Considerations for Choosing Your Next Journal


Pictured above are journals and notebooks from Barnes & Noble, Art Alternatives, Alvin Heritage, Disc-Bound (DIY with Erin Condren special order covers), Erin Condren Simple Notebook, Markings by C.R. Gibson, and EvZ. Standing up is a homemade gift journal from my friend, Wendy.


How does one go about choosing a journal?

There are a lot of things that factor into my own journal choosing exercise. Considering the chosen journal will be my partner for the time designated, which can vary anywhere from 3 weeks to 3  months, this is a big decision for me.

I am very particular about the journal I choose for my journey because it becomes a silent but ever present presence in my life. It is the place I go to to work out my thoughts, plans, dreams and goals.My journal houses poetry in the works, ideas in process, prayers, yearnings, joys, frustrations, aspirations and struggles. It encompasses my journey and all that entails.

To me it is more a gut feeling than a calculated decision. I see journals and am drawn to them, or not. Occasionally I see one I love and get it for a future time. Often, when I  come to the last pages of a journal I will head out on a search, if nothing I currently own speaks to my journaling heart.

I have used everything from an 8 1/2 x 11 Sketchbook to a small spiral notebook. I have used inexpensive 3 subject spiral bound drugstore variety notebooks, and most recently expensive leather Traveler’s Notebooks.

I have a friend who always uses the same size and style notebook, and I admire that but I am so randomly drawn to uniqueness and variety…I cannot adhere to sameness, though  it appeals to me on some levels. I am sure it would make storage easier!

I find that different styles of notebooks offer different writing experiences. Obviously budgetary considerations are also important, but I have found I can always find quality paper products on sale year round.

Paper I recently tried and enjoyed:  Moleskine, and Midori brand paper and notebook lines. I especially enjoy the Barnes & Noble line of Italian Leather Journals, I reviewed the Violet Peony journal here. Recently I also tried Shinola notebooks and although I enjoy them they are not pamphlet style which I prefer in my Traveler’s Notebooks. That being said, they are well made and a reasonably priced alternative to Moleskine.

Although I have experimented with Fountain Pens in the past, I am not currently using them; however I have been toying with purchasing a Pilot Metropolitan based on my pen loving friends’ suggestions.

I look forward to changing journals as much as I do carrying a journal. Sometimes, when I feel either discouraged or ready for something new, I look forward to starting a new journal the way some would a New Year. A new journal is alive with the hope of a clean slate,  a fresh start…it hold the power of anticipation and possibility.

That’s a whole lot of power and potential one a little book!

Are you ready for a new journal? Read about Journal Consecration HERE. Feel free to modify to suit yourself and your journal needs!

If you are new to journaling, treat yourself to a lovely new journal. I find them for great prices at Marshall’s/Home Goods and Tuesday Morning. Amazon and Staples have a good variety. I am always open to handmade journals and also enjoy taking simple plain notebooks and making them special. I prefer thicker pages with less bleed through that are acid-free.

Considerations for your Journal Choice:  Will you be carrying it everywhere? If so size and weight matter. Will you want to fold it back? If so a spiral bound is the easiest, but some  bound books flip back although this can  damage the binding depending on the make-up of it. Does this journal have a specific use or is it an everything journal? Page amount and type might be a consideration. If you doodle a lot, maybe blank paper will call you. If you like planning and structure, grid style might be good, or maybe you love lined paper exclusively. Be sure and page through the journal to get a sense of the paper thickness and quality. Don’t be a afraid to try new things. Like a haircut, your journal will be for a season. There is always next time.  Let the journal reflect your journey.  There is such a great variety of choices these days!

For Your Journal:

Think back to a special journal you kept in the past, or when you first kept a journal. Write about the details you recall about the particular journal, and the time in your life. How did the journal serve you? How would you like your journaling journey to look now? Are there similarities, differences? What would you like to develop through your journaling practice? How can you adjust yourself, schedule, expectation to accommodate your journaling journey at this time?

This post is part of the Journal Keeper’s Journey Series: Journaling as a Lifestyle. All posts can be viewed and read here.



Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at

2 thoughts on “Considerations for Choosing Your Next Journal

  1. Dawn: The last journal I bought was one I was drawn to. It was teal- my favorite color. It had black peacock feathers embedded all over it. I wanted something nice and something that spoke to me. Nothing speaks to me more than a favorite color and an interesting design.


  2. I chose journals the same way you do-by what I fancy at the time. Sometimes it’s something I own, sometimes it’s not. I also like using a different journal each time–if I used the same, I think my memories would be jumbled. Wait, when did that happen–last year or last month? Oh, no, it was last year, it was in the Wicked journal, not the Flower journal. Some I like so much I want them in every color–others I end up hating and struggled to finish, or just abandon out of frustration. And I always have more than one going, and a small fauxdori I made in my purse.


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