An Insider’s Guide to Finding Joy Through Journaling

Looking to start journaling? Consider these tips.

BELA SURESH ROONGTA says she journals to explore and connect to her roots. The local attorney-turned-writer-and-artist has been journaling her whole life and thinks of the art form as a bridge between visual art and storytelling. We asked her for some help getting started, and she shared these tips. 

There are no rules.

Oftentimes people feel constrained by the writing component of journaling, Roongta explains, worrying about things like grammar rules and punctuation. Once you let go of a rule and the idea of what your journal should be, you can enjoy the process, she says. “It’s like having a friend and a companion with you all the time.”




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Find something that enhances your writing experience.

This can be a certain notebook, pen or pencil – anything that makes you want to sit down and write. “That doesn’t mean it won’t be hard,” says Roongta. “But I think journaling should be something that brings you joy.”

Let yourself take breaks.

“I think people get really hung up on this idea about what’s consistent and what is considered a practice,” Roongta says. She wishes people would feel less guilty about forget- ting to journal every day, and focus instead on enjoying the experience when they have the time.

Roongta occasionally teaches journaling workshops. If you’d like to schedule one, you can reach her at

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s February issue.

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Allie is an Editorial Intern at Milwaukee Magazine. She is a senior at UW-Milwaukee studying Creative Writing and Journalism. You can follow her on Instagram at @alliehabck