This post is all about different types of journaling.
Creative journals, bullet journals, dream diaries, oh my!
The many different types of journaling out there can be a tad overwhelming when you’re just trying to figure out which one to go with.
While there are many different kinds of journals to choose from, you can narrow down your choices to something much more manageable with a few simple tips.
So let’s dig in, shall we?
Tips for Choosing the Best Journal Type for Your Lifestyle
To determine which type of journal to keep, that suits your lifestyle best, it’s important to first… let go of the past.
Maybe you journaled (or kept a diary) when you were younger, but life evolves and so can your journaling.
I’d say the two biggest things to consider when settling on a journaling technique is- the amount of time you have to dedicate to it and your current interests, hobbies, and goals.
For example, if you want your journal to be a creative outlet, an art journal just might be perfect. Draw, paint, doodle, and keep track of ideas you’d like to explore with art.
If you’re trying to work through personal issues, a classic journal style might be a great option.
On the flip side, if you simply want to document your day or a special vacation, a bullet journal may be a better choice.
If staring at a blank page makes you anxious or tends to consume too much of your time, a calendar journal can be quick and easy.
Finding your journaling style should be fun. Play around with it and see what suits you.
The best type of journal to have is one that embodies your personality and allows you to put pen to paper as easily and freely as possible.
Still, a little direction is always nice, so let’s look at 12 kinds of journals for a little inspo 🙂
1. Personal Diary-Type Journal
A personal journal (or “diary”) can be anything you want it to be, but it’s often more private or personal in nature than other types of journaling techniques.
This style provides a place for freewriting without the boundaries of a specific goal.
For instance, you can write about your emotions as well as reactions to certain events or circumstances. It also often includes writing about personal relationships, doubts, feelings, life goals, and aspirations.
Example of Personal Journaling
An entry for a diary type journal might include an explanation of an event and how the people, places, and actions made you feel.
This is the place where you can talk about things that you might not be comfortable sharing with others.
Maybe you wish you had reacted differently, or perhaps you’re excited about how things worked out. Either way, you can explore these feelings and more in your personal journal.
If you feel stuck or run out of things to write about, try this massive list of printable journal prompts!
2. Bullet Journal
A bullet journal is a flexible (very popular) journal style that lets you organize everything from to-do lists, milestones, and goals to personal reflections and things you don’t want to forget.
It’s an excellent way to keep yourself organized and easily track your short and long-term goals all in one convenient notebook.
Some people use an existing planner and modify it into a bullet journal, but you can also start with blank page, creating boxes and sections to fit whatever you want to write about.
Example of Bullet Journaling
Depending on the sections you choose, you can record appointments, things you need to take care of, your progress towards a specific goal, or even doodles and inspirational quotes.
This type of journal is usually a multi-faceted one. Think of it like different categories all housed under one “roof” so to speak.
For example, if you want to lose weight, you can track your food and water intake as well as how much exercise you get each week and progress towards your weight loss goal. Then, you can include a daily diary-type section, a habit tracker, a gardening notes area (if that’s one of your hobbies), etc.
The sky is the limit to what you can include in a bullet journal!
3. Gratitude Journal
Journaling about the things you’re grateful for can be a rewarding experience.
Even if you’re going through trying times, you should be able to come up with 3 to 5 things that you’re grateful for. Try to be as specific as possible.
These can be big things, like a new job, or small things, like your kids doing the dishes without being asked.
Keeping a gratitude journal is easy and can really encourage your brain to focus on good things, which can lead to positive changes in all areas of life.
related : 55 Gratitude Writing Prompts (+ PDF)
Example of Journaling for Gratitude
This type of journaling is most beneficial if you elaborate on the details of the event or person you’re thankful for.
For example, instead of saying, “I’m grateful for my job,” you might want to write something like, “I’m grateful I have a new job close to home that allows me to grow in my career.”
A good rule of thumb is to make entries in your journal at least three times per week and spend about 15 minutes on each entry. Consistency is important!
4. Art Journal
This is definitely the most creative journal type out there, IMHO. Perfect for artsy personalities!
An art journal is a place where you can record your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and dreams while also bringing your creativity to life.
In fact, you don’t even have to journal words if you don’t want to. Utilize a variety of pens, markers, paper, and embellishments to decorate your journal and illustrate your thoughts.
An art journal can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose. Add sketches, doodles, or pictures cut from a magazine – anything goes!
Example of Art Journaling
If you’re just getting started, you might want to consider keeping your journal simple in the beginning. Consider practicing calligraphy or try your hand at mixing various colors to create a mood or feeling.
The more you journal, the more involved your art entries will likely become.
Check out this post for dozens of art journal ideas to spark your imagination.
5. Dream Journal
A dream journal is a place to document your dreams. You can either record your dreams or draw pictures, and think about what the dream means to you or how you think it relates to what’s currently happening in your life.
It’s a good idea to keep your dream journal next to your bed so you can immediately write about your dream while it is still fresh in your mind.
When you consistently make entries in a dream journal, you may find that you actually dream more.
Example of Dream Journaling
Dream journal entries almost always include a focus on both the dream itself and the date it happened (as well as what happened that day).
Dates and daily recaps can reveal any patterns that exist, and with a bit of introspective thinking, you might gain insight into the meaning of your dream (or find out that you should just stop eating pizza late at night! Lol).
In addition to writing about your dream, don’t forget to include your feelings. Were you scared? Excited? Sad?
You can also go a completely different direction and use this kind of journal, not for literal dreams, but for goal-type dreams.
So for instance, describe what your dream-life looks like.
6. Foodie Journal
A foodie journal is the perfect place to record all your food-related thoughts, ideas, recipes, and inspirations.
Whether you’re an accomplished home cook or just like to try new restaurants, journaling about your experiences with food can be a great way to expand your knowledge of ingredients, cooking styles, ethnic cuisines, or simply learn more about your favorite dishes.
You can include a list of ingredients for the meals you make and how your family liked them, or log your dining experiences as you explore your local area.
Example of a Food Journal
One way to use your foodie journal is to choose a new recipe to try. You can record notes about how you prepared the dish as well as any substitutions or additions you made.
Of course, once the dish is complete, you might want to take a picture or sketch the finished product into your journal.
Don’t forget to add your thoughts about the consistency, flavor, and anything you would do differently next time.
7. Mental Health Journal
Studies show that journaling can help improve your mental well-being.
Sometimes referred to as a mental health therapy journal, it can help you reflect on areas that cause you problems or concerns.
Whether you struggle with depression, anxiety, procrastination or some type of trauma, this kind of journal can be the place where you express these feelings.
It can also be a safe place to work through a situation you’re facing.
Example of Journaling for Mental Wellness
To start, remind yourself that there are no rules for your journal. If you feel stuck and don’t know where to begin, consider using a journal prompt.
I have 52 Self Love Journal Prompts here that would be perfect for this!
Journaling therapy often includes positive affirmations to help you silence negative self-talk.
You may also want to write about what you’d like your future self to know.
Think about your future self as a trusted friend you can confide in and share important insight you’d want them to know as he/she gets older.
8. Reading Journal
For this journaling style, you can use just about any kind of notebook, depending on what you want to include in your entries.
If you’re considering adding some of your own artwork, keep in mind that the paper in your journal should be thick enough to ensure ink or paint won’t leak through.
Example of Journaling About Books You Read
It’s super simple:
When you finish reading a book, make a journal entry. You might want to add the date you finished reading the book as well as a short review.
List your favorite characters, the setting, or other important parts of the story you’d like to remember.
If you’re feeling extra creative, you can add drawings or other embellishments or even sketches of what you imagine the characters look like.
9. Travel Journal
Traveling offers a wonderful opportunity to learn about different cultures, enjoy unique experiences, and immerse yourself in a completely different environment.
Whether you travel domestically or internationally, there’s always something new to discover.
A travel journal can help you document your experiences so that you can enjoy them over and over again.
It’s important to choose a journal that suits your travel plans. For instance, if you’ll be gone for several months, you’ll need something that can accommodate journal entries for that period of time.
Likewise, if you’re traveling by bike or train, you’ll want to choose something compact enough to minimize bulk and weight in your luggage.
Example of Travel Journaling
You are sure to see all kinds of tourist destinations when you travel, but don’t forget to journal about your day-to-day experiences as well.
Write about the people you meet, the foods you enjoy, and even how you traveled from one place to another.
You can even add train tickets, museum passes, and sketches of landscapes and people to create a memoir of sorts.
10. Junk Journal
Are you one of those people who doesn’t like to throw away concert or theater tickets? Maybe you have a box filled with special memorabilia like post cards, buttons, or coasters from places you’ve visited?
If that’s you, then you have the makings of an exciting junk journal!
This type of journal can be especially fun because you get to choose a theme (or not) and gather together items that are meaningful to you.
You create pockets or files to hold ephemera and memorabilia, then stitch together these various files, or “signatures” as they’re called, to create your journal.
Example of Junk Journaling
Start with something like a multi-city vacation. You can make a pocket file for each city, then combine them all together to complete your junk journal for that specific vacay.
Signatures can include fold-out sections or envelopes designed to hold all your little trinkets and notes.
You don’t even have to write in this kind of journal if you don’t want to. It can simply be a place to keep your memories.
11. Bible Journal
A Bible journal is an excellent companion to your daily Bible reading or Bible study.
You can keep notes on Bible passages as well as add personal journal entries. As you journal about your time spent reading Scripture, you’ll likely find inspiration, comfort, and many life lessons.
So this type of journaling, in particular, can be a great way to glean more from the Word and grow in your faith.
Example of Bible Journaling
As you journal through your Bible reading, include the reference, book, chapter, and verse as well as how what you read relates to your life and circumstances.
Does the passage have special meaning for you at this time in your life, or did you gain a new perspective on what the verse means?
12. Productivity Planner Journal
A productivity journal acts as a daily/weekly/monthly planner as well as a tracker to ensure you stay on target.
It can be easy to get overwhelmed with all of the tasks that need to be done each day, but keeping a productivity journal can keep you moving toward your goals.
However, it is different than your typical planner in that it should provide space to reflect on life as you live it.
If you journal in the same place that you plan and track your days, it’s a lot easier to identify things in your routine you might want to change for better efficiency.
Example of Journaling for Productivity
To get started, choose small, well-defined goals. The idea is to make sure you don’t get too bogged down in the process.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of this type of journaling, you can move to more long-term goals and break each of them down into multiple, smaller goals or steps.
Once you have your schedule planned, you can make notes to yourself regarding your progress and/or obstacles. Don’t forget to encourage yourself with kind words and celebrate the small milestones along the way.
If you landed here wondering, “what type of journal should I do?,” I hope I answered that question for you today!
The important thing is to make whatever journaling style or technique you choose work for YOU.