When you decide to start a journal or diary, there are two important questions to consider; the type of journal you want to keep, and the type of notebook to use. Of course, you can choose any book and just write particularly, if you don’t have a specific type of journal in mind. If you are looking for inspiration here are some of the different books available.
Page a day diary
A page a day diary* is the traditional diary with a date printed on each page, and are easy to purchase in a variety of sizes from A6 to A4. In the past they have been very plain, but it is easier to get interesting page a day diaries now. I’m currently using A6 diary, but have used A5 in the past (which I decorated with stickers or magazine cuttings). These are very easy books to use for journalling, but you have a limited space to write each day (in the past I’ve attached extra pages for days when I had a lot to write), and if you miss a day there is alwatys a blank page to remind you.
Week to view diary
A week to view diary* is similar to a page a day diary, but the space for seven days is spread over a double page spread. This can be great for people who want to keep a record, but don’t want to write a large amount each day; depending on the chosen size there maybe room for one sentence or a few lines each day.
Multi year diary
Again, if you only want to write a small amount each day a multi year diary* maybe suitable. Each page is split into sections for each year and you get space for a few sentences for each. Although the days are labelled the years are usually blank so you can choose when you use each section; they do not need to be used consecutively. I’m on my fourth year of using a five year diary as a positive journal where I record the good things that happened each day; I have six lines each day and can look back over what happened on the same day for the three previous years.
These are pre printed books that guide the writer along a journey, and potentially ask hard to answer questions, and if you can ignore them you’ll be left with blank spaces. These books tend to be on a specific theme such as self development. Examples include Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration*
Using a simple notebook* is an easy method to start a journal as they are readily available in different formats including size and paper type. One great thing about using this type of notebook is being able to write as much as you want whether that is just a few lines or pages and pages, and if you miss a day it doesn’t matter as you just continue writing where you got to. If you are planning to draw or stick things into the journal, plain paper may look more attractive, but are still easy with lined paper. I’ve used both lined and plain paper, and both A4 and A5 notebooks before and found the most pleasurable to use were the ones with the smoothest paper.
Ring binder and loose leaf paper
Another way that doesn’t involve a notebook exactly is to use loose leaf paper and file it in a ring binder*. This approach has an advantage as file dividers can be used to file the paper by theme instead of being fixed in a bound notebook. This approach is used in Ira Progoff‘s* journalling method.
Don’t forget there is also Journal writing software. I haven’t looked into these since I wrote that post but you find may the links useful.
I will continue writing my journal next year, but haven’t decided on the format yet. I’ve noticed my writing changes depending on the journal notebook I’m using. I’m currently using a page a day diary and feel my writing is more constrained and tends to be a summary of the day, whereas when I used simple notebook I think I did longer entries that were more about me and my thoughts; but I didn’t write every day.
Are you planning to keep a journal next year? What type of notebook do you plan to use?
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