Tammy Strobel.jpg


I’m Tammy Strobel. Welcome to my digital home!

I’m an author, photographer, and cat lover.

Hope you have a nice stay!

How I Use My Journals (The 2017 Edition)

“If you want to write, you need to keep an honest unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you.”—Madeleine L’Engle


During 2017, I'll be using the following notebooks/planners:

1. Pen & Ink 3.5 x 5.5" Notebook. Originally, I began using the Pen & Ink journal to record gratitude lists, tiny pleasures, and observations about my day. However, I decided to turn this notebook into a bullet journal because it’s the perfect size to slip into my pocket and carry everywhere with me.

2. Generic composition notebook. In September 2016, I read a fascinating essay (see here) about basic composition notebooks. I was so inspired by the article that I purchased a few composition notebooks from the Dollar Store and began using the notebooks to write first drafts of blog posts, courses, and more.

3. Hobonichi 4.1 x 5.9” Techo Planner with a royal blue cover. I learned about the planner on Instagram. It’s described as:

“. . . a Japanese daily planner from the creators of the website Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shimbun, or 'Hobonichi'—who set out to make the kind of planner they would use. Designed for maximum customizability, it evolves every year based on customer input.”

I’m using the monthly calendar feature to map out business projects, the daily list section as an exercise log, and I’m utilizing the daily pages to record:

  • Something that made me happy
  • Something I’m grateful for
  • Something I learned

Finally, the book is stitch-bound, the Tomoe River paper is luscious, and the paper is sturdy enough to handle fountain pen ink.

4. Mindful Budgeting 2017 Planner. During 2016, Logan and I reviewed our income, expenses, and savings goals each month. In 2017, we’re going to have weekly money meetings because we want to stay on track with our savings goals. In addition to Mint, the Mindful Budgeting Planner will be a great tool to track our numbers and reflect on our financial progress.

How I Deal with My Old Notebooks

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.

Plus, my daily writing habit helps me:

  • Stick with creative rituals like photography and blogging
  • Simplify my life
  • Reexamine my relationship with money
  • Write books
  • Unplug from the Internet
  • Remember what I’m learning
  • Practice gratitude

What about you?

What types of journals and/or planners are you using in 2017?

Extra Reading:

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

Look for Beauty & Meaning 

A Year of Learning