Journaling is a practice that has been around since time immemorial.
It is said that one of the oldest journals was owned by Ma Dubo, a man from ancient China who chronicled his adventures and offered it to his emperor.
Whether you want to share your journal with others or not is up to you.
However, we believe we can all agree on one thing: keeping a journal can be a very enriching experience.
This leads us to the main questions we want to address in this article.
What are the different types of journaling? And, more importantly, which one is right for you?
What Is Journaling?
Before anything else, allow us to define what journaling is first. In a nutshell, journaling is the act of recording your thoughts on paper.
It is typically done through writing, but we have seen a lot of journals that contain drawings, pictures, and sometimes even scraps of embroidered fabric.
What Are Examples Of Journals?
We’ll share with you the most common types of journals in a bit.
But just to give you an idea, some of the most common are the classic diary and the currently widely popular bullet journal.
How Many Types Of Journaling Are There?
We honestly believe that there are as many types of journals out there as there are journalers.
Journaling is a very personal experience, so it is no surprise that each journal (and journaling method) is unique to the person who owns and keeps it.
Still, even these widely varied journals can be divided into different categories and sub-categories.
Different Types Of Journals
To start, we will share with you the 12 most common ones below. Be aware, though, that our list is by no means “complete.”
We are simply scratching the surface, so please feel free to explore other types of journals and journaling methods out there.
1. Blank Journal
The first and most common type of journal is the blank journal.
This is meant to be a blank canvas that anyone can use to match his or her journaling technique.
Blank journals are also mostly used as a diary.
2. Bullet Journal
Another common journal is the bullet journal.
This started as a journaling method, but specific journals were eventually developed to make its application easier and more convenient.
Bullet journals are great for daily planning and list-making.
3. Dream Journal
As the name suggests, this is the type of journal to keep if you want to record your dreams.
After all, dreams (even the most meaningful ones) can be hard to remember if you don’t write them down.
In fact, we recommend recording your dream immediately upon waking up in the morning.
Don’t do anything else first, or risk forgetting important details or the whole dream entirely.
4. Gratitude Journal
Another popular journal is the gratitude journal. It is meant to hold a record of the things you are thankful for in your life.
In a gratitude journal, you’d want to write an entry daily. Though, monthly and annual pages work just as well, especially for bigger blessings.
5. Art Journal
As mentioned earlier, you can also record your personal thoughts through drawings, collages, and more. This is called art journaling.
While you can always use a blank journal for this, we still recommend getting a journal that’s specifically dedicated to your chosen art medium.
Doing so ensures that your pages will keep their integrity even after putting so much effort into them.
6. Hobby Journal
This is closely related to art journaling; only this time, it is more focused on a specific hobby (regardless if it is considered “creative” or not).
For instance, those who enjoy watching anime or listening to K-pop music may opt to start an anime or K-pop journal.
We have also seen cross-stitchers keep cross-stitch journals that contain smaller works and project trackers.
Also, those who enjoy cigar smoking may keep journals to collect bands and record the events surrounding the particular smoking session.
7. Reading Journal
This can be categorized as a hobby journal, true, but not everyone really considers reading a hobby.
For example, students or academicians who want to keep track of the references they have read or accessed so far can use this journal to take down notes and meaningful passages.
They can then use and quote these entries in their paper later on.
8. Travel Journal
Going on a trip? You might want to try keeping a travel journal.
Make it more memorable not just by writing down your experiences in your journal but also by collecting and pasting small mementos, like tickets, receipts, stamps, and more.
9. Food Journal
Do you want to make more conscious food choices? Recording your meals is the way to go.
Doing this will make you more aware of the things you are putting inside your body and significantly improve dietary efforts.
10. Fitness Journal
Aside from food, you can also record how much you exercise.
We recommend listing down repetitions, session length, and intensity ratings of your fitness sessions.
You can also use this to keep track of your weight and write down any notes related to your workouts.
11. Finance Journal
Physical health is not the only aspect of your life you can keep track of through a journal. The same can be said for your financial life.
Keeping this type of journal helps you assess your cash inflow, outflow, debt repayment rate, and more.
You can also use it to keep track of any financial projects you are currently saving for.
12. Project Journal
Speaking of projects, you can use journaling to manage a particular project, too.
There, you can keep plans, task lists of actionable steps, regular assessments, and more.
Different Types Of Journaling
The type of journal you are going to get typically dictates the method of journaling you plan to use and follow.
There are times, however, that it goes the other way around. After all, your journaling method will always follow your personal writing style.
To give you an idea, here are the four methods of journaling you can use:
This is the type of journaling where you are just going to write down your thoughts as freely as they come.
There is no censorship or organization. Rather, the objective is simply to chase down what you want to say.
This type of journaling is great for blank, dream, or gratitude journals.
Contrary to free-flowing, those who want to give their journaling more structure can follow the organized journaling method.
This style is great to use for planners, project trackers, bullet journals, and others that require a specific format for increased clarity and accuracy.
This is the journaling method used for art and hobby journals. Unlike the first one, it doesn’t really require writing that much.
Basically, with creative journaling, you are free to explore different methods of putting your thoughts and ideas into paper.
These methods can be in the form of collages, calligraphy, drawings, and more.
When it comes to journaling, you don’t always have to use paper.
Digital journals can work just as efficiently, especially if it’ll encourage you to journal more often.
This is also a great option for people who want to incorporate images into their journal for reference but don’t always have access to a printer.
With enough research, you will find various journaling applications to install on your phone for journaling on the go.
How Do I Find My Journaling Style?
Depending on your style and your preferences, you can mix and match the types of journaling styles we just listed.
What’s important is to find the style that suits your personality.
It has to be something that can get you in the groove to put your thoughts into paper more efficiently and accurately.
Unsure about the journaling style you want to try? Here’s what you can do.
Get a blank journal and just start filling it out.
Use this as a testing ground to experiment with the different types of journaling styles we shared earlier.
Eventually, as you get more used to the habit, you will notice yourself naturally gravitating to a specific style or mixtures of styles. This ultimately becomes your journaling style.
Since journaling is a personal activity, note that what might work for others may not work for you.
Nonetheless, feel free to explore various sources of journaling inspiration online. Who knows what you might discover, right?
The most important thing is that you choose methods or exercises that appeal to you the most. This will also help in determining your personal style.
How Do You Start Journaling?
The simplest way to start journaling is to grab a pen and paper and just start writing.
However, if you want a more structured way to go about it, here is a quick step-by-step guide you can follow:
Step 1: Determine Your Purpose.
The first thing you can do is to determine your purpose for keeping a journal.
Why do you want to do it, and what do you want to achieve from it? How will your journal improve the quality of your life?
Look at the different types of journals and choose the one you deem is going to be most helpful for you.
Step 2: Choose Your Journal.
The next step after recognizing your purpose is to choose the journal itself.
It can be as simple as a blank notebook you most probably have just lying around your house.
Still, we recognize the merits of choosing a stunning piece made with quality paper.
These journals usually last longer and can motivate you to write more often.
Again, you can also choose from a variety of mobile applications available if you’d rather have a digital one.
Step 3: Ready Your Journaling Tools.
Should you choose an analog journal, it can help if you get your tools ready beforehand.
There’s nothing more frustrating than starting a page and realizing that you don’t have the images, stickers, or art materials you need to complete your vision.
Step 4: Choose A Special Journaling Spot.
It is essential to keep distractions to a minimum when journaling. Having a private and quiet space is most ideal.
We also recommend turning off any digital device or putting them in airplane mode to further minimize distractions.
Step 5: Make Time For Journaling.
Once your journal and tools are ready, you can finally start journaling.
You would want to incorporate journaling time into your schedule so that you will never forget to make an entry regularly.
Step 6: Hold Yourself Accountable.
Journaling can be a very therapeutic experience, but you won’t be able to make the most out of its benefits if you don’t practice it regularly.
It would be best if you keep a tracker of your journaling sessions to make yourself more accountable for the habit.
There are also online groups, like NaNoWriMo, that can motivate you to journal diligently.
It is usually easier to do something when you are sharing the experience with other people.
Step 7: Turn It Into A Pleasurable Experience.
Finally, holding yourself accountable doesn’t mean you must force yourself into doing it.
Do not look at journaling as a chore.
Instead, see it as a pleasurable experience, an escape from the mundanity of everyday life.
With these steps in mind, we are sure you will get into the journaling habit in no time.
To Sum Up
Our minds tend to get cluttered with thoughts and ideas every once in a while.
The challenge is knowing which thoughts are valuable ideas and reflections that we simply shouldn’t forget.
This is what journaling is for—to collect and record your thoughts and put them in a single place, your journal.
There are different types of journals and journaling methods.
And finding your own style will make your journaling experience more enjoyable and easier to do.
Remember, the more you put it into practice, the more benefits you will be able to enjoy later on.
Fortunately, there are tips you can follow to establish a journaling habit and make the experience even more enjoyable.
Our web pages and blog posts provide general information for general purposes only and not to be used for any medical, legal or alternative health advice for any type of physical, mental health or financial concerns.
Always speak to your practitioner before embarking on any new alternative treatments. If you have concerns about any medical matters, you should always consult your healthcare provider without delay.
We thank you for taking full responsibility for your own health and wellbeing in life. ☺