A woman's hand holds a silver pen and writes in an opened white, lined notebook with a black and white mug of coffee in the background.

24 Inspiring Journaling Examples (To Get You Writing)

A blank page can be very intimidating if you don’t journal very often.

Pinterest if full of aesthetic photos of women in coffee shops bent elegantly over their notebooks. And that makes journaling look very effortless and easy.

But what does a journal entry actually look like?

I’ve been journaling since I was a teenager. And I’ve had plenty of times when I’ve stopped journaling entirely. But I’ve returned to it over and over again – and it’s brought me some incredible life-changing benefits.

But here’s the thing: you’ve got to use the journaling technique that resonates most with you. And you have to know what it looks like on a real-life journal page.

Browse these journaling examples to see what different journal entries look like.

Use this ultimate list to find the journaling example that best suits your needs:

1. Daily journal

A wooden coffee table stands in front of a beige couch in a light living room. The coffee table has a vase with a single pink flower, a mug and coffee pots and an opened notebook.

A daily journal is a record of your daily life – and all of your experiences, thoughts and reactions. 

Use your daily journal to look back on the day and reflect. Getting all your feelings out on paper does wonders for your personal growth and self-awareness.

Use your daily journal as a record of everything from big milestones to trivial incidents. Whether you tried out a new cafe or had a big job interview, use your journal to document how it went and how you felt.

Daily journaling gives you mental clarity and boosts your mindfulness. It also helps you gain insights and learn from your experiences.

The benefits: lowers stress, fosters gratitude and helps you sleep better.

Daily journal example:

Tuesday, July 3

Miracle of miracles, I did pilates again this morning. It burns and it’s hard, but it’s so satisfying afterwards and I think it’s that satisfaction (and the mood boost it gives) that keeps me going.

I worked all day and sat in front of my laptop for 8 hours, then fell into scrolling social media too much again afterwards. It always leaves me comparing myself to more glamorous feeds.

Then I made some pasta in the evening. It was good to get into the kitchen and do something with my hands that didn’t involve a computer screen. Definitely should do that more often.

2. Book and movie journal

A woman in a grey sweater holds an opened book with some purple plants and a glass coffee table in the foreground.

A book and movie journal helps you track what you consume and enriches your experience of novels and films.

And it gives you a more active role in the content you view. It sharpens your observation skills and helps you know yourself better.

Whether you’re re-watching Breaking Bad or reading Emile Zola’s thick novels, a book and movie journal will fine tune your personal taste.

The benefits: brings more meaning into what you read and watch.

Book and movie journal example:

Rewatching: Season 2 of Breaking Bad:

It’s still early but there’s foreshadowing on how controlling and possessive Walt will eventually become.

Reading: Further Afield, by Miss Read

Page 22: It’s turning out to be the perfect summer read as the village schoolteacher heads off to Crete for the holidays. I’m home and living vicariously through this cozy adventure. And putting Greece on my bucket list.

3. Art journal

An art journal lays open with an ink sketch of an enormous ocean wave on the left, and small writing and a black pen on the right.

If you’re a visual person, start an art journal to collect your sketches, collages, doodles and everything that inspires you.

Your art journal can be a mix of artwork and writing. Or it can be purely visual. There’s no single way to “do it right.”

Your art journal is a safe space to explore your creativity, record your ideas and work through creative blocks. It’s a brainstorming space to explore new projects – whether they turn out well or not.

Your art journal is for your eyes only. So don’t hold back and don’t judge your creations. Just enjoy the process.

The benefits: helps you express your feelings, reduces stress, fosters creativity and builds your imagination.

Art journal example:

An opened art journal lays on top of a wooden table filled with small writing and doodles in the shape of the sun. Beside it lay three colorful pens.

4. Dream journal

A journal lays open on a messy bed full of crumpled grey sheets. There are several other notebooks and a cup of coffee laying on the bed.

A dream journal is a record of what you dreamed about – or at least what you remebered. It lets you tap into your subconscious and understand yourself better.

Start by writing down whatever you remember from your dream. The more your journal, the more your memory will improve.

You’ll gradually become more aware of your dreams. And you’ll understand how a good dream (or a nightmare) can subconsciously impact your day.

You’ll be able to pick out patterns in your recurring dreams. And you’ll learn to interpret them and find the meaning behind the symbols.

A dream journal helps you with new ideas and solutions. Einstein used his dreams to develop some of his best-known formulas and theories. And Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the Beatles song Yesterday both came from dreams.

The benefits: A dream journal improves your overall memory and exercises your brain.

Dream journal example:

I’ve been having the same dream for the past few months. I’m swimming in a dark, enormous ocean and the waves start washing over my head and I slowly get pulled under. Apparently dreams about drowning can represent a lot of different things, but it’s mostly about being overwhelmed and unable to cope with your emotions.

And I’ve definitely been feeling that since we got a new editor at the magazine and she pulled two of my favorite stories from the upcoming issue.

5. Food journal

A bright yellow notebook lays on a windowsill next to a plate of sweets and a jar of preserves.

If you’re a passionate cook or just wanting to eat better, a food journal is great to jot down recipes, track habits and plan meals.

A food journal makes you more aware of your eating habits. And that’s an invaluable tool if you want to improve your relationship with food.

It’s also a place to jot down family recipes, online cooking hacks and restaurant recommendations.

The benefits: Whether you want to eat healthier or just find the best coffee in the city, a food journal will get you inspired.

Food journal example:

Must-try banana pancakes (from TikTok)

1 ripe banana, 2 large eggs beaten, mix and cook on a pan for a minute.

Cairo restaurants to try:
Granita in Zamalek
A few of those cafes on Baghdad Street in Korba (Second Cup and 929 especially)

6. Bullet journal

An opened blank white notebook lays on a wooden stool next to a black cup of coffee.

A bullet journal is a planner that includes brainstorming, to-do lists, reminders and schedules all in one convenient place.

It’s brilliant if you’re a student who wants to study better and stay organized. And it helps you keep track of upcoming work meetings, daily tasks and quarterly goals.

You can easily turn a blank notebook into your own personalized bullet journal. There’s also lots of ready-made bullet journals you can buy.

Bullet journaling has its own set of shorthand symbols that indicate notes, events and tasks. A bullet journal also has symbols that indicate tasks that are completed, scheduled, moved or marked irrelevant.

Use your bullet journal to replace messy to-do lists with concise lists that are easy to understand.

Whether it’s your fertility tracker or gratitude log, a bullet journal keeps tabs on whatever’s important in your life.

The benefits: boosts motivation, increases self-awareness.

Bullet journal example:

TUESDAY:

To do, morning:

  • yoga
  • meditation
  • journal

To do, evening:

  • no social media
  • read 2 chapters
  • do dishes

7. Planner journal

A burning orange candle lays next to a journal planner that reads "Month 1" on the page alongside a monthly calendar. There's a grey blanket and another unlit candle nearby.

A planner journal helps you schedule your day with detailed to-do lists or reflections on problems and solutions.

You’re far more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down. And a planner journal lets you easily pinpoint your priorities, obstacles and progress.

A planner journal also helps release your negative emotions. You’re far less likely to worry about the future when you have it planned out.

The benefits: helps you break down ambitious goals into achievable tasks.

Planner journal example:

Work:

  1. reply to all IG messages (delete the old)
  2. schedule Hilton meeting
  3. plan next week’s content

– find new photographer for product shoot, maybe John’s friend? see about shooting both collections in one session. 

Weekend: watercolor class, wash all windows. 

8. Reflection journal

A woman lovingly holds a grey journal to her chest. She is wearing a white linen dress and has purple nails.

A reflection journal is your safe space to look back on your day. It helps you process events and analyse your reactions.

You’ll look back on previous entries and see how you’ve grown. You’ll see how you’ve progressed and how your life has slowly changed.

Use your reflection journal to write about your relationships and how they could be improved. Write about family problems, issues at work and anything else that’s on your mind.

Write honestly and don’t hold back. And you’ll get some powerful insights that will move you towards change.

Make quick lists when you’re too busy or too exhausted to journal. Write down the best and worst things that happened today and how you could improve tomorrow.

The benefits: reduces stress, boosts your mental clarity and helps you learn from experiences.

Reflection journal example:

I’ve felt so unmotivated lately and I don’t know why. The heat and humidity definitely don’t help but maybe it’s something more. The start of burnout? I’ve been working 10+ hour days and can’t stop thinking about work even on my days off. This weekend I need to lay off social media and find something to get my mind off work (a visit to that new gallery?)

9. Reading journal

An opened journal and a white mug of milky coffee lay on a bed on top of piles of grey crumpled sheets. Streaks of sunlight come across from the window.

A reading journal helps you get more from the books, articles and blogs you read.

A reading journal makes you a more observant reader and a sharper thinker. Writing things down makes you far more likely to remember the info.

Use your reading journal to jot down inspiring quotes and insights you come across in your reading.

Track your reading and motivate yourself to read more books, record quotes, tips and beautiful passages from literary novels. A reading journal is also great for to-read lists, lists of books you’d love to re-read, bookish gift ideas and more.

A reading journal is your space to interact with the information you consume. Use it to respond, reflect and analyse.

If you’re passionate about a subject like art history or gardening, a reading journal is a great place to record your observations and make notes.

The benefits: enriches your learning, helps you remember information, makes you a sharper observer and a better learner.

Reading journal example:

Reading Farther Afield by Miss Read and love chapter 11 about their visit to the monastery at Toplou and the solitary monk who lives there. Note: research if that’s actually a real place?

Read an interesting article on cnbc.com about how people are using AI in their side hustles, including travel agents who use it to tailor-make itineraries for their clients.

10. One-line-a-day journal

A woman wearing jeans and dark red nail polish holds a dark crimson notebook in the sunlight.

A one-line-a-day journal preserves your memories, makes you wittier and helps you notice patterns in your life.

One line a day journaling gets you into the habit of writing everyday – even if you don’t have much time.

Writing a single line a day is a very realistic goal even if you’re very busy. It gives you a sense of accomplishment when you finish and inspires you to keep going.

“It makes journaling fun,” writes James Clear, author of Atomic Habits. “It’s easy to do. It’s easy to feel successful. And if you feel good each time you finish journaling, then you’ll keep coming back to it.”

The benefits: gets you into the writing habit, makes you a better observer and helps you appreciate life’s simple pleasures.

One-line-a-day journal example:

The heat and humidity today felt like a steaming oven – so I made raspberry iced tea with lime in the afternoon and we drank half the pitcher.

11. Gratitude journal

A woman sitting on a grey couch writes in an opened journal that has a bright yellow ribbon to mark the place. She is wearing a lot of silver jewelry, a white sweater and jeans.

A gratitude journal is a place to record everything you’re thankful for – from your small blessings to your biggest accomplishments.

A gratitude journal combats depression, boosts your self-confidence and has countless benefits to your mental health. It’s scientifically proven to make you happier and more productive.

A gratitude journal is a much-needed reminder for you to appreciate the present and stop always striving for the future.

But don’t rush through your gratitude journaling. Write in detail about what you’re thankful for – and let yourself feel the emotions and experience the sensations.

Studies show that gratitude journaling once or twice a week makes a bigger impact than rushing through everyday journaling.

The benefits: lowers your stress, calms you at night, improves your self-worth and your relationships, makes you happier and more mindful.

Gratitude journal example:

I’m so grateful for this balcony especially on cool spring mornings like this when I can sit with my cup of coffee and enjoy the fresh air before work. I’m so grateful for all the potted plants and so happy that they’re growing well and thriving even if I sometimes forget to water them.

12. Nature journal

A journal lays open on a tree stump in the middle of a grassy field. In the distance, the trees are hit by the golden light of the setting sun.

A nature journal teaches you to observe, slow down and notice all of nature’s breathtaking details.

Start a nature journal to raise your awareness of the seasonal changes that are easy to overlook.

Even if you live in a big city, you’ll be surprised how much natural phenomena you can observe when you take notice – from birds chirping to leaves changing color.

Use your nature journal to sketch the leaves, animals and trees around you. And include personal reflections on how nature makes you feel.

Take your journal along to make quick sketches during your lunch hour. Or dive deeper to study the flora and fauna native to your area.

The benefits: makes you a more keen observer, reduces stress and fosters gratitude.

Nature journal example:

I was reading last night about Greece and the author mentioned a grove of carob trees that lined one of her favorite seaside villages. I looked up carob tree online and found it actually grows here in Egypt too. And those huge carob pods are used to make juice.

13. Daily affirmations journal

A dark green notebook and a tea cup with flowers lay on a light tray on top of a bed with light streaming in from the window.

A daily affirmations journal is a place to physically write down positive statements about yourself and your life.

Even if you’re satisfied with your current status quo, this practice fosters gratitude and makes you happier. If you struggle with negative self-talk, a daily affirmations journal will transform your mindset – and ultimately change your life.

It initially feels strange to write statements about yourself that you don’t really believe (“I am a healthy and happy person”). But the goal is to shift your focus on positive thoughts and leave less space for negativity.

A daily affirmations journal makes you more self-aware when negative thoughts do come in. And it empowers you to not always believe them.

The benefits: boosts your confidence, helps you cope with stress and improves your self-esteem.

Daily affirmations example:

I take great care of myself, eat well and take care of my body.

I travel often and take the initiative to explore new places. I create opportunities to travel and I motivate myself to try new experiences.

I love nourishing food and the feeling of air filling my lungs as I walk.

14. Commonplace journal

Various stationary lay atop a bed with an opened notebook that reads "Write what should not be forgotten."

Whether it’s a quote from a romantic comedy or a passage from a classic novel, a commonplace book is a place to jot down everything you want to remember.

Writing down anecdotes and quotes in a commonplace journal is a centuries-old tradition. And it was a beloved practice of writers like John Milton and Virginia Woolf.

But a commonplace journal is especially relevant in our modern age – when you’re exposed to masses of content at dizzying speeds.

Writing down quotes, lyrics, passages and proverbs that catch your attention sharpens your eye and makes you a more active observer.

And it makes your life far richer and more enjoyable.

The benefits: boosts your creativity, fuels your inspiration and lets you record snippets for future reference.

Commonplace journal example:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If anything, his personality seemed like something external to himself, managed by the opinions of others, rather than anything he individually did or produced. Now he has a sense of invisibility, nothingness, with no reputation to recommend him to anyone.” – Sally Rooney, Normal People

15. Travel journal

A woman holds a black notebook and a beige and white purse in her lap against a grey concrete sidewalk.

A travel journal is a place to document your experiences on the road. It increases your self-awareness and makes travel a lot more rewarding.

It’s also a great alternative to your phone and lets you capture memories in a more  personal way.

You’ll love flipping through your old travel journals- and they make incredible family keepsakes that serve as mementos of your trip.

Journal to get excited about your upcoming trip and prolong that sweet anticipation. And use your travel journal to plan your itinerary and list must-try foods.

Pick up your travel journal when you’re waiting at the airport or sitting on the train. Write to pass the time you’d otherwise spend scrolling your phone.

Use your travel journal to record the stimuli that makes your trip memorable – whether that’s the sound of rush hour or the smell of cotton candy.

The benefits: A journal is a great souvenir from your trip that also boosts self-awareness.

Travel journal example:

Our second day in Siwa started with breakfast under the palm trees, which included local olives and flat bread with date jam. Then a trip to the salt lakes in the afternoon which were so breathtaking that we collectively let out a “wow” when our tour guide pulled his Jeep up to the banks. Floating and laughing all afternoon, then our guide gave us a small chunk of the crystal sharp salt as a souvenir.

16. Pregnancy and children’s journal

A woman in a ruffled white dress holds a dark navy notebook to her chest.

A pregnancy and children’s journal preserves your memories, major milestones and funny anecdotes from your children’s life.

Use your journal to jot down your emotions and experiences during pregnancy. And use it to write down any tips and hacks about nursing and childcare.

After your baby is born, use it as a diary to track your baby’s growth, your worries, emotions and special moments.

The benefits: Your journal will become precious memories for your child as they grow older.

Pregnancy and children’s journal example:

Just a few more weeks until the big day! Today we finally finished painting the nursery and it’s all starting to feel very, very real. I’m feeling both excited and overwhelmed in the best way possible, and of course exhausted. We still have to assemble some of the nursery furniture but that can wait until this weekend.

17. Health and fitness journal

A blonde woman with a ponytail wears a white tshirt and lifts a heavy weight behind her back.

A health and fitness journal gets you stay motivated, tracks your progress and finds what routines work best for you.

Use your journal to plan your meals, jot down nutritious recipes and keep track of what you’re eating.

Journal your feelings at the end of the day and record the duration and type of your workout.

And get honest with your emotions. Write about what’s keeping you distracted when you fall into inactivity. Ask yourself what types of exercise leave you uplifted and what time of the day you’re most motivated.

Dive deeper into why you aren’t taking good care of yourself, or what’s keeping you from eating healthier. Once you understand yourself better, you’ll recognize negative patterns and ways to improve.

The benefits: Boosts motivation, offers clarity and measures your progress.

Health and fitness journal example:

Did a half hour of pilates followed by 20 minutes of cardio – and handled it surprisingly well considering that I skipped the last 2 days.

Breakfast: tried olive oil on hardboiled eggs with herbs and it was amazing (and healthy!)

18. Manifestation journal

A woman wearing jeans and a black sweater holds a pen in her hand with two empty opened notebooks in front of her.

A manifestation journal uses the law of attraction to bring your goals and dreams to reality.

It shifts your perspective and gets rid of the limiting beliefs that stop you from making changes.

A manifestation journal is a place to visualize the future you want and the person you want to become. It widens your perspective and brings positive thinking into your life.

When coupled with action, it’s a life-changing journaling technique that makes distant dreams achievable.

Use the popular 369 method to start. Write down what you’d like to manifest three times in the morning, six times during the day and nine times in the evening.

The benefits: improves your mood, increases mindfulness and gratitude.

Manifestation journal example:

I finally launched my own marketing agency, with a few select employees that I value and clients that respect my work. I love coming into work in the morning with an iced coffee and catching up with the team. We bounce ideas off each other and we work in collaboration, not competition.

19. Work journal

A woman wears thick silver jewelry and writes in a laptop on top of a wooden table with an opened notebook laying beside her.

A work journal tracks your career goals, challenges and frustrations. And it boosts your productivity and helps you find purpose.

Use it to gather feedback from managers and clients, track your progress and make plans.

Write honestly about what’s going well and what challenges you’re facing. This kind of honesty helps you find ways to work smarter.

Use your journal for catharsis when you face a difficult decision or succumb to negative self talk.

The benefits: boosts mindfulness and gratitude, helps you find purpose.

Work journal example:

It was a hot and humid afternoon full of busywork, phone calls and delivery mishaps that kept me from getting anything done. But when it finally cooled off, I made myself an iced coffee and cracked open my laptop. I worked for a couple of hours straight without looking at my phone. And I was really surprised how much I got done… And this makes sense because I don’t think I’ve ever been productive in the mornings. 

20. Mindfulness journal

An opened notebook lays on a turquoise tray on top of a bed with grey sheets.

A mindfulness journal lets you become more aware of the present. And it teaches you to pay closer attention to the details of your daily life.

Use your mindfulness journal to jot down random observations throughout the day.

A mindfulness journal strengthens your powers of observation. And it increases the benefits of your yoga and meditation because it teaches you to be mindful all day – not just on the mat.

Take a mindfulness walk if you get writer’s block. Pay close attention to everything you smell, see and hear. Jot down your observations in your journal at the end of your stroll.

This simple exercise teaches you the power of living in the present.

The benefits: strengthens your creativity, improves your gratitude, helps you sleep better and reduces anxiety.

Mindfulness journal example:

I took a short walk today before I ordered my Uber and I noticed it’s cooling down in the evenings and it’s not as unbearably humid anymore. Though the air is still sultry and heavy. I noticed some (more delicate) trees didn’t do well this summer and a few of their leaves have quite literally burned.

21. Goal setting journal

A woman writes in a notebook laying open on a wooden table with a plate of cake laying beside her. The notebook says "Mood Tracker" at the tops and she's using lavender pens while a sprig of lavender lays on the other page.

A goal setting journal breaks down your lofty dreams into actionable steps.

Whether you want to start a podcast, get a promotion or grow an herb garden, a goal setting journal is a perfect tool to track your progress and keep yourself motivated.

It’s more flexible than a bullet journal. Use it to outline your goals in graphs, drawings, free-form writing or whatever works best for you.

The benefits: boosts your motivation, improves your confidence and helps to combat self-doubt.

Goal setting journal example:

Summer goals:
Get healthy and stop eating junk food

Plan:
cardio 5x a week (starting today)
strength training 5x a week (starting tomorrow)
research healthy dessert recipes (next two weeks)
look into meal prepping? (next two weeks)

22. Hobby journal

A scrapbook lays open on a bed filled with images of orange trees, orange flowers and pink flowers.

A hobby journal is your space to document your passions, get inspired and record your experiences along the way.

Use your journal to jot down tips and hacks that relate to your hobby and ideas for future projects.

A hobby journal lets you take ownership of your free time.

It’s also a great tool to list your goals, record what you’re working on and organize ideas.

The benefits: reduces stress and improves well-being.

Hobby journal example:

Studying art history:

Currently reading Cellini’s Autobiography and his lively and sparkling account of the Italian Renaissance.

Notes to self: find some YouTube videos on goldsmiths of the Renaissance, and a bio of Raphael. Flip through the History of Art for a refresher on Renaissance aesthetics.

23. Scrapbook journal

A pile of journaling scraps lay on a table, including floral stickers, sheets of paper and scraps of colored brown and black sheets.

A scrapbook journal is your personal mix of writing, images, drawings and collages that express yourself and document your life.

Use your scrapbook journal to collect inspiring images from magazines, quotes from books and photos from your travels.

Keep your museum or movie ticket stubs in your scrapbook along with impressions about everything that happened that day.

Use your scrapbook to manifest your future goals and record your everyday moods.

Or use it as an alternative to social media to document your life in a more mindful way. A scrapbook preserves your memories, keeps your souvenirs and fuels your creativity.

The benefits: engages your mind and boosts your imagination.

Scrapbook journal example:

A scrapbook lays open with a blue ribbon to mark the place. The book contains a photo of a white owl, a scene in a snowy forest and bits of writing.

24. Self-care journal

An opened notebook lays on a white table along with a cup of coffee in a white mug and saucer and a small white vase filled with baby's breath.

A self-care journal tracks how you’re taking care of yourself emotionally, spiritually and physically.

It’s your space to jot down recipes for hair masks and notes about healing your inner child. It’s your space to vent on a bad day and brainstorm how to make yourself feel better.

A self-care journal is especially valuable if you struggle to make time for yourself – or if you regard self-care as selfish. Use your self-care journal to unpack your feelings and learn to be kinder to yourself.

The benefits: helps identify your triggers, teaches self-healing and boosts your self-esteem.

Self-care journal example:

This weekend’s self-care to-do list:
– clean all windows and declutter desk
– do a hair mask
– try yoga by candlelight

To research:
– rosemary to boost hair growth
– journal prompts for shadow work

100 Incredible Journaling Ideas

Layers of notebooks lay on a table including stationary supplies, stickers and a drawing of a mushroom.

If you want to start a daily journaling routine, there’s nothing as daunting as a blank page that you don’t know how to fill.

And you can easily fall into a rut if you’ve been journaling for years. The inspiration runs dry and your daily journaling session feels like a chore.

Read my ultimate list of 100 Incredible Journaling Ideas to get inspired. The list includes everything from journaling prompts for mental health to self-discovery and creativity.

The benefits of writing by hand

A woman's hand holding a pen and writing in a journal with a cup of coffee in the background.

A journal is a great place to unload your emotions. But the very act of writing by hand on paper has many powerful benefits.

Are you looking for some inspiration to pick up your pen and paper again?

Read my guide to the incredible benefits of writing by hand. It will inspire you to leave our laptop behind and curl up again with a thick notebook.

More resources:

Journaling for Mental Health (And 30 Powerful Prompts)

14 Life-Changing Journaling Techniques

18 Incredible Journaling Benefits (And How To Start)

51 Inspiring Quotes About Journaling (To Get You Writing!)

Nature Journaling: An Essential Guide (+8 Tips To Start)