How to Start Journaling: Tips to Picking the Best Daily Journal
The noise from all around, having to stress out on deadlines and the woes of life’s many complicated situations can make one extremely burnt out. In the hustle and bustle of life, sometimes you just want to find some quiet time for yourself to relax and get into your very own zen zone.
WHAT IS JOURNALING?
Journaling has become a popular way to unleash your creativity, organise your life and destress. It not only takes you away from your usual digital devices like your phone and laptop but gives you a way to immortalise your memories, thoughts and dreams in a world all of your own.
Besides giving you the space to take care of yourself, journaling has also been proven to help with anxiety and your mental health.
You might have heard of the term ‘Bullet Journaling‘ which was popularised by Ryder Carroll, inventor of the Bullet Journal methodology. This simple yet effective method of keeping track of tasks, inspiration and well, life.
Before you can start on this extremely beneficial hobby, you’ll need to find a good notebook. This is so important because the notebook will be the one constant throughout your whole journaling journey.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER?
There are many factors to weigh in on when you get a journal for writing and we’ve pinpointed a few key ones right here for you.
An important consideration when choosing any kind of notebook is the thickness of the paper. This is because you want to ensure that your paper doesn’t bleed, ghost or tear when you use heavier mediums like fountain pens, brush markers or watercolour. The thicker the paper, the better it’ll be able to absorb the wetter mediums.
Dotted is popular and recommended for bullet journaling for its versatility. If you love decorating your journal with ephemera, stickers and washi tape, dotted is the way to go. Choose lined if you love to write and want things minimalistic. For the sketchers and doodlers, blank is what you want to pick.
You’ll want a notebook that you can carry around easily for those on-the-go writing or a relaxing day at a café. Besides the size, the notebook cover also plays a part in the making it travel friendly. Soft cover notebooks tend to be lighter but are slightly more fragile. Hardcovers are heavier but offer more protection.
A notebook can come with many different features like page dividers, pockets or various customisable add-ons. While debating between different brands, you might want to decide how useful these features will be to you. Page dividers are great for the many tasks, inspiration and spreads to keep track of and pockets are good for storing name cards, photos and keepsakes.
Paper texture is another important factor to consider especially for heavy writers and fountain pen users. Smooth papers will allow your writing tool to be able to glide smoothly when you put pen to paper, thus ensuring a nice writing experience. Papers with smoother texture also allow you to adhere washi tape and stickers easily. Of course, this is still up to your own personal preference.
Do you remember the old diaries that came with a lock and key? These days, journals don’t come with such intricate closures but a simple elastic band to hold the notebook close. If you like slotting loose papers or memorabilia between your notebooks, you’ll want to opt for the elastic closures. Compared to the other factors, this is a rather easy decision to make.
GREAT BEGINNER JOURNALS
These days, notebooks are used not just for plain writing but with stickers, washi tape and different art medium too. You won’t want a notebook that has pages that will tear if you remove a wrongly placed sticker or one that feathers insanely with fountain pens or heavy duty brushmarkers. The notebooks we’ve selected below are used by both beginner and intermediate journalers around the world and are great if you want a notebook that provides smooth writing and is a bang for your buck.
Details make all the difference and in a Leuchtturm1917 notebook this holds true. A typical Leuchtturm will come with:
- Perforated Papers
- Gusseted Pocket
- Page Markers
- Thread-bound to Open Flat
- Elastic Enclosure Band
- Fountain Pen Friendly paper
- Sticker for labelling and Archiving
Here is where you’ll also find the official Bullet Journal – which is already in its second edition! This special journal was created in collaboration with Ryder Carroll who was already a frequent Leuchtturm user. This union resulted in the birth of a journal that was catered specially to bullet journalists and their needs.
The second edition not only brought a new colour, Blush, but several never-before-seen features in the first like: Pocket Guide, Sticker Set, Grid Guide and the highly anticipated 120GSM paper.
If you want a sturdy notebook that is multi-featured and with many colours to choose from, you’ll love the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks.
The MD notebooks are the ideal partner for any minimalist. All of their notebooks come bare and in only one colour: cream.
The pages are similarly coloured, making it less harsh on the eyes when written on. Like most notebooks, you’ll be able to select from dotted, lined, blank and even grid formats.
Having spent years in the pursuit of the perfect paper, MD has created their iconic ‘MD Paper’ that is thin and able to take even the juiciest of brushmarkers with little to no bleed and feathering.
Notebooks aside, Midori also has the perfect complement for their notebooks. If you love decorating, they have a vast range of stickers, sticky notes, mesh pouches, pre-inked stamps and bookmarks that can be adhered onto your notebook.
With the pages being able to take fountain pen inks, Karin BrushMarkers and even watercolours with its MD Cotton series, it’s no wonder that MD Paper remains popular with those who love to journal and draw. You can even customise the notebook cover too!
Born from parent company, Midori, Traveler’s Notebook (TN) has evolved to fulfil a journaler’s fantasy with every kind of regular and passport sized refills from daily and weekly schedulers, dotted, lined, blank and grid refills to add-ons like card files and pocket stickers.
The TN sets itself apart from the rest of the notebooks as you’re able to add and remove content by yourself. To find out more about the customising process, check out our ‘A Complete Guide to Setting Up a Traveler’s Notebook‘.
The smallest and slimmest of all the notebooks featured, the TN is suitable for those who want a more compact journal for easier on-the-go carrying.
The TN starter kit for both its regular and passport size series comes with a cotton bag, a leather cover that will age, a blank notebook and a spare rubber band- all the items you’ll need to begin.
If you like to be able to fully customise what’s included in your notebook right down to the little trinket attached, choose TN!
Journaling begins and ends with the notebook. Before you put pen on paper, you’ll want to ensure that the paper is smooth to write on and has features that will enable you to have a great journaling experience. It’s easy to find a notebook but not the notebook for you.
Boost your happiness, productivity and creativity with the right notebook. What is your first pick amongst these brands? Let us know in the comments!