Sample Journaling System: A Place to Write

If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that I stress handwriting over typing for first drafts and journaling. It’s not just my nerdy love of paper. I talk about all the reasons I love handwriting (and when I don’t) in this post. For now, here’s a peek into the types of journals I keep. Be inspired and keep writing.

Types of journals and their functions:

Meditation Journal

This is the prettiest of all my journals and the most whimsical. I write very intentionally in this journal with my best handwriting and focused attention. It’s where I do my slow writing and entries are often illustrated. Here I record:

  • Dreams and possible interpretations
  • Meditations and insights gained
  • Rune readings and other oracles
  • Daily reflections on my spiritual practice

Biz Journal or Process Journal

Since deciding to make writing my primary business, I’ve kept a business journal to highlight what’s working and what’s not. On the first page, I’ve written: Dream. Plan. Create. That’s what I do in this journal. I jot down my writing and business goals, outline potential steps to achieve my goals, and draft out early designs. I also use this space to track my progress as I move through various projects. My biz journal houses:

  • Processes – how-to steps on everything from blogging, productivity apps, and technical stuff like online platforms for hosting a workshop
  • Designs and layout – scribbled-out drawings of website layouts, room-sketches for story-circle gatherings, and dimensions for handmade books or other artwork
  • Market Research – who my readers are and what they are asking for, events and news in my field, reviews of publications  and programs I’m interested in
  • Copy and outlines – early (very early) drafts of what eventually ends up on the website, outlines for courses, workshops, and presentations

The Ugly Notebook

This is a the ugly notebook but there are many of them. I use cheap spiral-bound notebooks and note pads. The key here is that the pages be easy to rip out. This series of notebooks is for pages that will be processed in some way, i.e. shopping lists that are tossed after the shopping trip, or first drafts that are later typed up. Some examples include:

  • Grocery lists, food and menu planner, budget calculations
  • Morning Pages and “Closed-Door Writing”
  • First drafts of articles and blog posts
  • Lists of markets and submissions guidelines – transferred to my planner and submissions tracker if I choose to pursue a specific market for publication
  • Never-ending to-do lists either get tossed after the task is done, get transferred to my planner for time-specific task planning, or become a project outline in a my biz journal

Writer’s Notebook

This is where the magic happens. I keep my writer’s notebook with me almost all of the time. It needs to fit in any purse or bag I carry. It needs to be flexible but sturdy. If I do things right, it will get a lot of use. The writer’s notebook is not a journal in the traditional sense of journaling. Instead, it’s a sort of canvas for weaving and mixing words and phrases that may later become full texts. In my writer’s notebook, I write:

  • Poems and short stories, first drafts, some revisions before typing them up
  • Quotes and Phrases that I use later to inspire my writing
  • Notes on books I’m reading or have read
  • Overheard conversations, quirky descriptions and general thoughts


Yes, I am a paper planner type of gal. I use google calendars for important reminders and alerts but most of my daily scheduling happens in my paper planner. I’ve used Planner Pads for several years for their intuitive funneling system and week-at-a-glance format. More recently, I’ve upgraded to the beautifully designed Desire Map Planner from Danielle Laporte. My planner organizes the following:

  • Year long overview – I can plug in significant events, holidays and long-term planning such as conferences, seasonal themes, workshops and travel for the year
  • Monthly Calendar – Each month I review my goals and jot down upcoming birthdays, date nights, events, and project deadlines
  • Weekly Details – This is where the nitty-gritty of my planning goes in. I keep track of my spiritual goals, my self-care needs, family time, meal plans for the week, detailed schedules for creative projects, appointments with clients, writing deadlines and other day-to-day notes and tasks. This is my daily reminder to keep balance and prioritize.

This system works for me but is also always evolving. The mail purposes are to stay organized, get the writing done and focus on the things that matter first.

Do you have a journaling system that works for you? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

2 responses to “Sample Journaling System: A Place to Write”

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