you wrote, that’s enough. Like most skills, writing can only be improved by practice, so if you keep a journal, you get that added benefit of actually improving your writing ability.

I don’t know what to write.

If you get stuck, the first place to start is writing about your day. Write what you did, who you met, how you felt.  Google for journaling prompts, or just keep a list of your own. I encourage you to do this especially for the ones you find effective. Write about your family. Write about where you live. What do you do? Make a list of your favourite things, places  you want to travel. You can start with almost anything, and it will lead you somewhere else.

I’m embarrassed to keep a journal.

Some people actually do feel this way, and it’s okay. If you are embarrassed, that’s fine. Be a closet journal keeper. There is no need to advertise this to the world. Journal only when you are home, or somewhere private. If you are uncomfortable not telling the people you live with (clearly there is an issue you need to tackle in your journal) then journal in the privacy of you room, or even the bathroom. Let it become a habit before you worry about not hiding it.

What if someone else reads it?

This is a big one, and of all the fears listed here this is most valid because it is often beyond your control. Privacy is a genuine concern. If you are to make the best use of your journal, it is essential that it remains a private tool.

Here are several things you can do to ensure privacy:

  • Consider your living situation. If you live alone, then you don’t have much to  worry about, as long as you don’t keep your journal lying around where visitors might pick it up. Keep it in a drawer, or somewhere where no one else would go. If you have frequent stream of unannounced visitors or drunken guests leftovers, then it might be an idea to keep your journal in a locked drawer.
  • If you live with someone else, then think about your trust level. If it’s family or spouse/partner, make it clear that this is your personal space and that what you write there are unprocessed thought which might be taken out of context. I would still encourage you to keep your journal out of sight to keep the temptation away. If you live with room-mates or even family members you don’t entirely trust, then always keep your journal in your private space. Back of a wardrobe, between piles of clothes, a locked drawer etc.
  • If you keep an electronic journal, make it password protected, and make it a secure password. Always, always make it clear to people in your life that your privacy is essential to you, and that you will not take it lightly if they infringe on it. It’s easier said then done, I know, but you need to be in a situation where you can trust people you live with, and if you are not there yet, then that’s a big part of your life you need to take a look at.
If you haven’t already, start one. That’s it. The best way to overcome a fear is to face it. So go get yourself a journal, and start creating your personalised arsenal for success.

image credit


5 thoughts on “5 Common Journaling Fears (and How to Overcome Them)

  1. I’ve been convinced foeverr that writing is my meditation and my therapy. When I sit quietly with my journal it’s like I can access a wiser person within myself who knows all the answers to the questions I have and who loves me despite my clumsy moments. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  2. “It’s easier said then done, I know, but you need to be in a situation where you can trust people you live with, and if you are not there yet, then that’s a big part of your life you need to take a look at.”

    This rings so true with me. I am not a particularly trusting person, with good reason too, due to various past situations where my trust was implicit, yet taken advantage of. I worry about taking my journal out with me because I believe there are always going to be people who will want to know what I’m scribbling away at and will want to sneak a peek regardless of how clear I am about it being private.

    I’m not referring to my friends or family…more people I’m forced to be around, yet might not necessarily like. Work situations for instance. There are people there who I know would love to find out what’s going on inside my head – but that is something I think stems from their own paranoia and insecurities. I’m pretty sure one of them did read my journal; on the one day I dared to bring it along with me for any ad hoc scribblings that might have occurred to me on the hoof so to speak, I for some reason left my bag unattended for half an hour and when I returned it looked as though it had been moved.

    Later in the afternoon, the topic of conversation on our table turned to journal-keeping, which isn’t something any of the others have ever shown an interest in, but there were a few knowing glances between the rest of them as they smiled and smirked and generally made me feel pretty uncomfortable.

    It was a shame because it had been my first tentative foray into the act of journaling outside of the home and it was ruined before I’d even managed to write anything down. It made me feel as though I could never again trust myself to bring such precious, private thoughts and feelings out into the big wide world, for fear of tempting fate and providing potential enemies with just the sort of ammunition they needed to use against me.

    It’s unfortunate that this seems to be the kind of world many of us are thrust into. I’d like to think that more people would be mature, kind, sensitive and considerate enough to leave well alone, but experience has shown this to be mostly untrue.

    What IS important though is what I referenced in your quote above: if you cannot trust those who you are immediately surrounded with….if you can’t trust the person you choose to be in a relationship with, not to invade your privacy, you’re really not with the right person.

    Thankfully I live with someone I can trust implicitly and who knows I keep a journal, but would never invade that privacy and read it without permission. It’s an essential element to being able to keep an authentic, useful, cathartic, expressive and honest journal.

    I just had to comment as that last line really rang true with me. I can see that you’ve also published another post just recently along these lines and it too really struck a chord with me.

    Who knows, maybe one day I will try and venture out again with my journal and see if I can get some stuff down whilst in a cafe or coffee shop.

    Watch this space!

    Love the site by the way (loved your old one too and copied and pasted every single entry into a word document that I then sent to my Kindle to keep for posterity – I hope you don’t mind; it has never been redistributed and is purely for my own use!)

    Take care


  3. I have been so excited to do this! We have just moved into a new place and I’m still trinyg to set up my craft ‘studio’ – which is really a corner in a room :) I’m going to try to journal to my full potential with only part of my working space! lol.Question: I bought a 3 pack of moleskine journals and the pages seem rather thin…..does the ink seem to show through the back of the page you draw on? And do you just not use that back page and skip on to the next one for the next prompt? I figured that would be the best way to go about that. Any suggestions would be appreciated :) Thank you SO MUCH for doing this!! I’m so glad to be a part of this! kaylawww.themindwandering.blogspot.com

  4. Hello Scarlett,

    First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to write this. I really appreciate it. No, I don’t mind at all that you copied and pasted entries from Journal Addict, though pending any Internet disasters, it will always be there :-)

    It is a shame that you had that negative experience with taking your journal outside. But don’t let that put you off. I would start slowly. Don’t tell people that you are carrying a journal, though if they see it, and ask, tell them. What I am saying is don’t be ashamed or afraid to say that. My favourite answer when people ask what you write in it, is to say “stuff” :-) Cheeky, yes. But that’s what they get for asking that. If it’s someone I trust and feel like saying a bit more, then I would go into more detail.

    Carry on with what you are doing. And if you find yourself too often around people who make you uncomfortable, then it’s time to change the company you keep. There are a lot of wonderful people out there, we all just need to find them :-)

Comments are closed.