Visual Journals

As I have written about before, I keep a daily journal. I have also experimented with visual or art journaling. I say experimented because I have tried a couple of different forms. One is to include doodles and ephemera to my regular daily journal. I like doing this, especially on trips, but I do find that you need a loosely bound journal in order to accommodate a lot of additional stuff being glued or taped in. My other type is more like an art journal. I have a sketchbook where I like to do creative play like drawing, painting, and collage. I save one page each month to somehow illustrate and record the noteworthy things that happened in that month. This is a fun exercise in reflection that I probably wouldn’t otherwise do and I find it is a quicker way to look up when something happened than flipping through all of my unindexed journals. I don’t usually share these pages with anyone but here are a few from the past to give you an idea of what I mean.


I enjoy looking at blogs for inspiration but sometimes it is nice to just flip through a real book. I recently discovered Jen Morris’ blog and found that she was combining two of my favourite things, a discussion about journaling and a giveaway! She reviewed an intriguing book by Helen Lehndorf called Write to the Centre. Because it is published in New Zealand, the shipping rates are a bit high for Canada but she is providing an opportunity to win a copy through her blog.

If a visual journal was a person, I am pretty sure it would be a woman. She values creativity and knows it is not just best for herself, but everyone around her, if she makes time to nurture that aspect of herself.



From writing to-do lists to keeping a journal, I still use pens and paper every day. There is something about handwriting that activates the brain in a different way than typing. 

In particular, I find that keeping a journal helps me pay attention to my life. My first journaling attempts were in a little diary with a gold lock when I was still in elementary school. I didn’t have much to say and even less staying power.

I tried again in my teens after being given a journal with a cool denim cover. While it is somewhat painful to go back inside my teenage mind, I do like that I stuck in some ephemera like a Wardair menu from a special trip to visit my grandparents. Ah, the days of glamorous air travel! I still like illustrating my journal with little extras I pick up during the day.  


My next foray into journaling started in the early 2000s when I was trying to figure out the “what next” in my life after being at home raising my young daughters. At first I only wrote when I had time or felt I needed to work something out but after awhile the habit had become ingrained as a daily practice.

Over the years I have used many of types of journals and pens. I even tried an online journaling site, Penzu, which I still occasionally use. I like trying out new products and want to share my impressions about journaling and the tools I use. Although I love good quality, my budget means that I will focus on lower cost items. I hope you enjoy coming on this blogging journey with me!

Coming next week: Noodler’s Ahab Flex Nib Fountain Pen