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How I Use My Journals (The 2018 Edition)

Photo by Tammy Strobel

In The Importance of Revisiting Notebooks Austin Kleon wrote, “Almost every writer will tell you how important it is to keep a daily diary or notebook, but very few emphasize how important it is, if you want to publish, to have a system for going back through those personal notebooks and diaries and turning them into public writing.”

Kleon’s comment is so true! I’ve been writing for decades in a variety of capacities, and my notebooks are never far from my side. My journals are the birthplace of many creative ideas including books, articles, classes, and more. They also serve as a non-judgment sounding board, a way to record what I’m grateful for, and planning and scheduling tools.

I’m beginning 2018 with the following notebooks/planners, and knowing me, I’ll add additional journals to my collection as the year progresses!

1. The Hobonichi Techo Weeks Planner is minimalist and beautiful. It has a week per page format and plenty of graph paper in the back for notes. I’m using the planner to schedule appointments, as a bullet journal, and for notes on the go!

2. The Midori Travelers Notebook is a leather cover that’s equipped with an elastic band to hold multiple notebooks inside. It also has a band that holds it closed. Currently, I’m using the larger version and have two journals inside the leather cover—one notebook is for morning pages, and the other journal is for my French lessons.

Before I leave for Paris in July, I’ll buy a few notebooks to slip into my Midori Travelers Notebook. I’ll be writing a lot in Paris (see #3 here), and I want to start my trip prepared.

I’m also considering starting a training log to record my progress with CrossFit. I love the Midori because it’s easy to keep multiple notebooks in one place!

3. In addition to Mint, Logan and I will be using Cait’s Mindful Budgeting Planner to stay on track with our financial goals. Logan and I are on a mission to save 50% of our income this year. That’s a huge goal, and I hope we can accomplish it! I’ll write an essay on this topic soon, so stay tuned.

4. I bought The Five-Minute Journal in July 2017 because I wanted to change my daily gratitude practice. I love starting and ending my day with this journal because it’s a simple and useful writing tool! Also, the journal reminds me of Kleon’s logbook concept. My Five-Minute Journal is almost full, and I need to decide if I’m going to purchase another copy or if I’m going to change up my gratitude practice again.

5. And last but not least, I have to mention Everyday Adventures: Tiny Quests to Spark Your Creative Life! I released this interactive journal in 2017, and I’m incredibly proud of it! I’ll continue using my journal in 2018 to record my everyday adventures.

Photo by Tammy Strobel

A few notes about all the notebooks: 

  • My daily carries include the Hobonichi Techo Weeks Planner and my Midori Travelers Notebook.
  • When I travel, I leave my other journals at home (most of the time).
  • My journaling system isn’t minimalist, but it works for me, and that’s what matters.

How I deal with my old journals:

Last year, I wrote:

I keep my old planners for business purposes, and I’ve started to hold onto travel and adventure journals because they bring me joy. I shred my other notebooks every six months. Before I shred my journals, I reread the entries. As I read, I jot down themes that I want to revisit, reflect on, or write about in the public sphere.

Keeping a large archive of old journals isn’t that important to me. The act of writing daily is what brings value and joy to my life.

This still holds true! However, after reading Austin Kleon’s essay, I decided not to shred any more notebooks until the end of 2018. I’m working on a few project ideas, and I want to revisit my notes in various journals. Plus, I’d like to develop a notetaking system similar to Ryan Holiday’s method.

Cheers to more journaling in 2018!!!!

Extra Reading:

How I Use My Journals (The 2017 Edition) 

How I Use My Desire Map Day Planner—The Desire Map Day Planner was my planner in 2014, 2015, and for a portion of 2016. I decided to change my planner in 2017 and 2018 because I wanted to try a new system.

My Analog Tools—a list of my 2015 journaling tools and a few tips for you.

How I Use My Journals—the 2014 edition.

On Grief and Notebooks—an essay about how I used journaling to cope with grief and why I shredded my journals in 2014.

With gratitude,

PS: If you enjoy my essays, photos, and curated happy links, consider supporting my work on Patreon. As a bonus, you get fun goodies as a reward! Alternatively, you can register for A Simple Year 2018!

4 comments… add one
  • Jeremy Sarber January 8, 2018, 7:20 pm

    I have become increasingly enthusiastic about journaling. Though I’m not exceptionally disciplined, I enjoy journaling most days, keeping a record of my ministry and spiritual growth.

    Thank you for recommending the Midori Travelers Notebook. I was looking for something just like it.

    • Tammy Strobel January 9, 2018, 11:14 am

      Awesome! I love my Midori. It’s a great little notebook. Good luck with your journaling habit! 🙂

  • Sarah Marie January 9, 2018, 4:14 pm

    I have been using Moleskine notebooks since my junior year of high school. I will be 31 in a few weeks’ time, so that is quite a bit of Moleskines! But I like them for their size and simple design. I usually buy a black small hardback notebook. And I attempt to journal at least once a day if I can. I don’t follow a chart or anything. Usually just keep a record of how I am feeling, what I have done the during my day, or what I am reading. I like that I have a calming and centering place to keep my thoughts and feelings.

    • Tammy Strobel January 10, 2018, 7:39 am

      That’s awesome Sarah! Moleskine notebooks are fantastic! 😉

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