The Ultimate Guide of Journaling Types

Keeping a journal can help you record your past, stay present in the now, and plan your future.

While we are all familiar with the benefits of journaling, we often struggle with making the time to dive deep and learn how to start a journal.

Whether you're new to journaling or a seasoned veteran, this article will help you understand the different types of journaling and choose which one is best for you now.  

The 3 Different Types of Journals 

1. Blank Journal

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

A Blank Journal is the most creative, free type of journaling. 

While it gives you all the space to create, its empty pages can also be intimidating.

Chances are that you have at home a Blank Journal that you've never used, and here's why: you don't know what to do with it, and you're not alone.

The biggest advantage of using a Blank Journal versus other types of journaling is the creative possibilities that it offers. It empowers you to express more than words and to embrace the beauty of the creative chaos.

To help you use a Blank Journal to its full potential, I collected five journaling ideas:

  1. Sketch and doodle your heart out.
  2. Brainstorm new projects and ideas.
  3. Collect photos, tickets, and images that spark joy.
  4. Practice calligraphy and brush lettering.
  5. Plan a trip or any other life event.

The possibilities of what you can do with a Blank Journal are limitless! Now that you were given some journaling ideas, it's time to put your non-linear thoughts into paper. The most important step is to start. 

2. Guided Journal

zmfreespirit my life journal

Photo by @zmfresspirit

If you want to start journaling and you don't know where to begin, a Guided Journal may be what you've been looking for.

Guided Journals help you to answer questions like "What do I journal about?" or "What journal writing prompts do I use?" 

They're filled with daily writing prompts, exercises, questions, and quotes to keep you inspired. My Life Journal is an example of a Guided Journal.

Guided Journals may come in many forms: as a gratitude journal, a workout journal, a travel journal, a moon journal, just to name a few.

They're usually associated with a specific purpose. The most common reasons why people keep a Guided Journal include increasing productivity and focus, to organize the day, track habits, to live more intentionally, and to stay happy and grateful.

In case your intention is to keep a daily journal and to build up the habit of this life-changing practice, then my recommendation is to write in a Guided Journal, as it will make the process so much smoother and quicker.

A planner is a Guided Journal, so if you're the type of person who likes structure, order, and pre-designed templates, this may be the best option for you. 

3. Standard Journal

Photo by The Journal Garden | Vera Bitterer on Unsplash

A Standard Journal is the sweet spot between structure and freedom.

You can look at it as a Blank Journal combined with a Guided Journal, in which you are the designer.

Just like Guided Journals, they may vary in form. The most common are dotted journals, lined pages journals, and square grid journals. Each page of Guided Journals is equal, uniform, and standardized. 

How do you know if a Guided Journal is your type of journaling? Here are some tips and ideas.

If you're the kind of person who...

  • Likes to keep an arty, gorgeous journal while organizing relevant information, then bullet journaling may be your cup of tea.
  • Has a, let's say, peculiar handwriting that gets all over the place, then lined pages is a must try.
  • Doesn't believe in a "one size fits all" type of journaling and wants to create your own methods and layouts, then any Standard Journal is a potential match.

You see, the trick here is to analyze your needs first, and then understand what journaling type suits best for you.

How I Use the Different Journaling Types

If you're a journal lover like me, you may want to be using more than one type of journal. 

Blank Journal: Sporadically. I use it to plan the future, brainstorm ideas, and doodle.

Guided Journal: Daily. My go-to for living with intention. Here's where I write down my monthly, weekly, and daily goals, my gratitude list, learnings, and prioritized tasks.

Standard Journal: Weekly. I write down Morning Pages and document life.


Which one of these three types of journals is your favorite? Share with us below!

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