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What To Do With Notebooks: 13 Types Of Journal

What To Do With Notebooks: 13 Types Of Journal - girl sits on bed with coffee in a mug in her hands and writes in her journal with a blue pen on a white duvet wearing white shorts
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One of the new habits I’ve really been loving these last few months is journaling. It was something I loved doing as a kid and through the influence of a million self-help books and heaps of personal development content, I decided to get back into it. But, I’ve been trying to pick up more than just the traditional style of journaling, there’s loads of types of journal to try! I’ve compiled a quick list, to see which types of journals are right for you.

“Once a day, especially in the early years of life and study, call yourselves to an account what new ideas, what new proposition or truth you have gained, what further confirmation of known truths, and what advances you have made in any part of knowledge.” – Isaac Watts

– Traditional journaling

By ‘traditional journaling’ I just mean the ‘dear diary’ types of journal. It isn’t defined by any kind of rules, it’s simply freewriting as you wish either everyday or every so often. I love this kind of journaling, I find it’s an excellent way to connect with yourself and record and appreciate the little details in life.

– Creativity journal

A creativity journal is a bucket for all your creative ideas. Whenever inspiration hits you, this is your place to jot it down, to flesh out the idea – for brainstorms, lists and references. Maybe it’s a writing journal for your poetry, stories and writing prompts or maybe it’s an art journal for your doodles and inspiration. This could be for anything, it’s up to your creativity to decide.

– Prayer journal

Prayer journals are traditionally for recording religious or spiritual prayers, but they can be used whatever your belief. This is your place to record the conversations you have with God(s), The Universe, your higher self, whatever or whomever you believe in.

– Manifestation journal

I’ve done posts before all about how to use manifestation and the law of attraction and if you’ve read those, you’ll know I really recommend getting your thoughts and dreams out into the world. A manifestation journal is a great way to keep track of your goals and to map your journey with them. Keeping tabs on your progress can be extremely motivating to look back on and will help you enjoy the journey more as you progress. Not to mention how lovely it is to look back on once you’re milestones into your goal.

– Bullet journal

I actually get on very well with agendas, I know many people find them quite restrictive. But this year I opted to go for a bullet journal. I was just beginning my self-employed journey, so I wasn’t sure how I’d like planning things out. I love the flexibility of designing my own spreads. Bullet journals offer a lot of freedom – you can track and plan whatever you want, however you want.

What to include in a bullet journal?

  • Daily schedules
  • Routines
  • Agendas
  • To dos
  • Lists
  • Reminders (events, birthdays, travel plans)
  • Meal plans
  • Workouts
  • Brainstorms

– Dream journal

I’ve been dream journaling for about a month and it’s become such a fun exercise! I frequently have really vivid dreams that I usually remember, but since dream journaling, I’ve been really surprised to look back through my entries and discover how much I’ve forgotten. Dreams can sometimes be surprising in the ideas and insights they bring.

– Travel journal

Even if you’re not one to journal all the time, journaling whilst you travel can be a great way to record the smaller and more intimate parts of a trip. Looking back at photographs and souvenirs is one thing, but having a record of how you felt and what you were thinking is another thing entirely.

– Reading journal

It might feel like you’re back in school, but we were taught to do this for good reason! Recounting stories, taking notes and expressing our thoughts on books, fictional or not, is a great way to improve your memory, better retain what you’re reading and give you a record of the most important/interesting sections of your book.

– Gratitude journal

You’ll likely have seen this idea before, it’s been widely promoted for a couple of years now. In a world that spins as fast as this one, it can be easy to go days, even weeks, without taking time to appreciate the smaller things, to stop and be content exactly where we are.

– Pocket journal

A pocket journal is one of the most versatile types of journal. It’s meant for keeping on your person as much as possible, for all kinds of note taking, lists and spontaneous ideas. Any of these journals could be virtual, but this one could easily just be the notes section of your phone (although you do look pretty cool flipping out a notebook and pen).

– Junk journal

This might not suit everyone, but a junk journal is for putting your more negative thoughts into. Whenever you get hit by a bad mood, a spike of anger or any kind of negative thought spiral, this is your place to vent it. Some people are happy to keep this in their usual journal, but for others there can be a pressure to somewhat censor what they’re saying. Having a separate journal for these thoughts allows you to be as open, angry, sad or negative as you need to to get the energy out.

– Time capsule

For those who don’t like journaling too frequently, having a time capsule journal can be a great way to capture snapshots and recordings of your life to look back on later. You could do this on a certain date every month or couple of weeks, or whenever something big happened in your life. Even recording things like your favourite songs, the shows you’ve been watching, who you’ve been hanging out with – these will all be cherished nostalgic details to look back on in the years to come.

– Project journal

A project journal tracks the progress or journey you’re taking in one aspect of your life. This could be for a big event, like a wedding, moving cities, starting a new school, changing careers – anything. By focusing on one subject you can make sure you record lots of details on the progress and evolution of the path as you walk it. Especially for something life-changing, it can be really fun to look back on how your life slowly morphed from one thing into another.

And there you have it! 13 types of journal. If you’re looking for a more general guide on journaling, I’ve got you covered there too.

Below are the two types of journals I use, the grey one’s dotted paper (perfect for bullet journals) and the black one’s lined (perfect for everything else). I’d recommend both! The black ones are especially lovely as you can personalise the cover with stickers.

And also the ‘6-minute journal’ that I haven’t used personally (I love freewriting too much!) but has been recommended to me many times as a great choice for beginners. It gives you daily prompts and templates for trackers, etc. to get you into journaling if you’re just starting out.

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What types of journal do you guys keep? Are you starting out with journaling? Let me know in the comments below.

Enjoy! Love, Ella-Rose xx

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  • Abigail

    I’ve been wanting to start a bullet journal! I love the way they look.

    • Ella

      They’re so helpful and the fact that you can be so creative with them is the best part!

  • Chloe

    I love notebooks! I enjoy making lists and writing down y thoughts but I want to be more creative with them too. I was thinking of starting a bullet journal and reading journal. There are some great other options on here too that I’m going to give a try. Great ideas and post!

    • Ella

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed! I hope you have fun creating them, it’s a great creative outlet 🙂

  • Corinne

    Great tips! I just took up journaling and have been enjoying it. At the moment, I just focus on goals, inspirational and motivational quotes to help me get started. Perhaps I will buy more notebooks in the future for other topics.

    • Ella

      I think it’s always best to just commit to one at first, otherwise it can get a bit overwhelming! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Faye

    Great list! I’d say my go-to’s are creativity journals (which I use as both a sketchbook and for note taking) and a pocket journal. I like how casual they both are! 🙂 x

    • Ella

      Yes, the casual ones are great options 🙂 I need to start a proper pocket journal, I usually use my phone notes but it’s just not the same!

  • lifestyleseason

    Great post! I have a few notebooks lying around so this is very useful!

    • Ella

      I’m pleased I could be of help! I hope you have fun with them 🙂

  • Pragati Mahapatra

    I have been journaling for as long as I can remember. These seem like good tips 🙂

    • Ella

      It’s such a great habit to have 🙂 I’m pleased you think so! Thanks for visiting

  • Jaya Avendel

    I love notebooks and, though mine often fill up with stories and poems, I kept a travel journal for my travels last year. Reading back through my entries and collaged pages takes me right back to the trip. Memories on a page. 🙂

    • Ella

      Yes! They’re an excellent way to capture the more intimate memories you can’t capture with a photo or might be liable to forget. There’s such a fantastic nostalgia that can be brought about by reading your thoughts from the time as well as just remembering the who, what and where 🙂

  • Amber Page

    This is such a lovely post i hadn’t thought about a lot of those options! I love journals I cannot wait to get one for myself now!

    Amber – The Unpredicted Page

    • Ella

      I’m glad you liked it! There’s so many things you can do, I hope you enjoy giving them a go 🙂

  • Elizabeth Hartley

    I love the idea of having a bullet journal but I struggle with creating it myself and being that organised, I love regular journalling though!

    • Ella

      Yes I understand that! It’s freeing that it can be completely custom to you, but that can also be a little overwhelming. If you ever give it a go, I’d just say to make sure you start small and don’t fret too much about consistency or presentation. Thanks for commenting!

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