As someone who has been journaling for over 15 years, I have experimented with all types of journaling styles—and there are many. From traditional journaling to passion journaling, there are so many styles that might work for some but not for others. However, if journaling is of interest to you, there is bound to be a perfect style for you. All forms of journaling have self-preservation at their core, so keep that in mind when trying out a style.
For the writer and thinker: Traditional Journaling
Traditional, or long-form, journaling is perhaps the most common style. This is where you write at length about your day, your feelings, or significant events. It works wonders as a form of therapy and self-analysis. Ultimately, it is perfect for those who feel they have “a lot on their minds.”
Morning pages are a particular type of long-form journaling. It’s when you write three pages of whatever thoughts are in your head at the start of the day. This kind of “brain dump” ultimately helps you clear your mind for the day ahead. Alternatively, some people like to save this process until right before they go to bed.
A Word program on your computer or a ruled notebook is typically best for this particular type of journaling. However, a dot-grid notebook offers some flexibility, too.
For the organizer: Bullet Journaling
If you’re familiar at all with my writing, you’ll know that I’ve written about bullet journaling a lot already. I have been bullet journaling for a few years now and I love it. Not only does it help me organize my year, month, and days, but it also helps me keep track of my habits, spending patterns, and favorite things, all in one place.
If you like to keep a planner but find it too restrictive, I’d suggest keeping a bullet journal instead. Recently, I shared my method on how to keep a minimal bullet journal and incorporate long-form journaling into it. If you’re anything like me, writing down your tasks and goals on paper versus in your digital calendar helps you manifest them better. Bullet journaling offers just that.
Dot-grid notebooks are best for bullet journaling because of the flexibility and freedom, but regular grid or even ruled notebooks could work, too.
For the reminiscer: Scrapbooking
When I was younger, I used to be big on scrapbooking. I used to take pictures of everything, then print them out and add them to my scrapbook. I filled my scrapbook with memories big and small, and saved all kinds of things: fortune cookie fortunes, movie stubs, and even video game receipts.
Ultimately, I just loved the idea of packing a notebook full of visual memories. While traditional journaling was something I needed to work through sad memories, scrapbooking was something that helped me preserve happy memories. I had a scrapbook for my high school prom, my first trip to Europe, and of my polaroids. Each one was decorated accordingly and I packed them with the sweetest, smallest things that could transport me back in time.
If you’re looking for a way to preserve happy life events, and perhaps pass them down to your loved ones, scrapbooking is the way to go. I’d suggest using a photo album as a scrapbook, or a blank, unruled journal that can handle a lot of glue (or paper clips).
For the hobbyist: Passion Journaling
When Moleskine debuted Passion journals several years ago, I rejoiced. I had so many favorite books and films, yet never considered journaling about them in one respective place before. If you’re a hobbyist and want to document all your favorite things, then keeping a passion journal might be perfect for you.
In addition to keeping a book journal, I also have video game journals. Currently, I have a dot-grid notebook just for my Animal Crossing: New Horizons adventures that I treat just like my bullet journal. I have a calendar for each month, followed by events, resident birthdays, tasks, and projects I’m working on. I also have a ruled notebook for Pokémon Sword/Shield, where I jot down team ideas for tournaments, thoughts on events, and other things.
For passion journaling, any notebook works! But I always recommend a dot-grid notebook if you want more layout flexibility.
For the enlightened: Dream & Gratitude Journaling
Both dream journaling and gratitude journaling have their separate benefits. While dream journaling helps you analyze your subconscious, gratitude journaling helps you appreciate your reality. If self-betterment is a goal for you, I suggest trying one, or both.
Record your dreams in a separate notebook to further analyze at a later point. This also is a wonderful aid to therapy and interpretation. Meanwhile, gratitude journaling helps you appreciate the things you already have that you might have taken for granted. Both methods help you get to the core of your true self.
What journaling methods work the best for you? Which of these haven’t you tried yet, but feel like you might want to? I’d love to know!
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Megan Portorreal is a professional writer, editor, and creative in the New York City area. In her spare time, she enjoys reading books, writing about her life, and playing video games.