• Helen Colebrook

What Kind of Journal Should You Keep?


Journal Stack

I often get asked for advice by people wondering what sort of journal would work best for them. That's a really difficult question to answer! I keep lots of different types of journals, because they all bring me a variety of benefits. There are some journals that I write in every day and some that I only pick up from time to time, depending on when the mood strikes me.


To try and help you choose which type of journal, or journals, might be best for you, I am sharing the different types I use and what type of journaling they suit. I hope this helps to point you in the right direction.


Daily Journal (Record Keeping)

Daily Journal

As the name suggests, I use this journal for keeping a brief record of the things that have happened each day. There isn't lots of space, so I don't feel any pressure to spend hours writing everything down. I just focus on a few key points from the day and it takes me no more than 5 minutes to keep this journal up to date each evening.


On the right-hand page, I like to add some decoration or photos, along with a little more reflective writing on how my week has been as a whole. This is one of my favourite journals to keep and look back through.


If you are looking to keep a record of your life, but don't have loads of time on your hands, this could be a great journal option for you.


Journal used: Weekly Planner insert, inside a Vintage Lite Travelers Notebook cover.


Junk Journal

Junk Journal

If you are looking for a journal with less structure, where you can stick in tickets, postcards, ephemera and write for as long or as little as you like, then a Junk Journal might be perfect for you. In this journal, I tend to focus more on how I am feeling about things, rather than just the specifics of what happened. I also love sticking in bits of paper, envelopes and food wrappers. It's a very liberating and creative way to document your life.


If you're interested in finding out more about junk journaling, I would recommend you read my blog post, called The Joy of Junk Journals.


My junk journal and vintage ephemera come from London Gifties.


Creative Journal

Creative Journal

My Creative Journal brings me so much joy. I use this when I want to complete some reflective journaling on a particular topic or feeling, whilst getting creative and immersing myself in the process. I tend to use colours that reflect the changes in nature that are going on around me. Taking the time to get creative and write a few notes is always hugely relaxing. I often film the creation of these videos, which you can find on my Journal With Me playlist on YouTube.


I don't write in this journal every day, it's just one that I pick up when I really fancy taking the time to get creative and empty my mind. If you enjoy getting creative and playing with different layouts, this could be a great option for you to consider.


Products used: Blank insert from Start Bay Notebooks, ephemera from London Gifties and my own product range.


Bullet Journal

Bullet Journal

A Bullet Journal is a fantastic tool if you have lots that you want to plan and keep track of. You can find out more about them on the offical Bullet Journal website. I use mine to keep track of all my tasks for work and home, plan out my meals, keep track of healthy habits and plan out my life goals. I would be genuinely lost without my bullet journal and I use it every day. Being able to add lots of creative touches and design my own layouts is a huge plus.


I film the setup of my bullet journal each month, which you can watch on my Plan With Me series on YouTube. I am also the author of a book dedicated to showing you lots of different ways to decorate your journal.


So, if you are looking for a fun and flexible way to get planning, I would definitely recommend considering a bullet journal.


Products used: Rhodia dotted Goalbook inside a Paisley Etched Cover.


Free Flow Journal

Free Flow Journal

This is my private journal, that I keep completely to myself. I use this to write freely about every little thought that enters my head. This journal truly does contain the good, the bad and the ugly! I write in this anytime I have a lot going on in my mind and I need to find a way of processing it.


Free flow writing is a great way of listening to all of the thoughts that are swimming around in your head, that perhaps you have been trying to ignore. I don't censor my writing in this journal at all. If I'm feeling really fed up about a situation, then it will be written about, in detail, on these journal pages. I always aim to bring myself back into a more positive state of mind by exploring what actions I can take to move forwards. It's such a relief to get those thoughts out of my head and onto paper.


If you are the type of person that feels your mind is always over-flowing with thoughts, ideas, worries, grand plans and a thousand other things, this might be the answer you are looking for.


Supplies used: Journal from London Gifties


Art Journal

Art Journal

Art Journals are a great way of expressing yourself through images and mixed media. I love building up all the different layers using gesso, texture paste, acrylic paint, splatters and collage. I focus on the pure joy of creating in this journal, with my writing very much being an after-thought. It's great to be able to express yourself through the colours and images you use, whilst getting nicely messy in the process.


If you are more of a visual person, and not so concerned with writing, you might find that keeping an art journal is a really fun and rewarding way to get your feelings onto paper.


Supplies used: Dylusions Art Journal


Prompt Journals

Prompt Journals

If you enjoy following along with prompts, enjoy self-development or are stuck for what you want to write about, a prompt journal can be a great option. They guide you through some really thought-provoking questions and get you to examine areas of your life that you may not have given much consideration to before.


There are lots of great options on the market, depending on the types of things you want to write about. The two journals featured in this photo are The Daily Stoic Journal and the Leuchtturm 1917 Change Journal.


Sketch Journal

Sketch Journal

I love using a Sketch Journal to document nature, doodle, practise illustrations that I want to include in my journal and to keep a record of progress in my creative skills. I keep this as a "no pressure" place to create with no expectations. It includes lots of playful pages that reflect the mood that I was in when I created them. I probably create in this journal two or three times a week.


If you are wanting to make sketching and creativity a regular part of your life, in a non-pressurised way, then this could be a great option for you.


Supplies used: Khadi pad and watercolours from London Gifties.


Extra Inspiration


If you have been bitten by the journaling bug, you can find some extra inspiration below:


* Books: In October 2019, my first journaling book was published, which you can find here. I've also written a blog post featuring some of my favourite journaling books here.


* Blog Posts: Other blog posts that you might find helpful are 5 Ways to Keep a Journal, 10 Things to Write about in Your Journal, Favourite Bullet Journal Spreads, Journal Inspiration and The Benefits of Keeping a Journal.


* Online Workshops: I release my journaling workshops on Skillshare. It's a fantastic online learning platform, with thousands of really great classes. I currently have 5 published classes, where I take you indepth through my journaling proces, with lots more classes planned for this year. You can try Skillshare out for 2 months free of charge, to see if it's for you, by clicking here. You can see the classes I have available here.


*Journaling Products: I have my own journaling product range, called Everyday Journaling, which is available exclusively through CraftStash. These products are designed to make the process of journaling fun and easy. You can find my range here.


*Stationery Supplies: If you are looking for some more more journals or stationery supplies, then I can happily recommend the following:


Start Bay Notebooks: for gorgeous covers and journals. You can use code JWP10 for 10% off your purchase

Cult Pens: for a fantastic range of beautiful stationery

London Gifties: for stunning vintage ephemera, stamps and washi tape


*Some of these links contain affiliate links, meaning that I earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.


I really hope this blog post has helped to give you an idea of the wide variety of journals that you could keep, along with some thoughts as to which would suit you best. I recently shared a video on YouTube, showing the journals that I plan to use during 2020 which you might find helpful. You can find that here.


In the meantime, happy journaling x

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