What Kind of a Journal Could I keep as a Writer

A writer's journal - A journal for landscapes and setting or one to capture scenes with the five senses or a notebook filled with snippets of lyrics and thoughts
what kind of journal

Different Kind of Journals I Have Already Tried

The kind of journal I have been the most consistent with is a gratitude journal but I have always kept some kind of record.

  • Gratitude journal
  • Diary
  • Five-year prompt journal
  • Bullet journal
  • Morning pages
  • Reading journal
  • Listing
  • Tarot journal
  • Dream journal

Now I want to link my journaling more tightly in with my writing practice and novel writing. I have some ideas on how to get started.

In the last couple of weeks, I have explored different kinds of journals trying to get in touch with which one could inspire my writing.

Journals I Want to Try

  • Journal through the senses
  • Weather journal
  • Landscapes and settings journal
  • Character sketches and dialogue
  • My first book journal

Alongside this, I have found that it is often easier for me to write on my book when I have the setting of the scene present in my mind.

Landscape and Settings Journal

This little yellow notebook is the one I keep as a log over all the different settings in the novel I am writing. Now I am also going to use it for writing down ideas for sceneries I stumble upon during the day. A special door I see in the city, the way a tree bends in the wind and historic buildings I could transform into being a part of the world-building of my novel.

I keep a separate writer's journal for settings and landscapes in order to make worldbuilding easier

This is one of the ways I will journal about the landscapes and places I see. Another way is to keep an album on my phone with the photos I take of places, details, and settings. From that album, I could make a photo journal accompanying my novel.

But I also want to try some of the others on the above list. I am considering the following.

Journal with the Senses

I think the reason why the gratitude journal works so well for me is the format. I list five things every day – each a few lines. I will try to do the same practicing using my senses in my writing. Listing the following –


  • I heard
  • I saw
  • I smelled
  • I touched
  • I tasted
  • I sensed

As with the gratitude journal I will try to be as specific as possible. I will also make sure that once a week I write out a paragraph from one of these lines written.  Taking a line like – today the pink rose smelled of soap and then write a detailed text from this.

My new journal for writing down things with the five senses.

Mining the notebook

I am normally not that structured when it comes to journaling. Usually, I use a moleskin notebook. What is in it? I use my notebook for morning pages, as a planner, ideas, drafts, sketches. I seldom use it for my actual writing project only if I get an idea. My poems find their way into the notebook. I write quotes in it. I doodle and write snippets of thoughts.

It becomes an organic mingle of thoughts. Because the words scramble up next to a drawing of a coffee cup I remember the feeling I got from that place on that particular day. I will continue to keep this practice to empty my head and warm up before turning to my writing project.

A writer is an observer and sometimes I think this is so ingrained in a writer’s DNA that it is only naturally also to observe himself. I love this quote from Mary Oliver:

 Pay attention, be astonished, tell about it. |Mary Oliver

Today I saw a hedgehog a big one – scared. But it put its long nose out from under the spikes looked up at me and walked steadily back into the woods. I was happy to put it in my Gratitude journal and perhaps I will stick my nose out and try to put the scenery into my writer’s journal because who knows what is hidden in the woods. Journaling will help me find out.

What kind of Journal do you keep – does it link into your other writing practice? Please share in the comments 

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