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Journaling: All The Ways to Tell Your Story

Aug 23, 2019

I know what you’re thinking: Journaling? Really? Isn’t that boring?

Okay, so I don’t truly know if you’re thinking that, but maybe…

When I think journaling, I tend to think more traditional: Dear Diary, Today was great. I had a big two-scoop ice cream cone and didn’t gain a pound.

Oh, if only.

Yes, the traditional diary journal is a great way to tell your story. But, there are other ways if that method seems a little old school for you.

But first…

Why Journal at All?

Why indeed.

As a few inspirational people put it:

“I journal a lot for nobody but myself. Just to get my thoughts out and to clear my mind. That’s very therapeutic to me.”

~ Lili Reinhart, actress

“Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself.”

~ Robin S. Sharma, #1 bestselling author

“A journal is your completely unaltered voice—it’s just for you. And if you know that voice, and you like it, you can bring it out to everyone else, and that’s the most honest and vulnerable thing you can do.”

~ Lucy Dacus, singer-songwriter

“Your subconscious mind is trying to help you all the time. That’s why I keep a journal—not for chatter but for mostly the images that flow into the mind or little ideas. I keep a running journal, and I have all my life, so it’s like your gold mine when you start writing.”

~ Jim Harrison, poet, novelist, essayist

For me, keeping a journal is therapeutic. I’ve kept different kinds of journals throughout my life, including the traditional diary from elementary school days. Sometimes I go back and read what I have written. But even the entries that I don’t go back to read were important to write. There were times I went through bouts of confusion, anxiety, disappointment, frustration, all the feels, and writing in my journal helped me sort through my feelings and the pain. Documenting my story helped me learn, grow, and love me more.

We’ll go more into this deep stuff another time. For now, let’s take a look at some different ways of journaling.

Traditional Diary

Oh, yes. We’ve mentioned this one already.

You don’t need to write, “Dear Diary” in your journal. When I was younger, I didn’t write a greeting, but I did write a fun valediction. That’s a fun journal to go back and read.

You don’t need to do that either.

A traditional journal can be very fun in its own way. You don’t have any parameters you need to stay in. You can do whatever you want. Sometimes I draw pictures. Sometimes I tell stories. Sometimes I just write about my day.

Bullet Journals

These are a big thing right now, and they are beautiful! A bullet journal can be a great way to jot down the important stuff in a fun visual way. So, if documenting all the little wordy details is not your thing, you can focus on the main things while using your visual creative skills.

Lately, I’ve started using stickers as a way to bullet journal.

Photo Journals

If you’re a visual person, photo journals might be the best option for you. There are some great sites out there that offer easy-to-make photo journaling software, like Shutterfly, Snapfish, Mixbook, Chatbooks, and more. Many photo journaling sites also make it easy to turn your well-documented Instagram and Facebook photos into photo books.


If you’re a true minimalist, a planner might be your favorite way to journal. There are great visual options out there that allow you to personalize your planners and be creative in how you present your to-do lists, apointments, things to remember, etc. A few include The Happy Planner, Bloom Daily Planners, and PurpleTrail.

I’m obsessed with sticker planners. One of may favorite planning sessions is when I get to decorate my planner. (Nerd alert, I know.)


You can also go the virtual route and create a blog. These don’t have to be shareable with the world. You can make a blog private so only you can access your thoughts. You can even provide a password to family and friends you want to invite, let’s say, if you’re documenting your summer vacation, your kids’ childhood days, or anything else you want to keep private from the general public but share with loved ones.

Social Media

Some people like to use Instagram and Facebook as a means to document their lives. Most people know the ins and outs of these platforms, so I won’t go into the details.


Pretty much everyone has a video-recording device at their fingertips—I’m talking your phone. Video is a great way to capture your big moments and your thoughts. If writing isn’t for you, just turn on some video and talk through your thoughts, feelings, experiences… And you don’t have to share your videos; those can always remain private.


Even though video has overshadowed it a bit, let’s not forget our good friend audio. You can always record just your voice and document your stories that way. My grandpa used the old-fashioned method of tape to record some of his personal stories, and even the stories his grandkids loved to hear him recite when we were younger. I’m so grateful to be able to hear and remember his voice.

There are a lot of ways to journal and record your stories. You can go all sorts of creative even with songwriting, art, other stuff I can’t think of off the top of my head. Really, there are a lot of ways to document your experiences, thoughts, feelings.

Did you think of something I didn’t? Let me know in the comments.


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