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15 Different Types of Journaling (+ Which One Is Right For You)

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I think many of us can agree that journaling is a fantastic way to express yourself and your creativity, as well as help you to improve your well-being and mindfulness.

But when there are so many different kinds of journals to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?

I’m here to help! I’ve kept journals for as long as I can remember.

While mine started out as a simple daily journal, I’ve since tried various types of journaling – from junk journaling and art journaling to nature journaling and even keeping a baking journal.

Read on to hear what I have to say about the types of journals you can keep (with examples where possible). If you’re new to journaling, then I genuinely hope this blog post will help you find the right kind for you.

15 Different Types of Journaling (+ Which One Is Right For You)

1. Junk Journaling

Junk journaling involves making journals, page spreads and handmade ephemera using recycled materials, such as paper scraps, book pages, music sheets, maps, illustrations and more. Essentially, you’re giving something a new purpose, which you’ll then use in your journal.

A page spread in my junk journal (aka my favourite type of journaling!)
Using a vintage ticket in my junk journal to hide a secret writing spot

Junk journaling is my favourite type of journaling for lots of reasons. It’s a great way to use up your stash of craft supplies, recycle old papers and make something beautiful and unique. And the best bit? You don’t need to follow any set rules or guidelines, so your junk journal can look however you want it to look. It’s incredibly freeing!

Junk journaling is right for you if: You’re interested in upcycling projects and taking your creativity to new heights. Junk journals are also perfect for anyone who loves mixed media art, vintage styles and one-of-a-kind stuff.

READ NEXT:

2. Bullet Journaling

Bullet journaling involves using a simple system of symbols, lists and trackers to organise different parts of your life. Most people who have a bullet journal use it to plan their goals, manage their to-do lists and track their habits. But you can also use a bullet journal as your daily journal.

I personally find bullet journaling difficult because I find the page spreads a little restricting and I don’t love my handwriting. I’d much rather write on little bits of paper or a tag that I can then slip into a pocket or clip into my journal.

Bullet journaling is right for you if: You love minimalistic page spreads and want to be more organised and productive.

3. Daily Journaling

Daily journaling involves writing about your thoughts, feelings, experiences and reflections every day, or at least several times per week. You might also hear daily journals referred to as writing journals.

One of my page spreads in my daily journal
Sometimes I use my daily journal for little notes, as well as doing art journal spreads

Writing in a journal regularly is a great way to practice mindfulness, self-care and gratitude. You can also easily combine this type of journaling with most – if not all – of the other kinds mentioned in this blog post.

For example, you can do your daily journaling in a junk journal or altered book journal (like I do), or include a section in your bullet journal for recording your thoughts.

Daily journaling is right for you if: You want a place to record your innermost thoughts and feelings, or if you want to practice mindfulness and improve your wellbeing.

READ NEXT: 52 Journal Prompts To Help You Write In Your Journal

4. Nature Journaling

Nature journaling is where you observe and record the natural world around you. You might simply write down what you see and when, or draw what you see and make notes around your drawing. You might even collect specimens in your nature journal, which you’ll record your findings next to.

An example of a nature journal page
I’m not great at drawing so I use book images to help me record what I see on my nature walks

Nature journaling helps you to enhance your awareness, appreciation and curiosity for nature and the world around you.

I’m not amazing at drawing, so I usually write notes about what I see, use book images or collect actual specimens. I sometimes also write little poems about what I see during my nature walks. To me, this is another form of daily journaling, but it doesn’t have to be.

Nature journaling is right for you if: You enjoy being outside and want to learn more about the flora and fauna you see during your walks or outdoor adventures.

READ NEXT: How To Keep Pressed Flowers In A Journal (7 Easy Ideas To Try!)

5. Productivity Journaling

Productivity journaling is where you record specific goals you want to achieve and when, which you can then break down into bite-sized and more achievable goals. You can then use your productivity journal to track your progress for both your high-level and smaller goals.

This type of journaling will help you to stay motivated as you go after your dreams and ambitions. But it’ll also prevent you from feeling overwhelmed if you have some big goals you want to achieve.

Productivity journaling is right for you if: You have big goals (or a lot of smaller goals) you want to achieve and you want to track your progress.

6. Project Journaling

Project journaling involves documenting the progress and process of a specific project or hobby. For example, if you have a big sewing project you want to work on, your project journal will help you break down the project into specific tasks you need to complete and when.

Writing in my project journal
Breaking down big projects thanks to journaling

Think of project journaling as the Gantt chart of journaling. It’s also a little like the productivity journaling I mentioned earlier. But this time, you can stay focused on a particular project, not just your overall goals.

Today, I use Trello as a type of project journal to keep me focused on my business as well as my craft projects. I promise I’ll share a blog post all about this soon!

Project journaling is right for you if: You have a creative hobby, side hustle or passion project that you want to stay focused on.

READ NEXT: How To Make Money From Crafting – 10 Tips & Ideas To Try

7. Gratitude or Happiness Journaling

Gratitude journaling, sometimes also called happiness journaling, involves focusing on the positive aspects of your life and expressing gratitude for them. This type of journaling can be as simple as making lists of things you’re grateful for each day, week, month or year, or even just jotting down things that make you happy as and when they happen.

I used to have a happiness journal, which turns into a sun shape once you’ve recorded 365 things that made you smile. I must say, it was a lovely book to look back on once the year had finished as you can sometimes forget the little things that make you happy.

Gratitude or happiness journals are right for you if: You want to practice gratitude and mindfulness, boost your mood and mental health, or simply remember all the little things that make you smile.

8. Dream Journaling

Dream journaling involves recording and interpreting your dreams as soon as you wake up. It’s a great way to explore your subconscious mind, uncover hidden meanings and unleash your creativity – especially if you have weird or frightening dreams that you want to either stop or understand better.

I don’t always remember my dreams, but when I do, I often record them in my daily journal. I also have a dreams interpretation book, which has been very helpful in understanding some of my more unusual dreams.

Dream journals are right for you if: You’re fascinated by or scared of your dreams and want to understand them better.

9. Art Journaling

Art journaling is one of the most popular types of journaling. It involves using various art mediums and techniques to create visual page layouts related to your emotions, thoughts and imagination. Or you can simply do it purely for fun!

Art journaling is a fun type of journaling that anyone can do!
One of my abstract art journal spreads

Art journaling helps you to unleash your creativity and experiment with different styles. But most of all, art journals are fun! Many people who use art journals also like junk journals, and vice versa, so you’ll often find these two forms of journaling are interchangeable.

Art journaling is right for you if: You love art and experimenting with new techniques and want to express yourself artistically.

READ NEXT: Altered Book Pages – 11 Easy & Beautiful Page Ideas To Inspire You!

10. Food Journals

Using a food journal involves tracking what you eat and drink every day to help you monitor your nutrition, health and habits. You can use it to record the actual food you have each day. Or you can note simple things like how many portions of fruit and veg you’re having each day and how many litres of water you’re drinking.

I keep a food journal as part of my WW (formerly Weight Watchers) program as I find it keeps me accountable and on track towards my goals. I actually bought a readymade tracker journal, so I only have to fill in boxes rather than make page spreads every day. I’ll also record a note each day related to how I’m feeling, so my food journal also doubles up as a kind of daily journal.

Food journals are right for you if: You want to improve your diet and nutrition.

11. Baking & Recipe Journals

If you want somewhere to record your favourite recipes, then this is where baking and recipe journals come in. They’re a lot of fun to make, but you can also choose from a variety of shop-bought recipe journals, which are often ring-bound.

Recipe junk journal tags
The tags and journal cards I made for my recipe journals

I made two recipe journals from some placemats my mum had made for me. I have one for starters and mains and another specifically for desserts. The latter of which gets used more than the other *wink*

Baking and recipe journals are right for you if: You want somewhere to record your favourite recipes and maybe even pass them on to future generations.

12. Reading Journals

Keeping a reading journal involves writing about the books you read and how they affect you, as well as what books you still have on your TBR (to-be-read) list. Think of them like the “bullet journals of books and reading”.

Reading journals are right for you if: You love reading and want to enrich your reading experience, or you simply want to keep a note of all the books you hope to read one day.

13. Travel Journaling

Travel journaling is where you document your travels and adventures. You might write about your trips or save mementoes in your journal from your travels, such as tickets, postcards and photos.

If I didn’t have a travel blog where I share all my adventures, I’d definitely make use of a travel journal. Way back when, I actually used to make scrapbook collages out of all my tickets and travel mementoes, so – just like most kinds of journaling – you don’t even have to write anything if you don’t want to.

Travel journaling is right for you if: You love travelling and want somewhere to record your adventures and memories.

14. Planner Journaling

Planner journaling (not to be confused with productivity or project journaling) involves using a planner or calendar to plan your events, appointments, activities and reminders. This type of journaling will help you stay organised and complete the tasks on your to-do list on time.

Planner journal open on the table with a vase of flowers next to it
Using a planner to stay on track of daily tasks and to-do’s

While I used to have this planner, I now use Trello to plan my days, weeks and months – as you can see in this video. I’m often away travelling for work, so with Trello, I can keep on top of my tasks and schedule without lugging around a physical planner with me.

Planner journaling is right for you if: You have a busy schedule (or a long to-do list!) and you want to manage your time more efficiently.

15. Bible Journaling

Bible journaling involves writing or drawing on the pages of a Bible or using a separate journal to reflect on the scriptures. Most people who try Bible journaling do so to deepen their faith, study the word of God and express their spirituality.

If you like, you can combine bible journaling with other types of journaling, such as art journals and junk journals; allowing you to express your creativity as well as your spirituality.

Bible journaling is right for you if: You want to connect with your God through creative worship.

One More Thing…

Now that you’ve read all about the different types of journaling, which one do you think you’ll try? Or, if you already keep a journal, what do you use yours for? Let me know in the comments below…

Also, if you ever struggle with what to write in your journal, then you might find writing prompts useful. I certainly do!

Here’s a list of 52 journal prompts (one for each week of the year) to keep you writing away.

Did you like this list of the types of journals you can keep? Why not pin or bookmark this blog post now, so you can refer back to it later?

15 Different Types of Journaling (+ Which One Is Right For You)
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Justine Jenkins

Justine is the brains behind the House of Mahalo craft blog, YouTube channel and Etsy shop. She's been cross-stitching since she was 10, baking since she was 6 and just generally creating something fabulous for as far back as she can remember. In 2020, Justine started upcycling various items around the house, and in 2021, she discovered the wonderful world of junk journals. Since then, she's made well over 30 journals and folios by hand, alongside various handmade gifts and home decor pieces. Justine now shares tutorials and inspiring DIY ideas via this craft blog, her YouTube videos and in her Facebook group called Junk Journal Ideas and Inspiration.

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