How I Turned A Journaling Practice Into My First Book

Can you turn journal entries into a book?

If you’re like me, you probably spend a lot of time journaling and writing out your thoughts, but you never expect them to go out into the world.

I’d been collecting memories and experiences starting from when I left for college all the way until now. My new book, What I Gave You is full of entries I never thought I would publish for the world to see.

What I Gave You, brimming with heartfelt detail, vivid memories, and clever lyricism, takes readers on a bumpy ride through the twenty-somethings — first loves, first tastes of freedom, first heartbreaks, and first understandings of your purpose.

Using my own experiences as words of wisdom, I assure you that there are twists and turns on this journey of life, and that’s okay.  Writing this book helped me learn how to process my emotions and how to live life more genuinely.

When I went to college in 2014, I felt alienated.

Not because I was homesick, but because I couldn’t find my groove in the social scene. As a result, my small, green, leather-bound Moleskine became my only friend.

Someone I could be completely honest with about what was going on in my head and around me. I never left home without it. I would take the bus into the city any chance I got and I would coffee shop hop and journal about my experiences. I would write about how I was feeling or what was going on around me. 

After that, the habit of journaling became a constant in my life.

Anytime I was traveling or moving somewhere new, I would get inspired and want to write about it. Anytime my boyfriend and I were fighting, or I wasn’t sure of my next step in life, I would write about it. What I Gave You is a collection of these moments from when I was eighteen all the way to twenty five. Writing is my tool to process my thoughts in a way that teaches me something. I wasn’t just holding on to the negative thoughts and letting them drown me. Instead, I was getting them out of my head and into paper so I could move past them. 

It was important to me that this book be the real, raw, unfiltered experience of my early twenties because I wanted people to know they weren’t alone. It was scary putting my deepest thoughts and darkest moments out there for the entire world to read and potentially criticize.

The idea that maybe I could just inspire one person was enough for me to push through. Writing this book became one of the most important milestones in my life so far. It was my way of dealing with the intense roller coaster of emotions that comes during your early twenties. Through all of that, I learned how to persevere. 

The thing that I love most about journaling is that anyone can do it! Here’s how to get started.

1- Sit down and get started

Keep it simple. All you need is a notebook or you can use a tablet if you’re into that. Make sure you are in a place where you can get in the zone.

2- Write for three pages worth

What I usually recommend to people who are just starting out is to write three full pages every day.

Pick a time that works best for you, either in the morning or before bed (I prefer before bed since I’m not really a morning person). But the key is to write the full three pages uninterrupted (this is key!). Writing three pages normally takes me around 45 minutes.

3. Write about whatever you want

Sometimes I start with the things I did that day, or sometimes I have full pages about not knowing what to write about. But there’s a magic that happens with journaling, in that by the third page, you always discover your true feelings. You just have to trust the process and you’ll get there.

4. Be honest with yourself

Journaling doesn’t work if you’re not completely honest and non-judgemental over your own feelings.

I would love to chat more with you guys if you have questions about journaling. Follow me on Instagram and shoot me a message. I’m happy to help! Also, if you want to check out the book, a special hardcover edition just launched with exclusive bonus content. You can find it on Amazon, or anywhere where books are sold.

Read next: 50 Journal Prompts for Self-Reflection