Types of Journals and Journal Writing

Types of Journals

© Scott Rothstein

There are many different journaling formats and types of journals that you can use to express your inner creativity and leave the “write” impression on for years to come. Two of the main types of journal formats that are used for journal writing or creative writing are:

  • Freestyle journaling
  • Structured or guided format journaling

Freestyle journaling is where you use a blank writing journal, notebook or sketchbook to record your journal entries. Whether you use journal writing prompts or choose your own topic for the day – you essentially exercise your creativity by allowing your thoughts to flow freely from your mind and onto the page.

Structured or Guided Format Journaling involves recording information, thoughts, or ideas within a series of fill-in-the-blank type journal entries. You fill in your responses to a variety of questions, many times related to one topic or season of life.

An example of guided format journaling would be preserving memories of a baby’s first year. Keepsake or memory books could be considered more elaborate versions of guided format journals in that they combine many of the great features of both a writing journal and a scrapbook.

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Types of Journals:

There are several types of writing journals that you can use to enhance your journal writing experience. Below are a few of the most common ones. Often times you can purchase one suited for a specific purpose or dedicate any type of writing journal that suits your lifestyle, interests, or season in life best.

  1. Personal writing journal - A personal writing journal is by far the most popular type of journal. In this type of writing journal, you can write your personal thoughts about anything you want. You can write about your dreams, how you feel about something or someone, your day’s events, etc…
  2. Creative Writing Journal- A creative writing journal is a great way to record those short (or long) stories, poems, musical lyrics and/or drawings that are just waiting to escape your subconscious mind and come alive on paper. Many times people daydream and get poems, ideas, etc. that sound just right at the moment and then become lost in the subconscious mind because they didn’t take a moment to write it down.
    So, be sure to always keep a journal and pen handy – whether you decide to keep a journal specifically for creative writing or not, you’ll always be prepared to jot those thoughts and ideas down on paper – you never know what’ll emerge! I’ve known many writers who keep a journal on their nightstands for when inspiration strikes in the middle of the night.
  3. Memory Book or Journal – As mentioned above, a memory book or journal usually comes in a structured or guided format. It allows you to store photos and record details about your thoughts, experiences and feelings for the most memorable things that occur during a particular stage of your life. These are things that you will likely want to remember and reflect upon sometime in the future. Again, many combine great features of both a writing journal and a scrapbook.
  4. Gratitude Journal -  A gratitude journal is simply a journal where you reflect on the things that you are grateful for in your life. They can be specific things that occurred in that particular day or just reflections of things in general that you are grateful for and want to record. It is an excellent way for you to stay more focused on the positive things in your life and more fully appreciate the beauty of the simple things in life.
  5. Prayer Journal – A prayer journal is one where you can write many of your thoughts and prayers out on paper to God. You can share what’s on your mind – problems, dreams, questions, etc. Oftentimes people will read certain scriptures first and then write in their prayer journal how they believe God wants them to apply what they’ve just read to their own lives. Or people will write out a prayer or questions they have about life in general that they’re seeking answers to from God.
  6. Family Journal- A family journal is a journal that members of your immediate family (or family-like members) share together. Your family can use this type to share each other’s thoughts relating to family issues, problems, goals, opportunities, etc. Or your family can use a family journal to share thoughts about world events and issues.Like all types of writing journals, the possibilities are endless.Many families keep their family journal in a place that all members are sure to visit on a regular basis. A popular place for many is the one place that everyone in your family is sure to visit – the bathroom!!! The whole point is that besides talking, a family journal is a great way for family members to communicate with each other, to have fun, and learn more about each other.
  7. Friendship Journal- Like a family journal, a friendship journal is one that you share with a close friend. One of the best ways to keep a friendship journal is for each of you to have a journal in whatever style that you choose and write significant thoughts in your journal as often as possible.You can decide between yourselves to discuss certain issues or themes or just write from your heart. Then after a certain amount of time (say a month or so) trade your journals, read your entries and then return them to each other so that you both can finish writing in them.This is a great way to stay in touch with long-distance friends. You can even choose to focus on a particular theme for a week, month (or any length of time). For instance, you both can decide that one week you will focus on what you imagine your lives to be like 10 years from today.
  8. Scrapbook – A scrapbook is a great type of journal for pasting important memorabilia like photos, concert ticket stubs, airline tickets, brochures, special cards, postcards, sketches, newspaper clippings – the possibilities are endless. You can use a large blank book, photo album or special memory book or scrapbook.
  9. Sketchbook – Use a sketchbook or notebook with blank pages and draw your ideas, feelings, thoughts, etc on paper in addition to or instead of writing them out. Use markers, pens, crayons, pencils, paint, colored pencils or whatever writing utensil you want to use to convey what you want. Make sure that you date your drawing and write a short description of what it is that you are drawing about.
  10. Travel Journal - A travel journal is the perfect place to record all of the memorable details of your voyages to places both near and far. Use a travel journal to not only write down the exciting details of your trip, but as a place to store brochures, airline tickets, and other great memorabilia gathered from your travels.
  11. Recipe Journal – A recipe journal is a great place to store family recipes that have been handed down over the years.

Get your copy of our All New E-Book365 Journal Writing Prompts: Spark Your Inner Creativity, Beat Writer’s Block and Explore Your True Self - Available for Download Today!