Benefits of Journaling + Types of Journals + 5 tips for beginners


There are so many types of journals so let me start off by saying that I can’t draw and that I don’t have gorgeous handwriting. A year ago I tried starting a bullet journal but I got tired of it after the first week.

I even did the whole calligraphy + aesthetic pictures + stickers + beautiful markers. With all this experience I found out that I liked the whole concept of journaling but bullet journaling was not the type of ‘journaling’ for me. 

Today, I will explain to you the different types of journals that exist, what you can write on each one of these, and the benefits of keeping one. 

So… let’s begin! 


What is Journaling?

I think of it as a way to write down thoughts and/or feelings and keep track of daily activities.  It’s a way to get to know yourself better and take care of yourself. Basically, it’s a way to stay organized while caring for yourself. 

12 Benefits of Journaling:

– Keeps your personal projects organized 

– Keeps hobbies organized

– Reduces stress

– Keeps track of past achievements 

– A place where you can drop-down ideas

– Keeps track of your to-do’s

– Manages anxiety 

– A place where you can write down your bucket list 

– Improves your productivity 

– Source of inspiration

– Keeps track of your goals 

– A way to be creative 

Types of Journals:

Bullet Journals:

It’s called a ‘bullet’ journal because its basically filled with lists, notes, and bullets.

If you are on Pinterest, you will get a lot of inspiration there. 

Here you can find an article on 32+ bullet journal ideas.  

Food journals:

The best journal for foodies.

You can keep track of:

– New recipes you want to try out

– Restaurants you want to go to

– Your favorite cafés

– Restaurants to go to on a budget 

– Your favorite desserts 

– Grandma’s recipes

– Grocery list 

– Recipes that require less than 6 ingredients 

– Healthy food recipes

– your foodie bucket list 

and more… 

“Dear Diary” Journals:

Idk if this is the exact name for this type of journal but let’s just go with it…

This is the type of journal that you always think about when listening to the word diary.

It’s a way to write about: 

– what you did in a day 

– your thoughts on something that happened to you 

– something that angered you throughout the day (like a rant) 

– a secret that you can’t/don’t want to tell anyone

– what you want to achieve someday 

– your bucket list 

It’s a way to write about anything and everything 

Writer’s Journal:

For the aspiring author or scriptwriter, this is the journal to drop-down ideas for the next story you want to tell. Also, it could be a place to add some writing prompts.

Here you can find 60 free writing prompts 

Wellness Journals:

A simple way to track your exercise routine, meditation practices, healthy recipes, motivational quotes, and more. You could also write about your dreams, fears, and drop-down activities that make you happy as well as what you’re grateful for. 

Book Journals:

A way to keep track of the books you read, your TBR (to-be-read) list, and your thoughts on a specific book. Why you liked it, why you didn’t, who you would recommend it to, etc. 

If you’re a book blogger, this could help you keep track of future posts and drop-down ideas you come up with for upcoming blog posts. 

Travel Journals:

Once the quarantine is over, this is the journal I want to start! This journal is a source of inspiration for anyone who loves to travel. 

You can write about: 

– countries you want to visit 

– what’s amazing about every continent 

– how a specific accent sounds to you 

– what other people say about your country

– what other people say about your culture

– travel guides

– traveling on a budget 

– your favorite traditional foods

– traditional food from the country/city you visited 

– something you noticed about a certain culture 

– what interests you about a particular country 

– your experience in a country (like in a ‘dear diary’ format) 

– something that was unexpected about a certain country/city/place

and more… 

Here is an article on Why you might want to have a Travel Journal

The point I want to make with this list is that basically you can start a journal with ANY topic in mind. Whether it is a physical or digital journal, the benefits are the same. 


5 tips for someone who is just starting out with journaling:

Make your journal simple- I don’t recommend having an “all in one journal”. By this I mean, that if you’re going to start a journal, stick to one simple format. Combining gratitude thoughts with an exercise log and your favorite recipes AND ideas for your next blog post will confuse you. Organize it in a way that works for YOU and you only. 

Brainstorm/ Briandump- the best way to start is by just writing about anything. Whether those are ideas that can’t let you sleep, ideas you have for a novel/story, your to-do list for the week, or even a bucket list. 

The is no ‘right way’ to keep a journal- You will see amazing journal around the internet. These as only sources of inspiration and not as something your journal should look like.

You don’t have to be an artistic person to start one- Believe me, I don’t know how to draw and I don’t have gorgeous handwriting. If you want it to look ‘beautiful’ or ‘aesthetic’ you could always print some stickers or download free templates. 

Have fun- Journaling should not feel like a chore. With time it will be part of a routine but it shouldn’t be something that you feel like you HAVE to do. There are no guidelines that you have to follow. At the end of the day, it’s YOUR journal and not anyone else’s.


Your Thoughts:

Do you have a journal?

What do you think is the best thing about journaling? 

From the types of journals mentioned, was there one that interested you the most? Which one? 

  1. Geraldine @ Corralling Books

    This is so insightful! I can’t keep to a bullet journal but I love dear diary journals because I just word vomit everywhere 😅 as a book blogger I definitely should do book journalling but I feel like it takes too much time, and I use my blog as the journal anyway! Definitely want to look into it more though 😍

    • val @behindthatstory

      Bullet journaling wasn’t for me either😅 I love the “ Writers Journal” and for book blogging I use a journal more of as an agenda to stay organized with my posts and the to-do’s for my blog. Writing down a book review on a journal and then on my blog does seem like it takes a lot of time hahaha

  2. Luxe

    Just like you, I loved the concept of bullet journaling so I tried doing it a few years back. Sad to say that it didn’t work out as I immediately got too burnt out for it so I just stick to a simple scheduling journal for now. It’s just a bunch of calendar spreads and lists of my schedules and errands to do. On the blank pages of my journal, that’s where I scribble every thought I think is worth noting!

    For book journals, I don’t bother with it as I find having a spreadsheet and tracking my books on Goodreads/Storygraph/etc. much more efficient for me. I may have to go and start a writer’s journal though as you have said, it sounds like such a great idea! 😀

    • val @behindthatstory

      Yeah… I feel like bullet journaling is not for everyone and same as you, I also have scheduling journaling! I often forget that Goodreads exists tbh 😂 but I’m glad to hear that it works for you! Keeping a writer’s journal has been great so I hope you look more into it 😊

  3. Nicola

    Thanks for some great tips. I keep thinking I should start journalling and keep procrastinating! 🙂

    • val @behindthatstory

      Glad you found them useful! Hahaha I’m a procrastinator too! but journaling has become a habit and I totally recommend it :))

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