What is Creative Journaling?

What is creative journaling, anyway? In short, it’s a method for expressing your personal creativity as you document what’s going on in your life – moment by moment, day by day, year by year.

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But that explanation leaves room for a LOT of questions, doesn’t it?

Just as there are many ways to journal, there is a multitude of ways to journal creatively.

Here, I’ll be sharing some of the methods, techniques, and tools you can use but this is just the start – use this post as a springboard to help you create your own framework for creative journaling every day.


Creatively Documenting Your Thoughts, Insights, and Life

Creativity often stems from thoughts and insights but you don’t have to consider yourself creative to journal.

Look at the ideas you’ve written down and see how they can be expanded. Often, it’s just the initial ideas that are the hard part. Once they’re written down, you should find it easier to expand upon them.

As you can see, nurturing your creativity is pretty simple if you follow the above ideas. The key is to use your journal every single day. You may need to force yourself to use it some days, but the effort you put in will definitely be worth it.

Reasons to Have a Creative Journaling Practice Whether or Not You’re “Creative”

A journal is an excellent tool you can use to unleash your creativity, whether you think of yourself as creative or not.

And there are plenty of ways to journal creatively – different techniques and methods each serving a different purpose that will get you different results.

Journal to get down your innermost thoughts, to solve problems, to brainstorm ideas and to practice creativity.

Let’s look at some of the reasons to keep a journal in the first place.

There are Many Uses and Purposes for a Journal

You can journal anywhere, anytime, on any kind of paper.

You can brainstorm, make lists, plan your to-do, plan your day/week/month/year/life, doodle, sketch, and turn your journal into a work of art.

The purpose of your journal is your choice and you get to decide how you want to journal your life.

✅ Brainstorming Sessions

This is the simplest journaling technique – one you can start right now. And you’ve probably been doing it since you were a kid!

You might remember having to do this in English class.

All you do is get a pen and paper and write down everything you can think of. Sometimes, you’re focused on a topic and other times you’ll write down everything that comes to mind, whether it makes sense or not.

Also known as “freewriting,” this technique can help clear your mind, overcome mental blocks, and help you discover important thoughts and ideas.

✅ Silencing your inner critic

We’re all critical of ourselves in varying degrees and a journal can help overcome this because you can designate your journal as a safe space – a place you can be open, honest, raw, creative…yourself.

Perfection can really hold you back and that “inner critic” can create all kinds of discord.

A creative journaling practice can help silence that inner critic.

There are absolutely no rules as to what you can and should journal. There’s no wrong thing to write, plan or draw.

It’s a safe space where your creativity can flow without judgement.

7 Styles of Creative Journaling

Creative journaling isn’t limited to one method. There are many ways you can creatively journal.

Experiment with different styles of journaling and see what works for you, what you lie best.

So, what are the different types? Below, you’ll discover just 5 styles of creative journaling and the benefits they can deliver.

✅ The Written Journal Method

Written journals tend to be the most common type of creative journal and what people first think about when you mention journaling.

Whether you opt for freewriting, or you use it to simply jot down your experiences and thoughts, a written journal can prove to be very useful!

There are even different types of written journals.

You could dedicate your writing journal as a place to document feelings or your daily experiences.

Or use it strictly for business.

You could decide that your journal is a place for you to express yourself creatively, using words, pictures, magazine clippings, doodles, and drawings {this is my preferred method.}

At its simplest, your journal could be a place where you jot down notes and lists {guys love this technique but I know that as a busy mom, sometimes a to-do list is all I have time for!}

✅ The Art Journal

An art journal is perfect if you love visuals like doodles, drawings, vibrant color…this type of journal can really get the creative juices flowing.

What makes this technique unique is that it’s really about the artistic aspect of drawing and doodling – you’re intentionally creating works of art in your journal – whatever that means for YOU.

Ask yourself how you like to express yourself artistically. Do you like to paint? Draw? Color in coloring books? Yes, you could purchase a journal/coloring book hybrid and use that!

✅ The Scrapbook Journal

I love this technique, too, because it’s a mix of the written journal and the art journal.

Scrapbooking is one of the easiest techniques you can do.

Simply cut out images, quotes or anything you find inspiring and stick them into the journal. You could use this mini sticker photo printer to really personalize your pages.

It’s really fun to flip through your scrapbook journal! You can look over all of the things you’ve stuck into it whenever you need a little joy and inspiration.

✅ The Prompt journal

Another style of creative journal which can help trigger and nurture creativity, is a prompt journal. This is basically a journal that asks you questions each day or prompts you to write about a topic. You can either pick these journals up online, or you can create one yourself.

The idea is, each question is designed to make you really think before you write your response. You’ll get used to analyzing the questions and answering them in as much details as possible. The answers themselves can help spark creativity.

✅ The Bullet Journal {BuJo for Short!}

This is a newer form of journaling, but one that has gained popularity very quickly. Bullet journals are notebooks that have a dot grid layout as opposed to a lined page.

Bullet journaling isn’t just a type of journal, it’s a technique. You use symbols and short words or phrases to discuss your life and plan different things instead of writing full pages.

This method also incorporates indexing and page numbers – it’s very organized! – so it’s easier to manage different sections of your journal.

Bullet journaling provides a way to keep track of everything in your daily life, including finances, goals and bucket lists, family life, work, mental and physical health, and tons more.

There’s a whole community built around this method and lots of tools you can use to create your bujo layouts and journal pages.

✅ The Dream Journal

If you frequently remember your dreams, this is the perfect journal to keep. You can have a dream section in a bullet journal, or dedicate one small journal to nothing but recording your dreams.

It helps to write down your dreams immediately upon waking, as you will forget them rather quickly so make sure to keep your journal by your bedside to make it easy!

✅ The Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is meant to help you practice mindfulness and live a happier life through focusing on gratitude and appreciation. You look at the positive parts of your day, no matter how big or small they are, and put those in your journal.

You think about the people in your life and focus on how much you love and appreciate them; how grateful you are to have them in your life.

You can even focus on things you feel totally neutral about – like the front door of your home – and cultivate a sense of gratitude. The point of this is to develop the ability to be grateful for everything, not just the obvious stuff.

By having a gratitude journal as part of your creative journaling practice, you are able to focus more on the positive things in your life and dwell less on the bad things. Over time, you’ll notice you’re naturally more optimistic, enjoying everything the good life has to offer.

✅ Wrapping Up

By now, you should be well on your way to understanding what a creative journaling practice is and how you can get started.

The key to unlocking the benefits of any journaling practice is to practice! You have to actually do it – and do it consistently.

What action step will you take right now to start – or jumpstart! – your journaling practice?
What technique are you most excited to try?

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