I love to journal (in case you haven’t noticed). It’s something that most of us had tried, some with more success than others. I’ve talked about the importance of keeping a journal in the previous post, but I also wanted to leave you with a practical guide for how to start if you don’t have an idea yet. Journaling can be fun if you find the type that fits your personality and style. I’ve assembled a list of the many different types of journals I’ve tried in my many years of journaling. Hopefully you can find one you like, adapt to your personal style, and can keep up consistently.
This can be a journal in a way. If you have a notebook where you write out what you’re going to do every day, this can be something you look back to and remember what you did in the past year. One year, I made my own planner, and made a space to write something I’ve learned every day. Sometimes it would be serious like a spiritual lesson, but others would be something as simple as “never forget to take your book to British Lit.” Keeping a planner doesn’t require a lot of writing, but you still have to be consistent for this to be effective. I try to plan ahead for the next week every Sunday, writing out the general tasks I need to get done. Also, every morning, I’ll think through the individual day and what I have time to accomplish. I like to use a physical book, but you can find planner apps that make life even easier for you. The most important thing with the planner is to be consistent. You can’t take this out once a month. In fact, once you’ve missed a few days, or a week, it’s really hard to get back into using it.
2. Day’s events
This is simple; just write down what happened to you during the day. I talked about this more in my previous post, how many of the little things I’m likely to forget if I don’t document them, so I’m a big fan of writing about my day. Keeping a journal all about you may sound a little self-centered, but you don’t ever have to show anyone. In fact, I don’t think you should. It’s just a way to meditate on what you learned, how you’ve grown, and to make sure none of your actions become forgotten.
3. Prayer journal
This is something I’ve never been good at. However, I know that many people love to keep a prayer journal, and they’ll keep track of every prayer request that still needs prayer and has already been answered. I’ve gone a slightly different route, and write my regular journal as a prayer, telling God about what I did that day and adding requests in whenever I think of them.
4. Things you’re grateful for
This is a very easy way to journal. Just write down one (or more; it’s up to you) thing you’re grateful for every day. It doesn’t take long, and it makes you think more positively. Even in the bad days, you have something to be grateful for. You just have to find it.
5. Art journal
I’ll be honest; I’m not very skilled when it comes to the visual arts. Others are, and they can create beautiful sketches or paintings in their journals. I’ve always been envious of the more artistically gifted people. But if you can’t draw, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have an art journal. One of my best friends took a Polaroid camera with her on our trip to Africa, and she glued pictures in with her writing. Probably my favorite journals ever is one where I’d just write creative quotes and descriptions of scenery, people I saw, or a song that meant a lot to me. Sometimes I’d find a picture I’d really like, print it out, and glue it in my journal, and let my mind run wild, taking the picture and creating a story from it. I didn’t write every day; sometimes I’d even go a week without writing anything. It just depended on inspiration.
6. One page a day
This is how my journaling started up again after months of not writing. I decided I would write down the day’s events on one page of my journal every day. I’d buy stickers and decorate the page according to how I felt or what I did that day. I love looking back at these journals as well, because they’re so colorful and easy to read. It really doesn’t take long to write one page, especially if you just write bullet points or catch phrases. I liked to mix it up, depending on how busy my day was. Eventually, I realized I needed more space than one page, and writing more than one page by hand took a long time, so I now type about one page on my computer every day. It’s more efficient and takes less time to write more, but it’s not as fun to read. Even though I print out my journal entries into a spiral-bound book every 3 months, it’s not as colorful or easy to find certain events.
7. Quote journal
I do this one simultaneously with my planner and computer journaling. I like having one place where I write out cool or thought-provoking quotes from books or blogs I’ve been reading. I’ll go a few weeks before I get this out, and by then, I’ll have a collection of quotes on my phone or written down somewhere that I put in all at once. That way, if I need a little motivation, I can just thumb through those pages instead of having to go back and find that one blog post or sermon I heard that quote in.
8. Memory jar
This one is for the person who hates to write. All you do is cut up a bunch of little strips of paper and keep them handy on your dresser or shelf, somewhere accessible. Then, whenever you get back from an exciting outing with your friends or a romantic date, you can write it down on a strip of paper along with the date. I used a jar for this, but you can put your strips into whatever you’d like; you could even put them up on your wall. Then, at the end of the year, you can take them all out and go over all the best moments of your year. I probably had 50-60 strips in my jar at the end of the year, so I’d write one roughly once a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the week. It really takes no time at all, and it’s an awesome tradition. A memory jar would be something a whole family could easily do together.
These were just a few types of journaling you can choose from; there are many more. But I hope this gave you some ideas and encouraged you to try keeping some kind of journal this year. Please share this post if you’ve found it helpful!
What do you think? What kind of journal have you kept in the past? Which one sounds like something you’d like to try? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment below!