Writing & art by Worm (with editing by Snake)

If you're questioning, newly discovered, or just want to know more about your system, one of the easiest and most helpful things to start is a system journal. It can help with internal communication, self discovery, and identity building, and is also an invaluable resource for future therapy and figuring out your system timeline!

Three different systems, each using a different method of journaling. On the left, Snake & Worm are writing with a pencil in a notebook. In the center, a blue cat is typing on a computer. On the right, an orange duck is using a phone to record a voice memo.

Your journal can be a physical book that you write in, but it doesn't have to be. You can also use a notes app, voice recordings, sticky notes, a personal Discord server, a private forum, or something entirely different! You can draw instead of write or type, if that's easier for you. You can even use multiple avenues, as long as you can keep track of them.

If you already know some things about your system, try to pick something that all or most of you will be comfortable using. If you don't, then pick whatever is easiest for you personally! One of the first things you can start logging is how you feel about your journal, and the medium you chose. If another system member wants to use something different, you'll have paved the way for them to express what tool they'd like better.

When you're first starting out, avoid signing journal entries with specific system members, and instead go in with intention to observe! I always recommend noting down your current emotions, but you can also consider writing what you're most interested in, what's currently frustrating you, how you feel about your body and name, or anything else on your mind. Try to make a short entry in your journal each day, either as part of your normal routine, or whenever you need to get something off your chest.

A two-panel comic of alters from the same system. In the first panel, Bear is writing in a journal. The journal says: "I had steak today. I want to eat it EVERY day!" In the second panel, Snake & Worm are reading the same journal. Worm says, "I don't know about every day..." Snake says "Gross! Why would I eat steak in the first place?"

As you start to grow more confident with your journal, and as you start to learn more about your system, you can start to draw connections. Are there any journal entries that seem similar? Are there ones that are drastically different? If you have memory barriers between system members, are there any that you specifically remember writing? Conversely, are there any entries that you disagree with, or otherwise feel like you wouldn't have written?

If you're first getting to know your system, this can be a starting point for a list of system members. If you're already past that point, it can be a great way to get to know your system better. And in any case, make sure to be open to new patterns! Sometimes you might realize that "one" system member was actually two similar members, or that "two" system members are one that just has a tendency to be fickle. You might even find system members you didn't know you had! It's okay to be unsure of the details of your system and its members, and hopefully keeping up with your journal will help the picture become clearer over time.

As time has gone on, we don't journal nearly as much as we used to. These days, our system just writes entries as needed. But you might keep up a daily log, or even try to journal more frequently! Whatever ends up working best for you, I hope it helps you learn more about yourselves and each other.

If having a template would help, please feel free to use this one:

You can elaborate as much or as little as you'd like, and you can also write down things you've already written down another day. In fact, that might help with finding patterns between entries in the future!

You can also ask yourself other questions. Here are some examples that might help!

Good luck, and happy journaling!