We all have a different purpose for writing in a journal. Your motivation might be to better understand your life, preserve your stories for future generations, or simply to find the joy in every day. Whatever your goal, it’s easy to find a journal style that’s right for you.
Here are ten fun, focused, and fast journals you can try for yourself. You might end up doing a combination of styles. Keep in mind this isn’t a complete list, so if we’ve missed anything please leave us a comment below the post. Enjoy!
- Common Book: The common book journal underscores the purpose of journal writing as a means of collecting oneself. In a common book, you collect quotes, programs, and playbills, ticket stubs, recipes, receipts, photos, images from catalogs or magazines, prayers, poems, newspaper and magazine clips — anything that has grabbed your attention. Often you do not know why you want to keep these things, but in days to come, you are likely to see a pattern that helps you identify your yearnings. You can take a photograph of these things and import the pictures into your JRNL or you might want to keep an envelope with your printed journal that contains the originals.
- Compliment Journal: Often we dismiss nice things people tell us out of a sense of modesty. We can credit the person who has given us a compliment by writing down what was said, taking it to heart, and being thankful for that kind remark and for that person. (It’s really easy to do this from your phone with the JRNL app.)
- Dream Catcher Journal: As soon as you wake from a dream — or a nightmare! — record every detail you remember. Do not stop to reflect or interpret the dream. Write as if you’re taking notes while watching a movie or as if you are describing a movie to a friend. Note the characters, plot, setting, and special effects (if any). Was the dream in black and white or color? In the upcoming days, you might look back at the dreams you had and be able to interpret it differently.
- Happiness Journal: We are all so busy meeting our responsibilities each day that we hardly have time to realize when we are enjoying ourselves. A happiness journal is not the same as a gratitude journal but it could help you develop the same kind of positive attitude. With a happiness journal, you are recording the times when you were the most happy. (Imagine that.) Search for those moments during the day when you are having fun. Write them down. You may want to create a long list of favorite foods, places, activities, sights, sounds, and aromas that bring you happiness. When the going gets tough and you start to feel frantic, consult your list and choose something that will counteract the stress, give you pause, and help you regain perspective.
- Holiday Journal: Use this journal to plan for and to record the meals, snacks, treats, gifts, special activities, decorations and special guests invited to celebrate a holiday with you. When the holiday is over, review the celebration and note memorable moments and what made the holiday special.
- Household Inventory Journal: Take a look around your home, room by room. List objects you like or the ones that capture your attention. Write descriptions of these items and tell the story of where each came from, how you acquired it, and why it holds special meaning for you. Perhaps one day you will want to pass that item along to someone. If that person knows the story of its meaning in your life, the item becomes a greater treasure to him or her.
- I-Am-Blessed Journal (Gratitude Journal): At some point during the day, write down five things that you are grateful for. Write a stem sentence, “I am so thankful _____________ “ and fill in the blank with a complete sentence five times. Write as quickly as you can; you might surprise yourself by recognizing a blessing you did not appreciate until the instant you wrote it down. It’s okay to write the same blessings over and over again on subsequent days. Some loves in our lives are forever.
- Rate-My-Day or Sentence-a-Day Journal: Write just one sentence each day to summarize your thoughts or feelings. Alternatively, rate your day using the star symbol used by movie restaurant, and theater reviewers. Was it a one-star day, or a five-star day? Explain.
- Theme Journal: Record your reaction and experience of a pregnancy, of becoming a grandparent, of leaving your home and moving to a new place, of retirement. If you are going through a crisis such as a divorce, illness, loss of a job, or mourning a death, confide in a journal to discover how these terrifying and sad events affect your body, mind, and spirit. You’ll end up feeling better after releasing those emotions.
- Spiritual/Prayer Journal: Write down bible verses, quotes, or spiritual thoughts that capture your attention. Then reflect on the message: How is the verse applicable in your life right now? What does it mean to you? You may then want to include a prayer.
Remember that you can easily create a new journal in your JRNL account if you want to try out more than one of the above topical journals and see what works for you. Never worry about writing too much or about including details that a critic-in-your-head would advise you is unimportant or trivial.
Keep these words in mind instead:
There are no little things. “Little things” are the hinges of the universe. – Fanny Fern
True life is lived when tiny choices are made. Tiny choices mean tiny changes. But it is only with infinitesimal change, changes so small no one else even realizes you’re making them, that you have any hope for transformation. – Leo Tolstoy
Feeling inspired? Click here to create or log into your JRNL account.