9 Different Types of Journaling to Try

So many different types of journaling—at least one has to be right for you.

Girl thinking over notebook

Journaling is a great way to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It can be a helpful tool for self-discovery, personal growth, and creative expression. There are many different types of journaling, each with its own benefits. Different styles of journaling will work for different types of people, and what you might get out of it depends on the type. If one style doesn’t work for you, try another! In this article we’ll talk about 9 different types of journaling you can try, what they’ll help you with, and what kind of person they might work for.

Type #1: Morning Pages

photo of person holding cup
A full three pages of writing per day.

This is a type of journaling popularized by author Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. (I love this type of journaling and do it daily–that’s why it’s first on the list.) It involves writing three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing first thing in the morning.

What it will help you with:

Morning pages can help you clear your head, get your thoughts flowing, and tap into your creativity. It’s especially recommended for people struggling with creative blocks (ie. writer’s block, artist’s block, etc.)

Who it’s for:

This type of journaling works best for people who are able to clear a larger chunk of time in the morning.

Type #2: Gratitude Journaling

This type of journaling involves writing down things you are grateful for each day. It can help you focus on the positive aspects of your life and improve your mood.

What it will help you with:

Happiness and well-being. Gratitude journaling has been shown to improve feelings of well-being.

Who it’s for:

People who are looking for habits that will help them live a happier life. People who don’t have a lot of time, but want to start some form of journaling—gratitude journaling can be done very quickly every day or even every few days.

Type #3. Dream Journaling.

This type of journaling involves writing down your dreams each morning. It can help you understand your subconscious mind and learn more about yourself. Plus, dreams are wacky and fun to look back on.

What it will help you with:

Dream journaling can be a way to explore your subconscious, trying to understand what your brain is trying to process while you’re asleep. This can be serious or unserious.

Who it’s for:

People who often remember their dreams upon waking up. People who believe understanding their dreams lead to a greater understanding of themselves.

Type #4. Creative Journaling.

This type of journaling uses art, such as painting, drawing, or collage, to express your thoughts and feelings. It can be a fun and expressive way to journal. If you’re visually and aesthetically inclined, this is a fun option.

What it will help you with:

Getting you going with a visual and creative habit.

Who it’s for:

Visual artists, illustrators, or anyone looking to let out some creativity in a non-judgmental environment.

Type #5: Mood Journaling

This type of journaling involves tracking your mood each day. It can help you identify patterns in your mood and learn how to manage your emotions. It is recommended by many psychologists and therapists for improving mental health as well as tracking triggers and understanding your emotional patterns.

What it will help you with:

Understanding your own patterns of mood and emotions.

Who it’s for:

Anyone looking to make changes in their life related to emotional well-being.

Type #6: Problem-Solving Journaling

This type of journaling involves writing about a problem you are facing and brainstorming solutions. It can be a helpful way to work through challenges and find solutions. Many executives and entrepreneurs use this type of journaling to help them in business.

What it will help you with:

Problem-solving (duh.)

Who it’s for:

Anyone with a problem to solve who is looking to do so independently.

Type #7: Goal-Setting Journaling

This type of journaling involves writing down your goals and making a plan to achieve them. It can help you stay motivated and on track to reach your goals. We often do this when setting New Year’s resolutions–but it can help to do it year-round!

What it will help you with:

Keeping yourself on track with your goals. Helping you stay focused on them. Having clarity about what your goals are.

Who it’s for:

Anyone looking to achieve certain things.

Type #8. Free-form Journaling.

This type of journaling is simply writing whatever comes to mind. There are no rules or restrictions. This can be a great way to express yourself and explore your thoughts and feelings. Don’t be self conscious—no one is going to look at this but you!

What it will help you with:

Depending on what you journal about, anything! It could help you with goals one day and happiness the next. You’re in charge here.

Who it’s for:

Anyone. This is the type of journaling we think about when we think about diary-writing or just regular journaling. It can be a little daunting to get started and get into a routine as it’s so open-ended, but is definitely worth it.

Type #9. Guided Journaling.

Image of a guided journal—one of the types of journaling discussed.

This is what we specialize in here at Strategy Journaling Co. If you’re having trouble getting started, not knowing what to write and want prompts or specific topics to try out, look for a guided journal. There are tons of different guided journals on the market for all sorts of different needs and topics. We created The Date Book, which is the first guided journal made specifically for your dating life.

What it will help you with:

Focusing on a specific topic—ie. fitness, nutrition, dating— and exploring both feelings and goals related to that topic.

Who it’s for:

People new to journaling. People looking to explore a specific topic, often with the guidance of an expert.

The best type of journaling for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences, as well as your goals and how much time you have. If you are new to journaling, I recommend starting with a simple type of journaling, such as free-form or guided journaling. Once you get the hang of it, you can experiment with other types of journaling to find what works best for you. Let us know below if there are any types of journaling that you love that aren’t on this list!

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