When you scroll through your Pinterest or Instagram feed, you probably encounter all sorts of posts and examples of journals. Like gorgeous bound leather journals, Bullet Journals, art journals, gratitude journals, prayer journals, journaling Bibles, photo journals, travel journals, sketchbooks… I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Today a journal is not limited to just the “Dear Diary” type of journaling we often think of.
There are tools, styles, and formats for just about everyone these days. With a vast array of supplies, the options for recording your thoughts and ideas are endless. Some are simple and easy while others are works of art and require your time and sometimes lots of art supplies.
To give you a few examples, here is a list of the different ways I currently journal.
My Simple Journaling Routines
The way I journal today has changed over the years. As a young girl, I kept a sporadic “dear diary” type of journal, with weeks and sometimes months between entries. In high school and college, I kept an almost a daily journal, it was a great way to process and document what was going on in my life at the time.
As an adult, I have continued to try different tools and formats. I’ve learned what I like, what I don’t, and most importantly what I will stick long-term. It’s become an essential part of my daily routine.
My blog is a journal of what I’m learning.
This is my (almost) daily photo journal where I share the beauty I find on my walks with Bailey.
Gratitude & Devotions:
This is where I read and write out my verse of the day, a daily gratitude list, my prayers for the day and when I have the time a quick creative project. It’s a simple format that has become the foundation of my new Quiet Time Journal series.
Out of all the planner systems I have tried over the years, the Bullet Journal has been the best. It’s how I keep track of my goals, track habits I’m cultivating and, it’s where I keep my most important tasks for the day in front of me.
This is a journal I pull out only when needed. When I’m struggling with insomnia and with a brain that just won’t quit, I pull out my small notebook and braindump, write out a prayer, or make a list of things I don’t want to forget. Getting it all out of my head and onto paper helps me relax and fall asleep.
What about you?
4 Types of Simple Journals You Could Start Today
My number one recommendation is a gratitude journal. Grab a notebook and a favorite pen and start making a daily list of 3-5 things you are grateful for. Quick and simple.
If you would like help getting started with a simple daily gratitude routine click here.
First introduced by Julia Cameron in her book, “The Artist’s Way,” this method of journaling has no rules other than putting pen to paper and not stopping until you have written three pages. These are private pages, not meant to be artistic or shared.
As Julia says, “They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand.”
You can read more about the idea here.
A creative journal can be an incredibly fun format to explore. It doesn’t have to be a fancy art journal, it can be quick daily sketches, creative writing, poetry, painting, and more. Just something to get you out of your own head for a few minutes and create something just for the fun of it.
One of my favorite resources for simple creative journaling is the book, “Happy Journal, Happy Life” by fellow blogger, Jennie Moraitis. Her book, her website, and her Facebook group are all about helping women develop a creative habit. You can read more about Jennie’s book here.
This could be a digital journal on Facebook or Instagram or could be a physical journal where you print out photos. It might be the photos by themselves or, it could be you add a few important details you don’t want to forget.
Journaling in its various forms is such a great way to document your life, record memories, and track what you are learning. Like any new skill, it’s a habit that needs to be developed and nurtured. Over time you will find what does and doesn’t work for you.
If you would like to start a journaling habit, start small and keep it simple, that way you are more likely to stick with it over time. As you grow and find a tool or a style that works for you, you will naturally find yourself spending more time, writing, documenting, and sometimes sharing what you write.
If you are a journaler what format is your favorite? If you aren’t, did any of the ideas here grab your attention?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer, and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her dogs. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books, and now with the Selah Journal: A reflective journal and mini-retreat. Start your own daily gratitude practice with our, “7 Days of Gratitude Challenge – A Gratitude Journal Starter Kit”.