Tuesday, October 21, 2014

13 Ideas for Journals to Write

While it's all fine and dandy to document your personal timeline in a journal with a few paragraphs semi-daily, there are zillions of ways to journal, so if you're feeling particularly creative and you think Future You would adore you for making an extra special source of nostalgia, perhaps you'd like to try writing one of these.

1. Write a scavenger's journal.*
Instead of writing about your day, collect your day in souvenirs and put them together like a puzzle on the date's page in your journal. Use the stickers from the orange you ate at breakfast, the feather you found on your morning walk, the tags from the clothes you bought at the thrift store, the gum you chewed on your way home, and the fortune you got from your fortune cookie. Staple, glue, tape, or just toss them in, and maybe write a little bit next to each thing. Flat lightweight objects work best, but be imaginative. If you find a scallop shell you'd like to add but it's too bulky, smash it to pieces and arrange them again on the page. Or, you could make an envelope journal and fill the envelopes, marking them with the date and maybe some information about the objects inside.
*Inspired by Keri Smith's How to Be an Explorer of the World.

2. Write notes to yourself.
Keep track of your own life lessons learned from personal experience by collecting notes to yourself. Start with "note to self:" when writing each note, and maybe add the date and/or time next to them. It'll fill up to be a book of offbeat knowledge to keep you from making the same silly mistakes.

3. Write the chronicles of an imaginary land.
Come up with an imaginary land and begin by writing everything about it: about its inhabitants, its maps, its secrets, its history. Keep adding (make fold-out pages for more space if you run out) while you document the timeline of your imaginary land. Write about civil disputes, natural disasters, or just your everyday visits. Protect this journal with your life, if falling into the wrong hands would spell catastrophe.

4. Draw comics of highlight moments from your day.
Even if all you know how to do is draw stick people and dogs with two legs, you can draw your life. Pick a memorable or meaningful moment from your day and instead of writing about it, sketch it out as it happened. Use speech bubbles for thoughts or spoken words, or narrate the story in captions. Alternatively, you could draw a situation how you wished it had happened. Rewrite awkward dialogues. Rewrite yourself on the back of a unicorn trotting into the sunset after saving the world. It's your journal!

5. Keep a record of your dreams.
Keep this journal under your pillow or beside your bed with something to write with, so when you wake up from a dream you can vividly or vaguely remember, you can whip it out and scribble it down before your memory fades and erodes the impulsive feelings with it. Be sure to portray those feelings in your dream documentation, too; you might feel silly about them when it's not 2am anymore, but they were real once, and that's important.

6. Keep a collection of to-do lists.
If you find yourself writing several to-do lists a week (or even a day), maybe you'd like to hold onto them. A journal like this could duly include to-watch lists, to-read lists, to-make lists, and any other kind of to-[insert verb here] list. They happen to speak a great deal about your life, so keeping a collection of them is especially nifty for people who wish to journal, but simply don't feel like writing specifically to journal. It's best to use a binder for this project, so that way you can keep writing to-do lists on ripped pieces of paper and spare napkins and yet easily add them to your journal using a hole puncher or clear slip covers.

7. Collect quotes.
Silkworm and I are hunters and gatherers of quotes, continuously on the look-out for inspiring words or phrases that make us reconsider life. For a while, we kept losing the best ones because we didn't have a place to put them, but then we made a special spot for them and all was well with the world. Be creative with your journal--print out quotes and cut and paste; paint a background to write over; scan words onto pictures and glue those pictures down, or just simply write down your favorite quotes without the fancy schmancy embellishing. Either way, you'll always have a reliable reference when you're trying to remember a quote you once read.

8. Make collages motivating yourself toward your goals.
Each goal gets it's own page or two. Decorate the page to motivate yourself towards fulfilling the goal. Cut and paste pictures, write what you can look forward to--anything that encourages you. Promise yourself a reward for accomplishing each goal, so when you finally do, throw that tea party for one or buy yourself that trinket from the thrift store. Keep track of your accomplishments, perhaps on the same page as the goals or in the front or back of the journal. Be sure to write a little note of congratulations to yourself, as well. Or, if you've got a major goal you're trying to accomplish, maybe it would like its own journal.

9. Write the playlist from the radio inside your head.
Make a note of what song is stuck in your head everyday. For me, it's almost always something, and whenever I've got nothing, my factory default is set to Here Comes Peter Cottontail. (In my defense, Easter is always on it's way, except for one calendar day.)

10. Document the life of a family of wildlife.
Perhaps you've discovered a family of birds nesting with newborn babies in a bush or tree somewhere, or a similar situation. Visit the nest everyday and document it. Photograph the babies, if you can without disturbing them. Watch them grow up. Make a note of the things their parents bring them for supper. Find out what species they are and research them--the Internet's fine, but check out a stack of books from the library, too.

11. Write about your Missions of Magic as an Enchantemissary.
Silkworm and I created the concept of Enchantemissaries to put a magical spin on random acts of kindness. An Enchantemissary's mission is to make the world more magical for strangers in hopes of proving life isn't as boring and cruel as people like to believe, and to do so, they design and carry out Missions of Magic such as scattering message stones around or releasing plastic animals for a safari at the park. Missions can be as intricate as the Enchantemissary would like, so planning them in a journal can be quite helpful. You could also keep ideas and inspiration in your journal, such as book titles on yarn bombing, craft tutorials, and articles on random acts of kindness around the world.

12. Write a bucket list book.
Fill it with anything and everything you've ever wanted to do in life. Never mind logic; let yourself dream. Make collages of places you want to visit, research animals you want to see in person, include recipes you want to try or tutorials for things you want to make. Keep it optimistic, and keep in mind anything can happen.

13. Adopt a stuffed animal and write about your adventures together.
Name it, make your own adoption certificate, whatever floats your boat. Then document your lives together with pictures and such. Bring your stuffed animal wherever you go so you'll have lots to journal about. If you'd like some ideas of things to do, Silkworm and I put together a list. Perhaps your friendship will last beyond the last page of your first journal!

When it comes to journaling, the best advice I can think to give is to just go for it. Try to avoid looking at other peoples' journals and focus on your own. Don't let yourself be intimidated by blank pages--just write. Make something. And whatever you do, don't wait until tomorrow to get started.


  1. I do numbers 2, 5, 6, and 7 with my two journals that I have! I would like to add 3 and 9 : ) Thanks for the fun ideas!

    1. Notes to yourself, dream records, to-do lists, and quotes definitely make a wonderful all-encompassing journal! #3, the one about an imaginary land, that one is my favorite I think.

  2. I love all of these ideas! And your illustrations are wonderful, as always. :)


  3. Great ideas! I do 7 and 12 and actually started a number 3 the other day, I thought I was crazy to document the land inside my head but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who thinks it's a good idea! I agree on it not falling into the wrong hands though!

    1. Thanks Erin! Haha, you make it sound like you were ordering fast food. "I'll take a number 2 aaaand a coke." Yes! I've always loved the idea of writing about my own personal imaginary land. I feel like it could easily turn into a novel!

    2. Hahah does the number 3 come with fries? You inspired me so much that I actually rode my bike to the shops today to buy a nice little notebook to write my imaginary life in! New notebooks are such a weakness :P

    3. Ahhh you are the best, I'm telling you Erin, every move you make makes me wanna move a little more. ♥

  4. I was looking at my diary the other day and thinking I need to write something more in it. There is nothing more inspiring than quotes, I am going to go quote hunting :)

    1. Yes! You know what, I think a list of our favorite quotes might make a good blog post someday, actually. So thank YOU for the means of the idea!

  5. I have a five year line a day journal because I could never commit to writing lengthy notes at the end of each day - it's the best thing I've ever bought. I love reading back and seeing what was important to me on any given day throughout the years!

    Charlotte's Web | The London Project

    1. That's a cool one, I've seen those before! It's definitely a great way for busy people to journal. :)

  6. Bookmarking this---so many great ideas, and so much inspiration! ♥ (<-- Come to think of it, this statement applies to your whole blog!) The possibilities are endless with journals, but you've created a fantastic handy-dandy starting map to explore the land of Journaling with, which I thank you for!

  7. Every word you write always means so much to me, Kat. Thanky spankies!

  8. These are great ideas. :) I really love it!!



Silkworm and I love hearing what other people think. In fact, it's probably our favorite thing, so don't be shy to leave us a note or ask a question!

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