Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How I Journal

I've always loved journaling and having blank notebooks and journals. I love filling the pages with my thoughts and ideas and even when I have a journal I'm already using it's fun to wander around the journal section of the store to see what they have.

The idea of sitting down and writing in a journal every day is the dream. Writing out my hearts desires, my dreams, my failures, my fears, and having my memories there on the pages for me to go back and read upon later is what I've always imagined what journaling should be. I have old journals and diaries stored away in a box somewhere and from time to time I go back and dust them off and relive my childhood and high school days.

As I've gotten older, I haven't had the time or dedication to writing in my journal every single day. It's been said to help boost your creativity a habit to get into is to free write three pages each morning when you get up. I tried to do this for a little while, but I skipped one day and then one day became three days then three days became three weeks... you get the idea.

Not long ago, Amber over at Mr. Thomas and Me wrote a blog post about bullet journaling and how much she loved it. Then, Amanda over at Musical Poem said she gave it a try and she loves it too! I gave it a look and thought I would try it too.

My method of journaling isn't quite bullet journaling, but more inspired by it. Honestly, it works and it's been awesome! When I have the chance, I still write out "real" journal entries, but I've really enjoyed using my journal more as a "catch all" for all of the random things through my day.

The Type of Journal I Use

There's nothing like a good leather journal. The one I've been using for awhile now is pictured above and I got it at Barnes and Noble. It's a soft leather, the pages open flat well, and there's a ribbon to use as a bookmark. But I don't use leather exclusively. In fact, the next journal I have lined up for when this one is all used (which is soon) is a Snow White one a friend got me for my birthday last year. So, whatever works for you!


I've found when I'm planning out my blog and vlog, I need a calendar! I used to just schedule out what I was going to be doing for the blog and my YouTube channel on my main calendar, but something about it didn't feel right. So, I started to hand write a calendar in my journal and it works so much better. I highlight, make notes, etc. and it's lovely.

To Do List

I also have found I love having a to-do list. It helps to keep me organized and be sure I am on top of things and don't forget what I need to get done. Since what I need to do at work doesn't seep into my personal and home life, I leave that out, and I only make a list of personal things I need to do. Social media stuff, people I need to call, what songs I want to practice on the ukulele, etc. I have a to-do list for each week and I label each item at the end by which date it needs to be done by. Then, there is a little box next to each item so I can check it off when I'm done.


When I'm brainstorming, especially for a writing project, I do much better handwriting it than anything else. Making lists, drawing maps and diagrams, etc. I've dedicated a couple pages in my journal for novel brainstorming. There are also pages with all of my ideas for blogging and vlogging. Most of my pages in my journal are of this nature. Lists, pages of quotes I find that I want to remember, brainstorming ideas, writing projects, my To-Be-Read lists, books I've completed, etc.


Because I use so many pages throughout the month, I had to think of a way to keep it all organized and know where everything was. In bullet-journaling they suggest having a table of contents. I've tried this in the past for journals, and it's never worked. This time, I made my own system.

First, I keep the ribbon bookmark with my calendar so it's there and ready the whole month.

Then, I got another bookmark which I keep at the next available page so when I need to start something new, it's at my fingertips and I don't need to go searching for a blank page.

For everything else, I use little sticky-note tabs.

I label them with a word or two of what their page contains, and I stick them on the side.

Someday, I hope I can do more of writing daily journal entries, and I do try to when I can. But, I've found having this system for journaling is wonderful too! It gives a little snap shot of my day-to-day life and what I'm thinking about and doing, and it keeps me organized. It's been awesome!

Do you journal? Do you have any sort of system that you use? How do you keep yourself organized?

Join Erica Jacquline for Writing Wednesday! Coincidentally, she's talking about writing morning pages today!

Erica Jacquline


  1. On a whim, I decided to see if I could journal every day this year. So far, so good!

    For me, journaling is my time to process life, so I write about the things that happen in my day, the bajillions of thoughts running through my head, and my prayers. I use a paper planner to plot out stuff that happens in my day, along with blog posts, and there's a to do list in my planner as well. And then I keep a notebook with me for brainstorming ideas.

  2. Ok, I completely love that you've taken this as a recommendation instead of as a complete rule because THAT is the heart of bullet journaling! :) I've realized that I'm changing mine little by little each day because I want it to be PERFECTLY tailored to my life and my schedule. :)

  3. Your journal is so pretty! Puts mine to shame. Love the idea of bullet journal I have wanted to try it but haven't just because of time. I do love having a nice journal to write in. It makes me happy to write every day. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Emily, this is awesome! I started a bullet journal at the end of June and I will never go back! I love how you have used some of the basics of a bullet journal, but then made it all your own. That rocks. :)


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