No, this is not a post about bullet journaling, though feel free to check that out if you have time!
This post is more of a love letter to the physical artifact that is the journal. Most of us writers have used one as long as we can remember, and we wouldn’t know what to do if we didn’t always have it on us. It’s the ultimate writing accessory, and even the most tech-savvy writer feels the pull of bound, fresh, blank pages.
I have… many… journals, but I’ll never forget my first. My Nan gave it to me when I was a freshman in college, and I still have it. I find eighteen-year-old Whitney hilarious and embarrassing, and looking back at her reminds me how far I’ve come as a writer and as an individual.
Journals do that for us.
They are receptacles for our ideas and our words; they are physical reflections of our stories and our selves. They are the book covers we choose ourselves to represent our own stories.
And, not only are there journals for every person, but for every mood or situation! I have journals for teaching, journals for to-do lists, journals for novel-writing, journals for contemplating life, and “catch-all” journals.
Below are some of my favorite journals, as well as some classics. I find that when you’ve got just the right journal, the ideas come quicker and better than ever before. So find what you like and keep it near you always; give your ideas the home they deserve! Keeping our ideas in a journal you value can help you value those ideas, too.
A Splash of Color
Studio Oh! journals are bright, positive, and user-friendly. My favorite is the deconstructed journal pictured to the right.
Its deconstructed spine allows it to lay completely flat and its ruled pages keep your words in line (teehee).
When I’m feeling like I need a ray of sunshine in notebook form, I always go for a Studio Oh!
The LBJ (little black journal)
For days when you’re feeling like a Serious Author, there’s always the historical Moleskine.
According to lore (and it’s website), the Moleskine has been used by artists ranging from Ernest Hemingway to Pablo Picasso.
In my experience, they are flexible, durable, and convenient. Their classic black cover lends any writer that coveted aura of respectability, but they also have a line of Peter Pan notebooks for those who like a touch of whimsy!
Who doesn’t love a leather-bound journal with fancy details? Such bindings seem like upscale homes for Very Important Thoughts.
These are the type of journals I imagine finding in an attic one day, piled one on top of the other in a disintegrating box. You open ’em up and are delighted by the witty and meaningful words of a long-forgotten ancestor.
These journal seem less disposable and, so, somehow give your thoughts staying power!
Make Your Own!
You don’t have to be at the mercy of other journal artisans, however. You can, with a little instruction, choose your own materials and make the perfect journal just for you. If you do, share the results with us. We’d love to see what home you build for your words.
Whatever blank book you choose to fill up with words, know that I see you there, on the street, at the coffee shop, in the airport, waiting on the bus. I see you writing, figuring out the world and yourself through words.
I love it, and I understand why that notebook goes everywhere with you.
As Oscar Wilde wrote in The Importance of Being Earnest, “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”
What journals do you use and why do you like ’em? Let us know in the comments!