8 Types of Journals and How they Can Help You with Self Discovery

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Are you ready to start your journaling adventure? It’s time to choose your journal! Shopping for a new journal isn’t as easy as it appears. There are many types of journals available, and the one you ultimately decide upon should align with your journaling goals.

Not only are there different types of journals, but there are also different styles of journals as well. This post will walk you through everything you need to know about the different styles and types of journals so you can get the perfect journal for you!

Sorry – Not Scholarly Journals

Before we get types of journals, let’s take a brief detour and talk about scholarly and peer-reviewed journals. There are tons of scientific journals, medical journals, research journals, and scholarly opinions based on heavy research. We aren’t talking about that here. Check out this website if you’re looking for information on scholarly research!


We’re talking about a very different type of journal, one without jargon and footnotes. We’re talking about the journals that you use every day to help you understand yourself better. Both types of journals have a place – but we’re more interested in the personal here than in research.  Sorry if anyone took an unexpected detour!

Now that we’ve cleared up any confusion let’s dive into journal types!

Styles of Journals

First, we’re going to talk about the different styles of journals. If you want your journal to be anything and everything, you don’t have to worry about the specific type, but you should get the style that fits you the best.

Lined Journal

A lined journal is a typical diary-style journal with lines in it. This journal doesn’t have any prompts but is full of lined pages to write out all of your thoughts, ideas, hopes, and dreams. A traditional lined journal is what most people think of when they think journal.

It’s the best type of journal out there, in my opinion. Lined journals are versatile and easy to use and understand. You can use a lined journal in place of pretty much any of the other journals on this list.  However, if you need extra inspiration and want some flare or prompts to go along with your journal, the types of journals on this list can help you!

You can get a gorgeous, leatherbound lined journal at Soothi. They also have some of the other journal styles available as well!

Handmade Leather Journals  

Blank Page Journal

A blank page journal is better than a lined journal if you want to add sketches and drawings to your journal. Some of us use our journals for doodling, and it’s far more fun if you don’t have lines blocking your way!

The disadvantage to a blank journal, in my opinion, is writing in a straight line. If I don’t have an actual line to write on, my sentence will not be straight. Some people can write straight naturally, and I envy those folks. I’m not one of them.

Bullet Journal

A bullet journal is a journal with pages filled with little dots, or bullets, in a grid. These bullets are made to help you design your perfect journal. You can draw lines using the grid, but you can also use it to create a planner, to-do lists, and even doodle without lines getting in the way.

Bullet journals are all the rage, and they are amazing for folks who want to design their own perfect journal.


All-in-one notebooks are a cross between a journal and a planner. These have schedules, calendars, task lists, and extra room for you to write out your daily thoughts. I only like these types of journals for planning and scheduling. I prefer not to brain dump right onto my schedule! However, everyone is different, and if you want one spot for all your needs, an all-in-one planner is worth checking out.

My favorite all-in-one is the all-in-one Planner from Ivory Planner. It is much more of a planner than a journal, so keep that in mind before purchasing!

Types of Journals

Many people need a little more guidance on their journey to self-enlightenment, and that’s where the different types of journals can come into play. Many of these journals are designed for a specific purpose, whether that means reaching a certain weight loss goal or remembering your dreams each night.

These specific journals will often have prompts, images, quotes, and other design elements specifically related to the journal’s purpose. A food journal may have a calorie chart, while a gratitude journal may have prompts relating to thankfulness. Every journal is different though, one brand of gratitude journal may offer things that a different brand doesn’t offer.

Below are the different types of journals available, along with my favorite place to get each type!

Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is a journal that is made specifically to help you with gratitude and thankfulness. Promptly journals has a wonderful gratitude journal that is filled with prompts on self-reflection. The journal is designed to help you realize all the wonderful things you have going on in your life and helps you be thankful for those things.

Shop Promptly Journals for all Your Holiday Gifts! 

Memory Journal

A memory journal is designed to help us remember important events in our lives. It’s akin to a diary, where you write down what you want to remember, but I think it can be much more than that.

I consider a memory journal to be a cross between a journal and a scrapbook. I write significant events down, doodle, add images, and tape memorabilia like concert tickets or other random scraps.

The great thing about a memory journal is that it can be whatever you want it to be. You can get a blank journal and use it as a memory journal, or you can go to a craft store like Michaels and get some scrapbooking stuff and turn your memory journal into an image-filled scrapbook. Journaling is a personal experience, and the right way to do it is whatever way works for you.

Food Journal

Food journals are designed to help you on your weight loss journey. In this type of journal, you write down your meals – which includes everything you ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any snacks, and you write down their calories. This helps you get an idea of how many calories you are consuming each week.

The best food journals also offer space for you to write down your daily exercise. The key to losing weight is calories in versus calories out, so the food is only half the journey. You can get free printable food journal pages on WebMD, but if you want a solid journal that you can carry with you, check out theLife and Apples Wellness planner available on Amazon. It has space for your food journal but also includes a meal planner and a section on gratitude!

Travel Journal

If you want a journal that will help you remember your travel experiences, keep track of your bucket list destinations, and help you find new and exciting places to visit, you need a travel journal.

Typically, when I travel, I prefer to bring a small pocket-sized journal that is easy to carry. I just want to jot down my memories and any information that could be useful to you all when I write about it in the travel section! For this, I recommend a small Moleskine journal that you can get at Barnes & Noble. Moleskine is durable, so it won’t get destroyed if it gets shuffled around in your backpack a bit!

However, my best friend bought me an amazing prompt-filled travel journal as a gift last Christmas. It’s called a Travel Listography, and it’s designed to help you explore the world with lists. It has prompts and lists ideas for tons of different things that I wouldn’t have even considered, like the best neighborhoods I’ve visited and most interesting historical cemeteries. It’s a fun way to look at traveling from a different perspective.

Grief Journal

A grief journal is designed to help you heal from a traumatic event. Usually, this includes the loss of a loved one or difficulty starting a family. These journals come with prompts designed to help you work through the complicated emotions that come with loss.

While it’s heartbreaking that this journal is needed, the fact is many of us go through loss. A grief journal can help us process that loss. Promptly journals offer the most in-depth selection of grief journals that I have seen. If you are in need, this is a good place to start.

Art Journal

Artists and creatives alike use art journals to jot down ideas and sketch out prototypes. These journals are designed for doodling! Sometimes artists just want to do a quick sketch of an idea they were considering or write notes about the next masterpiece they are going to create. A journal is a perfect place for an artist to collect their thoughts and keep their projects on track.

Traditional, unlined journals are best for art journals, but you need to make sure you’re getting something made for art. The paper in art journals is generally thicker than in traditional journals so that you can experiment with different mediums right on the journal pages without ruining the book.  The visual journal, available on Amazon, is a great choice for a blank art journal. Michaels also has an amazing selection of art journals, sketch pads, and drawing books available. 

There are also art journals available that have prompts. These journals give you daily sketch ideas or other artistic inspiration. The Painted Art Journal, available on Amazon, is the epidemy of this type of journal. It has 24 prompts designed to help you create your own artistic narrative and ask you to explore various mediums on your journey.

Meditation Journal

A meditation journal will help guide you through your meditative process. Some might have prompts for setting intentions for your meditation, while others may ask that you reflect upon the thoughts you had while meditating.


A great way to get into the process of journaling for meditation is by joining Silk & Sonder’s journaling club. They have a subscription-based journaling program that includes access to their app, a member’s only community, and daily affirmations and exercises to help you on your journey. The subscription also includes the monthly journal!

Dream Journal

A dream journal is meant to help you remember and understand your dreams. I keep a dream journal under my bed so I can grab it first thing in the morning and write down everything I remember from the night’s escapades. Usually, I don’t remember my dreams, so I don’t have much to write down, but I’m glad it’s there when I need it!

The knock knock dream journal available on Amazon has prompts and other activities dedicated to helping you understand your dreams. It’s a fun take on a dream journal for those who really want to get into understanding their subconscious.

A Hunter’s Journal

This one is for fans of the hit show Supernatural. Although I prefer Buffy, Supernatural made a huge mark on television, and now you can get novelty hunter’s journals online.

Although this is just for fun, it also showcases the fact that there are journals for every possible thing you can imagine.

A Journal For Everything

Journaling is a great habit to get into, regardless of why you are choosing to start. Hopefully, this post gave you some awesome inspiration and ideas on why you should start journaling.

The cool thing about journaling is that there is something for everyone. There is a specific journal type to fit a plethora of different needs, some that I’ve probably never even heard of! And, if there isn’t a specific journal type, a regular lined or blank journal will do the job! So grab your journal and get started today!

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