What are the best journals you can buy today?
Like many writers, you probably resolved to make some changes this year.
While not all writers have the same goals – getting more private clients, writing a best-selling novel, or breaking into a new niche are just a few common ones – there is an almost-universal truth about what happens to most of them.
If you’ve pushed your goals to the side or something happened and you’ve fallen off the path designed to help you reach them, now’s a good time for a reset.
What you need to get started is a good journal.
Journaling – or freewriting – is stream-of-conscious writing that can boost creativity and thinking. This powerful practice works well with writing prompts and is designed to be unhampered by convention, grammar, and logic.
Journaling can also be a way for you to be more precise about meeting your goals and unlocking your talents. Use your journaling time to set goals. You can also include the steps needed to achieve them and deadlines to help you stay on track. It can serve as a motivational tool when you hit creative slumps.
In this post, I’ll elaborate on the best journals you can on Amazon so that you can meet your writing and publication goals easily.
- What Makes a Good Journal?
- The Best Journals To Buy In 2020
- What Is a Bullet Journal?
- The Best Bullet Journals for 2020
- Benefits of Journal Writing
- How to Make Time to Journal
- What Is the Difference Between a Journal and a Notebook?
- What Is the Difference between a Journal and a Diary?
- Buying The Best Journal
This post contains some Amazon affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission if you purchase the products I recommend.
What Makes a Good Journal?
The first step in starting a journaling habit is to find the best literary journals that meet your particular needs. You can put any notebook to use as a journal.
Specialized journals give you structure, prompts, and/or guidance to help with the process. Some people find the blank pages of a book stokes their creative ideas. For others, a grid notebook works better.
Everyone is different, and you might have to try a few different types before you hit on the right one.
When you think about what might make a good journal for you, consider the following:
- Size: Will you shove it in your backpack when you head out, or will it live on your bedside table instead? You also want the pages to be large enough so you can pen lots of thoughts but still small enough to feel good in your hands.
- Material: A journal notebook that is going with you everywhere needs to have a sturdy cover. One that won’t see many outside adventures can probably be made of more delicate material.
- Design: While ruled line journals are probably the most common type, there are also dotted journals, unlined, squares, and others. While you can make drawings and to-do lists in any journal notebook, doing so with one that is unlined allows you to visualize your ideas more vividly.
- Specialized or Not: Does the sight of a blank book make you want to fill it up with your thoughts, or does it paralyze you with feelings of being overwhelmed? If it’s the latter, a specialized journal that gives you specific areas for doodling, making a bucket list, or a chart or a list and writing, for example, might be a better fit.
Ready to start? Let’s see some of the best journal options for writers.
The Best Journals To Buy In 2020
The best journals for writers aren’t one-size-fits-all.
There are hundreds of specific journals that you can access from makers like Lemome, Leuchtturm1917, and BestSelf Co. And cool journals like a Moleskine journal, Wreck This Journal, The Self Journal, or a freedom journal by John Lee Dumas continue to be released regularly.
To make the search for the best journals even more difficult, you can just as easily use a book that you love if you don’t want to wait for one to arrive in the mail.
This curated list with pros and cons can help you sort through the hundreds of journal notebook options available. Also included in the list are some of the best quality paper notebooks.
1. Leather Journal
This Leather Journal features a warm, antique look as well as a closure and tie that keeps its contents under wraps.
Measuring eight inches by six inches, its paper is good quality, environmentally friendly because it’s tree-free and made of recycled cotton. You will love the blank pages that are acid free with no bleed through so you don’t have to worry if you use fountain pens or different colors.
Pros: Firm hand-stitched coptic leather binding, 365-day replacement promise for damages.
Cons: The paper is not the best option for sketching or coloring.
- ★ UNLIKE THE DISAPPOINTING FAKE LEATHER JOURNALS MADE BY OTHER BRANDS, Moonster’s leather notebook is made of HAND-CUT, 100% GENUINE WATER BUFFALO LEATHER and premium RECYCLED COTTON PAPER. Handmade in India, our Leather Bound Journal features a BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED, AUTHENTIC DESIGN that will leave its recipients in awe.
- ★ WHILE MANY FAUX LEATHER JOURNALS ARE CONSTRUCTED POORLY, WITH GLUED-ON BINDINGS AND PAGES THAT FALL OUT, our writing journal is a keepsake you’ll have forever, with a HAND-STITCHED COPTIC LEATHER BINDING for pages that stay firmly in place. Filled with 120 sheets/240 pages of creamy, unlined PREMIUM COTTON PAPER recycled from leftover garment industry cloth in India, our travel journal note book is TREE-FREE AND ACID-FREE. This blank journal LIES FLAT, making it a pleasure to write in.
- ★ NO BLEED THROUGH: Use any pen on this thick quality paper – EASY FOR HANDWRITING, DRAWING OR SKETCHING and compact for carrying in your bag. IDEAL FOR Artist Sketchbooks, Photo Album, Traveling Notes, Business Executive, Hunting Logbook, Poetry Work, Journalists, DND Notebook, Weekly Food Planner, Instagram Scrapbook and Bible Journaling
- ★ A HANDSOME, THOUGHTFUL GIFT THAT GIVES BACK. For every purchase made, Moonster gives a percentage of its profits to their favorite charity in Africa, that works to PREVENT AND PROTECT CHILDREN FROM CRUELTY AND ABUSE. Our journal for men & women comes beautifully wrapped in an earth-friendly COTTON BAG. Choose between two sizes: 5”X7” OR 8”x6” – the perfect size for travel! ALSO AVAILABLE IN GIFT SETS (Search: B06XDQG92X)
- ★ OUR 365-DAY REPLACEMENT PROMISE: If your vintage journal arrives damaged or you find anything faulty with the craftsmanship, simply CONTACT US DIRECTLY within 1 year and we will send you a FREE REPLACEMENT or FULL REFUND. No questions asked, HASSLE-FREE. Makes an Awesome Anniversary, Graduation, Valentine or Birthday Gift! Buying 2, 3 or 4? SAVE UP TO $8.00! SEE ALL OUR DISCOUNTS BELOW.
2. Classic Notebook
If you’re the kind of writer that likes to stay within the lines, this Thick Classic Notebook features 180 wide-ruled pages just for you – just like a Moleskine Classic ruled notebook. Available in four classic colors – gray, brown, black, and blue – as well as mint, you’ll like this journal notebook because it lays flat, has an elastic band to keep it closed and a pen holder, so you’re always prepared to write your heart out.
Pros: Durable hardcover notebook, has an expandable pocket to hold business cards, notes, etc.
Cons: The binding could be tighter than it is.
3. Spiral-bound Journal
This slender Leather Writing Journal is refillable so you can easily remove pages and swap them out for new ones. Unlined paper lends itself to mind maps, charts, freewriting, and more. The PU leather cover is soft and supple in your hands. Its nautical-themed accents add a sense of adventure and wanderlust to your journaling experience. Available in five colors, there’s also a lined-paper version if you prefer that route.
Pros: Perfect size for a handbag and a schoolbag, perfect for sketching and art.
Cons: Need to make sure the rings that hold the paper don’t flatten out.
4. Tree of Life Writing Journal
Add sophistication and elegance to your journaling time with The Tree of Life Writing Journal. Measuring five inches by eight inches, it features refillable papers, a faux leather cover, a slender ribbon bookmark, and 200 lined pages.
Best of all, it has a magnetic strip that instantly closes it. Small enough for you to slide into your backpack or purse, you can choose from brown, white, or blue for this popular journal notebook.
Pros: Lies flat, has a convenient pen holder.
Cons: The cover is hard to clean.
5. Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice
Former First Lady Michelle Obama is the impetus behind Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice. It’s filled with more than 150 questions to inspire you to find your authentic self and own your power.
There is plenty of room to explore the thoughts, feelings, and ideas her prompts generate.
Pros: Thought-provoking writing prompts, individual messages on each page to motivate you.
Cons: The pages don’t stay flat. It is not suitable for article writing.
6. Gratitude Journal
If one of your resolutions in the new year was to be more grateful for the good things in your life, the Good Days Gratitude Journal could help you focus on them. Available in both paperback and spiral-bound, this journal offers a 52-week guide of self-exploration, reflection, mindfulness, and gratefulness.
Pros: A tool to inspire gratefulness – a great habit to cultivate, simple and straightforward prompts, inspirational quotes for each day.
Cons: Some people may find the prompts repetitive.
What Is a Bullet Journal?
If you’ve spent any time at all researching journals, you probably ran across the term “bullet journal.” While it is a journal like many of those highlighted above, certain elements make a bullet journal notebook stand out.
Conceived by Ryder Carrol, a bullet journal contains particular elements – such as an index, future log, collections, and more – that let you turn your ordinary journal into a daily planner of sorts.
A bullet journal is such a versatile system that you can turn virtually any blank journal into one. It’s important to note, though, that not every daily planner can perform the same functions as a bullet journal.
Not surprisingly, bullet journaling comes with its own language that you’ll want to grasp so you can make the planning system work for you as well as possible. A spread, for example, is most often referred to as two side-by-side pages that often house collections and monthlies.
Migration is a key element of bullet journaling and vital to keeping you moving forward. Any tasks on your to-do lists that didn’t get done can be migrated to the current daily page. This helps to keep it relevant.
A tracker, on the other hand, is used to keep track of certain information for a particular period.
You can choose to track the number of books you read for the year, your social media posts, blog publication schedule, how many times you exercise each week, or if you’ve reached your journaling goal for the month as some examples.
The Best Bullet Journals for 2020
Many of the best journals for bullet journalling come with dotted paper. This makes it easier to be creative with spreads and trackers. The best bullet journals for 2020 are listed below:
7. Minimalism Dotted Grid
If you like a no-nonsense approach to bullet journaling, then the Minimalism Art, Classic Notebook Journal is a good pick. Available in 10 colors ranging from vibrant to the classics, it features 192 dotted grid notebook pages, a hardcover made of PU leather, and an inner pocket. The pages are heavy and thick, so there’s no bleeding or feathering when you’re writing. There are also ruled, squared, and plain paper versions if they suit your whims better!
Pros: Inner accordion pocket, no feathering, and bleeding.
Cons: The binding could be stronger, no numbered pages.
8. Bamboo Bullet
Bamboo is all the rage, so why not journal on it too? The Bamboo Bullet Journal features 120 sheets of thick, sturdy, high quality paper. Because each page is already numbered, you can easily create an index without having to add that extra step.
The bamboo cover is elegant and highlighted by genuine leather binding. Two ribbon bookmarks help you keep track of where you left off last.
Pros: Thicker paper than most other journals (240 pages of 160 GSM), no bleeding.
Cons: Heavy because of the bamboo cover, tight binding may make it tough to keep open (at first).
9. Bullet Dotted Journal
Choose this bullet dotted journal, and you’ll get plenty of extras that make it a perfect choice. In addition to 220 numbered acid free pages and a convenient 5 inch by 8.3-inch size, you’ll also get a gold-metal stencil/ruler that has its own pocket so it won’t get lost.
There are three-page markers, four index pages, and an expandable back pocket – all in a lay-flat design that won’t stymie your creativity.
Pros: 160 GSM thick paper, pen loop in the spine.
Cons: Suitable for micron pens, but may bleed with brush markers.
Benefits of Journal Writing
Besides inspiring your creativity, journaling can help you in a few surprising ways.
Journaling can help writers build a daily writing habit, whereas academic journals can with researching a big project. Or you can just use a journal to record inspirational quotes or for self-exploration.
- Goal-setting: Journal writing helps you to be more precise about goal-setting and unlocking your talents. Lay down the steps needed to achieve your goals and set deadlines to help you stay on track. It can work as a motivational tool when you hit those inevitable slumps.
- Training your writing: It helps you train your writing through constant practise and self-reflection. In the end, your journals become a keepsake of your journey.
- Stretching your IQ: Science proves that it stretches your IQ since “writing as part of language learning has a positive correlation with intelligence.”
- Boosting your memory: Journaling increases the ability to retain and understand concepts – much better than taking notes on a mobile app.
- Relief from stress: Journaling can relieve stress as it makes you slow down, and cultivates mindfulness.
How to Make Time to Journal
It may seem difficult to make time to journal every day of the year.
But set aside a fixed time on at least three days of the week to write your journal. Ideas may strike you at odd times – so keep your Moleskine journal handy so that you can pen down those gems right away.
Time yourself so that journaling doesn’t affect other activities, and you don’t end up feeling unproductive at the end of the day.
In case you miss a day, just catch up the next day. It isn’t like submitting a manuscript or having a publishing deadline set by editors – so don’t pressurize yourself.
What Is the Difference Between a Journal and a Notebook?
A journal is for writing down your ideas, whereas a notebook is more for taking notes at meetings, interviews and even for to-do lists.
That said, a typical notebook is a fairly generic and lined affair that has a pretty fragile cover. Journals tend to be smaller with sturdy covers. Some come with an elastic closure, a place for a pen, stickers, and other fun motivators. If you’re serious about journaling in 2020, opt for a specific journal that’s dedicated only to that activity.
A journal is a flexible creation. If you want to start journaling and all you have is a notebook, you shouldn’t hamper your creativity processes by insisting you need both.
What Is the Difference between a Journal and a Diary?
A journal is a place to allow yourself to free-write an article, poem, or whatever comes to your mind during your journaling time. If you’re like many people, you get stuck on what to write, so turning to prompts that start the flow of ideas is common.
On the other hand, a diary is more of a place to record what happened throughout the day. It’s a way of chronicling events in your life, goals you want to attain, and other daily minutiae.
That said, some people love having a separate place for journaling and recording their daily entries. By doing this, it can help keep you on track with journaling without making you feel guilty about not writing in your diary or overwhelmed by the thought of having to do so.
Buying The Best Journal
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits all journal for writers.
Taking the time to set up a journal, so it works well for you, though, can make the difference between journaling becoming a habit for life and it just being something that falls off your radar.
A bullet journal notebook an excellent tool for journal writing. It’s easy to customize to suit your needs, has plenty of options to fulfill your creativity, and can be expanded at any time.
Choose one that includes some fun stencils to help you get started. Add a few colored pens and some stickers to personalize it even more.
If starting a bullet journal sounds like a lot of work or if you’re into a more minimalist approach, stick with a classic notebook or a spiral-bound journal.
A journal with prompts can be a useful tool that sparks creative thoughts if you tend to have a difficult time generating your own ideas for journal entries day after day.
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