“What would I do with a journal?”

If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard this, when the topic of journaling comes up, I’d be a millionaire. I’m sure of it. (Coming in second is: “I don’t have the time.”) Why do people write in journals? Does it require an inflated ego? Hours of time? In my humble opinion, NAY!

One can take great joy in writing about the “everyday”…little things that can make life special. Even if you’re just recording day to day events, what you ate for lunch, what movie you saw, what book you read – looking back on it, can be a very enjoyable experience! And it only takes a few minutes a day. I’m particularly referring to tangible journals, bound books that you record your thoughts and life events in, but I guess one could also apply it to blogs as well.

I view it as mental/creative “exercising”. You make a bit of time for physical activity…so why not mental activity -- creativity? The power of creativity is monumental! Yet, creativity is by no means limited to artists. It is something that all of us can draw upon to refresh, invigorate ourselves and express our deepest thoughts. Not only that but creativity reinforces essential connections between brain cells, including those responsible for memory. In other words, it's what keeps us sharp!

So do you have a blank book lying around? Don’t know what to do with it? Well here are some ideas!

daily diary – Chronicle daily thoughts and events; they’re such fun to look back on. Things may seem boring and uninteresting now, but it’s neat to look back on what you’ve written in a few years time to see how much has changed (and how much as stayed the same). Keep it in your purse or bookbag to jot down things as the inspiration moves you.

photo journal – Paste in photos that inspire you and/or are important to you, and write about them.

book log – Write about the books you’re reading; discuss plot lines, characters. Praise the good reads and have fun throwing figurative tomatoes at the literary catastrophes!

recipe book – A place to keep treasured foodie goodness, for generations to come

friend journal – Have a far away sweetheart, friend or loved one? Why not add your notes to each other to a journal instead of on a piece of paper, and send it to your friend...have them fill out their pages, and send it back...and do so continuously until the book is completed. By the time you’re finished, you have a lovely bound collection of your correspondence with each other. (I wish I would have thought of this when hubby and I were dating, long distance!)

guestbook – A book where friends/family write their name along with some fun notes about their time visiting with you; or of course a wedding guestbook too!

sketchbook – Self explanatory, I should think. :) A lot of folks are into the “sketch a day” routine; a journal is a great place for that!

travel journal – Whether it be a short jaunt, day trip, or world excursion, write about it and include photos, ticket stubs, maps, etc....you’ll cherish the memories and experience for years to come!

fitness journal – Whether your training for the next marathon, charting weight loss and exercise, or keeping a food log, this is a great way to keep on track and chart your progress!

wine journal – What vintage? Was it a good year? Red, white, rose? Desert wine? What was it best paired with? Write it all down in your wine journal!

bird watcher journal – What sort of bird was that?

poetry book – A place to collect poems you enjoy, or write your own.

taking notes – Meetings, conventions, or kept in your case/purse to jot down just about anything

dream diary – To be kept on your nightstand as a place to track your ‘interesting’ dreams!

other ideas – film/movie log, pregnancy journal, small scrapbook, calligraphy book, ship’s log


  1. Great list, Bev, wish I had the time to keep more of them!

  2. I make books, I write and draw in a journal and I go bird watching but not until you said it did I think I should take a special bird journal on my next trip.Thank you for pointing out something that should have been obvious to me.

  3. I know what you mean Hilary...time is so scarce. But what a lot of people mistakenly think is that A LOT of time is required to keep a journal. Even just a few minutes a day would work.

    Ooh, a birdwatcher, hey Carol? That's something I've always wanted to get into. I hope someday! Right now I'm only a passive birdwatcher, watching from our livingroom window at the lovelies at our backyard birdfeeder. :)

  4. What a great post! Lots of ideas for inspiration.

    I've been catching up on everyone's blogs now that I'm home again and I think I'll be linking back to this post from my blog once I get the motivation to post!

  5. Thanks so much Kiley! :) Welcome back!
    Sometimes I need to remind myself of these things too...
    The blankbook is soooo versatile!

  6. Hello, Bev. I've just linked to your blog fom The Hermitage !

    Thanks for this list. I love journals-have been keeping them since I was 16 and very depressed, in psychiatric hospital. Am now nearly 42, not depressed, with a pile of journals. (I did destroy two-for very good reasons.)

    Your list of ideas has just given me another one. Namely, I have a long-distance friend (she's in Salt Lake City ; I'm in England ; we met online) and we exchange emails very frequently. What I'm also going to do now is put together a book for her-some of my journal entries, also postcards, etc. and some poems (mine and other people's both.) It's so much fun to receive things in the mail, don't you think ?

    all the best

  7. That's wonderful! :) I'm glad the list has inspired you. I think it's wonderful to keep in touch via snail mail...like you said, you can't beat it! So much fun getting something in the mail!