A peach notebook lays on a wooden table next to a glass cup of tea.

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

If you need some inspiration to kickstart your daily journaling habit – or a reminder of the magical power of writing – then look no further than these incredible quotes about journaling.

Journaling is a deeply meaningful practice that can change your life, boost your mental health and clarify your goals.

From the battered travel diaries of Jack London to the gratitude journals of Oprah Winfrey, the written page has provided solace to generations of people striving to live more reflective lives.

Here are their beautiful tributes to the centuries-old journal.

Use these wise quotes to get inspired to pick up your pen again – or to reignite your love of writing and self-reflection.

Whether you journal to plan out your day or to express your wildest desires, these quotes about journaling will deepen your practice.

Inspiring quotes about journaling:

1. “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” – Ernest Hemingway

2. “A good journal entry – like a good song, or sketch, or photograph – ought to break up the habitual and lift away the film that forms over the eye, the finger, the tongue, the heart. A good journal entry ought to be a love letter to the world.” – Anthony Doerr

3. “Writing is like breathing, it’s possible to learn to do it well, but the point is to do it no matter what.” – Julia Cameron

4. “Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” – Christina Baldwin

5. “Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life-expanding.” – Jennifer Williamson

A quote about journaling.

6. “There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write.” – William Makepeace Thackeray

7. “Sitting for even five minutes with a journal offers a rare cease-fire in the battle of daily life.” – Alexandra Johnson

8. “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” – Joan Didion

9. “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” – Flannery O’Connor

10. “The pages aren’t intended for anyone but me. It’s the most cost-effective therapy I’ve ever found.” – Tim Ferriss

A quote about journaling.

11. “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” – Pablo Picasso

12. “I guess in my diary I’m not afraid to be boring. It’s not my job to entertain anyone in my diary.” – David Sedaris

13. “Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” – Mina Murray

14. “My journal has become a paper mirror, a topographic map to my mind. It is where I go to sort out confusion and decipher the invisible.” – Dawna Markova

15. “The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.” – Virginia Woolf

A quote about journaling.

16. “Keeping a journal: The short entries are often as dry as instant tea. Writing them down is like pouring hot water over them to release their aroma.” – Ernst Junger

17. “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” – Anaïs Nin

18. “Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter. And lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.” – Jack London

19. “In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself.” – Susan Sontag

20. “Writing is medicine. It is an appropriate antidote to injury. It is an appropriate companion for any difficult change.” – Julia Cameron

A quote about journaling.

21. “The journal is the ideal place of refuge for the inner self because it constitutes a counterworld: a world to balance the other.” – Joyce Carol Oates

22. “Your journal is like your best friend. You don’t have to pretend with it, you can be honest and write exactly how you feel” – Bukola Ogunwale

23. “Keeping a journal will absolutely change your life in ways you’ve never imagined.” – Oprah Winfrey

24. “Journaling has become one of the most gratifying and fulfilling practices of my life. Not only do I derive the daily benefits of consciously directing my thoughts and putting them in writing, but even more powerful are those I have gained from reviewing my journals.” – Hal Elrod

25. “Love words, agonize over sentences. And pay attention to the world.” – Susan Sontag

A quote about journaling.

26. “We should write because it is human nature to write. Writing claims our world. It makes it directly and specifically our own.” – Julia Cameron

27. “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour

28. “Having the courage to reckon with our emotions and to rumble with our stories is the path to writing our brave new ending.” – Brene Brown

29. “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” – Mary Oliver

30. “Journaling helps you to remember how strong you truly are within yourself.” – Asad Meah

A quote about journaling.

31. “Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” – Mary Oliver

32. “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” – Anne Frank

33. “Tears are words that need to be written.” – Paulo Coelho

34. “Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself – what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing. Recreate and repeat.” – Warsan Shire

35. “The best time to begin keeping a journal is whenever you decide to.” – Hannah Hinchman

A quote about journaling.

36. “We should write because writing brings clarity and passion to the act of living. Writing is sensual, experiential, grounding. We should write because writing is good for the soul.” – Julia Cameron

37. “Successful journals break the deadlock of introspective obsession.” – Alexandra Johnson

38. “The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me as emotionally and spiritually independent.” – Susan Sontag

39. “Don’t bend, don’t water it down, don’t try to make it logical, don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” – Franz Kafka

40. “Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” – Natalie Goldberg

A quote about journaling.

41. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

42. “On occasion I like to write in pencil because I need to know that I can erase the words, even if I never do.” – Bruce Black

43. “You must remember that your story matters. What you write has the power to save a life – sometimes that life is your own.” – Stalina Goodwin

44. “The starting point of discovering who you are, your gifts, your talents, your dreams, is being comfortable with yourself. Spend time alone. Write in a journal.” Robin Sharma

45. “Document your dreams. Sketch that shape you saw. Write those lyrics before they fade out.” – Michael Bassey Johnson

A quote about journaling.

46. “We begin to sort through the differences between our real feelings, which are often secret, and our official feelings, those on the record for public display.” – Julia Cameron

47. “Writing your name can lead to writing sentences. And the next thing you’ll be doing is writing paragraphs, and then books.” – Henry David Thoreau

48. “What a comfort is this journal. I tell myself to myself and throw the burden on my book and feel relieved.” – Anne Lister

49. “Writing is as close as we get to keeping a hold on the thousand and one things – childhood, certainties, cities, doubts, dreams, instants, phrases, parents, loves – that go on slipping, like sand, through our fingers.” – Salman Rushdie

50. “One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will be someone else’s survival guide.” – Brene Brown

A quote about journaling.

51. “We should write, above all, because we are writers, whether we call ourselves that or not.” – Julia Cameron

How to start journaling – for beginners

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

If you’re new to journaling – or if it’s been awhile since you picked up a pen – it can be difficult to get back into the writing habit.

Start small and keep your expectations realistic. Set aside a nook in your daily routine to journal, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day. Consistency is key!

Read 17 Powerful Journaling Tips for Beginners to supercharge your daily journaling habit and combat writer’s block.

Find your perfect journaling technique

A series of scrapbooks with images of oranges and flowers lay open filled with different journaling techniques.

From dream journaling to one-line-a-day journaling, there are dozens of different journaling techniques to fit an array of different purposes.

Read 14 Life-Changing Journaling Techniques to find your perfect journaling style.

More resources:

Nature Journaling: An Essential Beginner’s Guide

Journaling for Mental Health (And 30 Powerful Prompts)

100 Incredible Journaling Ideas (For Anxiety, Clarity And More)

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

3 Easy Diary Ideas To Try (That Will Inspire You)