The 20 Best Writing Journals for Every Need
Looking to get better about goal setting? There’s a journal for that. Want to get to know your partner better? Yup, there’s a notebook for that, too. Here are 20 of the best writing tools for all of your journaling needs. Seriously, all of them.
1. Best Bullet Journal: URSHINE Dotted Grid Journal
One bullet journaling newbie wrote a straight-up ode to this one, saying: “The bullets are all even, easy to see, and leave a border around the edge of the page. The pages are also a great size; not too big and not too small. I also adore the pocket at the back of it.” Alright, we’re impressed. The paper is also bleed-proof so go ahead, use your collection of Sharpies.
2. Best Journal for Planning: Clever Fox Planner
This baby should be dubbed “the Goldilocks of planners,” at least according to one happy customer. That’s all thanks to the fact that it that doesn’t have too many fields to fill out yet still provides space to reflect on your main goals and priorities for the week. And the straightforward layout allows you to see your plans for the entire week all on one page without feeling overwhelmed. Basically, it’s every type A’s dream.
3. Best Journal for Readers: What I Read Mini Journal
You know that embarrassing moment when your friend recommends a book and you can’t remember whether you’ve already read it or just mentally added it to your list of books to buy in the future? You don’t have to worry about that anymore. One avid reader explains, “I began using this little journal over two years ago to record the books I've finished and my ratings and thoughts on each one. Two years later, I've almost filled one journal up and have found it remarkably edifying to go back and remember not only what I've read, but my thoughts on the different books and authors.” Prepare to impress all of your book club friends.
4. Best Gratitude Journal: Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
When we get bogged down with our day-to-day woes (ugh, traffic on the way to work again), it’s easy to forget about all that we have to be grateful for. Each weekly spread contains an inspirational quote, space to write three things you’re grateful for each day and space to reflect on the highlights of your week. Sounds pretty standard, right? Not according to the almost 600 people that gave it a five-star rating on Amazon. One woman even goes so far as to say that writing in here daily has changed her life.
5. Best Mindfulness Journal: Zen as F*ck: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sh*t
If gentle yoga and meditation aren’t exactly your thing, this journal will help you cultivate mindfulness in your own way with writing activities and clever tips. And yes, swearing a sh*t ton is par for the course here. One user writes: “I'm a therapist who wanted a tool to manage my personal stress…The novelty of this makes it a great gift but it's got a lot of good tools in it. It’s useful, beautiful, and hilarious.” If it has a professional’s stamp of approval, it’s gotta be good.
6. Best Fitness and Nutrition Journal: Hello New Me: A Daily Food and Exercise Journal to Help You Become the Best Version of Yourself
Keeping fitness and nutrition notes can feel like a hard goal to maintain. But not with this notebook. It’s focused around helping you form healthy habits like drinking more water, getting more sleep and learning to accept and love your body at every stage of your journey.
7. Best Journal for New (or Expectant) Parents: Bump to Birthday: Pregnancy and First Year Journal
We know all too well that the first days and weeks of parenting go by in a flash, but there are moments we wish we could relive (you know, minus the sleep deprivation). And we also wish we kept a first-year journal. So, learn from our mistake and invest in this one. It includes prompts so that you can reflect on your pregnancy, childbirth and first year experiences with your child. And the feature we like best of all? You’re prompted to write as if you’re talking to your baby, so that you can share the book with them when they’re old enough to understand. “I received this as a gift when I was pregnant with my first child and I LOVED it!! Now that I’m pregnant with my 2nd, it was the first thing I bought to start chronicling this amazing journey,” one woman says.
8. Best Travel Journal: I Was Here: A Travel Journal for the Curious Minded
How many times have you packed a blank journal in your suitcase with the intention of documenting your vacation, only to realize on the flight home that you never used it? For us, the answer is: Way too many times to count. But that won’t be the case with this nifty tool, since it prompts you to start writing before you even leave for the trip by writing down your packing list, and a checklist of sights you want to see. One user points out that the included prompts also make for great conversation starters post-trip.
9. Best Journal for Self-Exploration: Start Where You Are: a Journal for Self-Exploration
As the title suggests, this one is designed to help readers learn something new about themselves. Each page contains a thought-provoking quote (painted in a beautiful watercolor design, BTW), followed by a related cue like “think of a major transformation that you’ve been through and chronicle it here.” One reviewer poignantly shares, “I have been struggling with my sense of self, and this journal has been an eye opener to things I needed to find in myself. Love it [and] highly recommend [it] for anyone feeling that they have lost touch with who they are.”
10. Best One Line a Day Journal: One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book
If you’re short on time, this is probably the most low-commitment option on the market. It’s simple: Every day you write a one-line thought, memory or update from your day. That’s it. Keep up with your writing and you’ll be able to look back and see what you were thinking about on this day three years ago. Pro tip: One mom says she uses this journal to keep track of small daily moments with her toddler. How cute is that?
11. Best Journal for Goal Setting: The Phoenix Journal
“It is THE best tool I have ever come across to help keep me accountable for making positive and significant change in my life. Though it is only a 12-week planner, it helped me start building good habits right away by asking me to focus on both short term and long-term goals. Then, I broke the goals down into key actions to work on each day and week,” one goal-getter explains. Need we say more?
12. Best Journal to Spark Creativity: Wreck This Journal
Whether you’re a seasoned artist or a stick figure pro (*raises hand*), these prompts will inspire you to think outside the box. Each page has instructions like “pour, spill, drip, spit, fling different colored drinks here” or “randomly cut out some colors from a magazine and glue them here,” putting the right side of your brain to good use. One shopper even suggests buying one for a friend too, so you can complete the tasks together and compare results.
13. Best Journal for Couples: Our Q&A a Day: 3-Year Journal for 2 People
Couples at every stage have amazing things to say about this guy and we can see why. Our Q&A a Day provides a query such as: “Can you remember the last time your partner appeared in a dream?” And then provides space for both of you to answer. You’ll answer that exact question on the same day for the two years that follow, so that you can look back and see how much you’ve grown. One woman notes that after buying this book on a whim as a gift for her boyfriend, writing in it has quickly become her favorite part of the day.
14. Best Journal for Bad Days: Rage Page: A Journal for the Bad Days
News flash: Journaling doesn’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, it feels great to write out your frustrations and (hopefully) let them go. Rage Page lets you do just that. It even lets you name an “A**hole of the day” and list three things that made you want to punch your pillow. So, so satisfying. “Not a kid’s book, but great for the sweary [sic] adult whose inner child is kind of a punk.” Hey, we’ll take it.
15. Best Journal for Mothers and Daughters: Just Between Us: Mother & Daughter: A No-Stress, No-Rules Journal
These pages can help navigate the tricky relationship shared by mothers and their daughters. It’s filled with prompts like “things I like talking to you about” and “things I find hard to talk to you about” to help improve your communication. And, according to a mom with a 10-year-old daughter, it really works. She shares, “Not only has it created a special bond between us, but she feels more open to write down questions or ideas to share with me that may otherwise be too embarrassing for her to share...I make it a point to give her the advice she needs or just tell her an equally embarrassing story so she doesn't feel alone.”
16. Best Journal for Mental Wellness: Getting to Good: A Guided Journal
This workbook was created by a licensed psychologist, so you know it’s legit. Dr. Elena Welsh incorporated proven therapy techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Positive Psychology and Mindfulness to help users achieve mental wellness. And it seems she succeeded––reviewers claim that writing in this has helped them become more positive thinkers and increased their daily happiness. Sounds like it’s worth a shot.
17. Best Journal for Dads: Conversations with My Dad: A Keepsake Journal of Stories and Memories
Hey, dads can totally journal, too. (And they totally should). This guided one is a great way to get them started. It’s also a great gift for those notoriously hard-to-shop-for dads (many of the reviews cited that it was a Father’s Day gift). Basically, it’s filled with a bunch of super-specific queries, such as, what was he like as a kid? And what is his very first memory? The idea is that he’ll fill this out, then pass it along for his son to read one day. Aww, we’re picturing the adorable bonding sessions already.
18. Best Gratitude Journal for Kids: The 3 Minute Gratitude Journal for Kids: A Journal to Teach Children to Practice Gratitude and Mindfulness
It’s never too early to start ’em on gratitude and mindfulness. In fact, you’ll probably be grateful that you did. “My 8-year-old daughter embraced this quickly and began writing. Studies suggest that children who are thankful are more positive and suffer fewer psychological issues. This was my way of helping her see the positive and remember the good in her day before bedtime,” one mom explains. We can’t argue with that.
19. Best Journal for Anxiety: The Anxiety Journal: Exercises to Soothe Stress and Eliminate Anxiety Wherever You Are
“It is filled with a wealth of information and is written in a way that helps a person feel they are working one-on-one with the author,” one lifelong anxiety sufferer states. That’s pretty awesome, considering the author is licensed psychologist Corinne Sweet. This self-help diary includes inspiring quotes, soothing mindfulness exercises and calming prompts to help quiet anxious thoughts.
20. Best Journal to Use As a Diary: Cagie Lock Journal
In the mood to start a diary à la your sixth-grade self? No judgement here. Sometimes, you just want a space to vent about that annoying mom in the school pickup line while knowing that no human being will ever read it (aside from you). It comes with a built-in combination lock to ensure your eyes are the only ones that will ever see these pages. One buyer suggests also writing your important passwords in here for safekeeping. Genius.