To Find Your Perfect Journal, Ask Yourself These 5 Questions

When trying to choose the perfect journal, I'm typically choosing between the following journal types. I've added links to my favorite affordable journals!

You should also consider the type of paper and the way the book is bound.

Here is what I ask myself to help me decide:

Who is allowed to see it?

This question is similar to the "where" question below. Is this a journal that you want to keep private? Or, would you feel comfortable bringing it to a local cafe to write and sketch in it? If you'll want to leave your journal open for periods of time while you sketch, think, or sip coffee, you may want to consider a wire-bound journal or sketchbook that will lay flat. If you're a more private person, maybe a regular-bound journal will work just fine!

What do I want to put in it?

Will you use your journal for project planning, creative writing and diary entries, sketching/painting, or all of the above?

For sketching and painting, you should consider heavier paper to avoid wrinkled pages (unless you like the wrinkled look -- I have some very beloved wrinkled journals in my collection) and a wire-bound journal (or a Moleskine journal that will lay flat) to create your artwork without having to hold the book open.

If you plan to do only creative writing and simple diary entries, a regular lined journal will work just fine! If you plan to do a combination of writing and sketching, a sketchbook would be optimal. If you're missing the lined-pages, you can paste in lined journaling cards or use a ruler to add lines to your sketchbook.

If you're like me, you might like having designated boxes to write in. I like to start with a planner and add sketches and creative-writing inserts to my planner pages. I typically journal in my Create 365 planner and my Willows East Intuitive Journal.

When can I add entries?

You may want to consider how much time you have to spend on your journal. I always dreamed that I'd be the queen of the art journal scene, that I'd have sketchbooks full of watercolor washes and creative writing prompts, but when I really got into it, I just didn't have the time. Opting for a planner with pre-designed pages that I could add to and make "pretty" with little effort was what I settled on and was the main reason I designed the Willows East journal too!

Where do I want to bring it?

I used to keep some pretty massive sketchbooks in my collection -- even one that was about the size of a large photo album, but I found that I only really used it when I was at my home desk (rarely). I'm on the go a lot, so I wanted to be able to bring my main journal with me for long car rides or an unexpected restaurant wait. Consider where you want to bring your journal and if it will fit in your favorite travel bag.

Why do I want to keep a journal?

This is more a question geared toward mindfulness -- take a moment to think about what your journal will mean to you. Is it a secret, safe space to write down all your worries/thoughts/ideas? Is it a place where you can splash watercolors freely and create art that's just for you? Do you want it to be Instagram-worthy (if so, use hashtag #wemindfuljournal)! Are you planning a healthy life through day-to-day mindful journaling? Or business planning with your tarot/oracle cards?

Have any questions for me? Comment below!

Gretchen PearlComment