Journaling- What Medium Will You Choose?

         Written by Sarah Day

With 2020 over and 2021 beginning it is time to make some New Year’s resolutions. One of the most beneficial to make would be to start a journal. Journaling is extremely important but you do need a place to start. I can help with that. 

There are many different journaling mediums to choose from. Some of them include pen and paper, an app, a web based service, art, a scrapbook, a prompted journal, video, memento collection, mind-mapping, or a gratitude Journal. 

Many people have been affected for good from journaling. One of these people is Lisa Coffey. She shared the following “Journaling is a word that can either inspire or overwhelm us when we first hear it. However, there are as many ways to keep a record of your life as there are people! If paper and pen do not work for you remember that something as simple as a paper planner or calendar in your phone, or even your social media are each a record of who you are and whose lives you touch.

What I have learned from decades of journaling is that a journal can heal your mind when it is filled with worry or you simply need a place to organize thoughts for a project. A journal is a way to learn about yourself, to see patterns in your behavior which can help you decide to keep those behaviors or to work at changing them to help you in the future. Every once in a while, I read through one or two older entries or journals. It’s a joy to see that I have grown as a person. When reading about my trials or struggles, I gain confidence when I see how I was able to move through them. I experience joy upon rediscovering fond memories. Journaling is storytelling in one of its purest forms, no matter how you do it. And your story matters.”

Below I will talk about and explain each of these types and explain what might be the best for you. 

9 Different Types of Journals

Traditional Pen and Paper

The first option for journaling is the most traditional one; it is a regular paper journal and a writing utensil. This tends to be the most common. You can choose to write in it creatively, list daily experiences, write down important events, include feelings or emotions, or in a Dear Diary format. 

This option is great for people who like writing on paper. Those who feel uncomfortable with technology. Just want a place to record their thoughts. The one thing that should be considered is if this type gets damaged or destroyed its contents will be gone forever. 

An App

The next option is an app. There are many apps out there to choose from. This is a great option for those who are very technology fluent. It is great to be able to have your entries be safe forever if you can open an account with the app. You can use a speech to text option if you prefer to vocalize your journal entries. Here are a list of apps you can use:

  • Reflectly
  • Notebook
  • Day One
  • Diary
  • Mood App
  • Flow Journal
  • Diaro
  • Journey
  • Penzu
  • Daylio
  • Grid Diary

These are just a few of the many options out there. Many more exist; these are just our favorites. 

A Web-Based Service

This is a journal style through various internet or computer programs. There are programs you can download and are specifically meant for journaling or you can use a program like word or google docs for your journal. There are a variety of options. A web-based service is best for those who are technology fluent and/or spend a lot of time on a computer. A web-based service specifically for journaling is great if you like the journal looking format. Word or google docs are great if you are already familiar with the programs. Google Docs will be around forever so it will be saved indefinitely. The one downside to a web-based service is a privacy concern. These services are usually safe and not hacked but putting extremely personal information on the internet may not be the best choice for you if you have some privacy concerns. 


This is an art journal. You can draw, paint or create instead of writing. This is a wonderful option for those who have a hard time writing their thoughts, feelings or other journaling material. It is also great for those who like to create art. You can just create different pictures, images or art based on the day. It could be a drawing of an event, your choice of colors could reflect your mood or feelings, you could draw abstractly or realistically. 

A Scrapbook

This is another type of journal. It is scrapbooking. This type can include words, images, art, colors and more. It can be whatever you want it to be. This type of journal is great for those who like art over words. Those who want it in either a virtual or on paper format. It is also great because it looks more fun and exciting than just words on a page. 

A Prompted Journal

This can be either virtual or on paper. It is simply a journal with prompts or questions at the top of an entry to help you know what to write. This option is great for those who like to journal either digitally or on paper. It is also great for those who would like to keep a journal but when you sit down you struggle to figure out what to write about. 


This is a journal that instead of the traditional writing or pictures is done in a video form. If you struggle to write or to draw this might be the right choice for you. You can just talk and record yourself talking. It can be about whatever you want. 

Memento Collection

This type of Journal is made up of little pieces of your life or your day. You could use photos, news clippings, envelopes, pins, buttons, rocks, wrappers, gifts, bills or almost anything else. It is simply a compilation of your day to day life for you to save and look back on. This type of journal is wonderful for those who have limited time to journal, struggle to know what to write, like remembering the little things in life and those who like things to collect or keep little items from their lives. 

Mind Mapping

A Mind map is “an easy way to brainstorm thoughts organically without worrying about order and structure. It allows you to visually structure your ideas to help with analysis and recall.”1 It also “is a diagram for representing tasks, words, concepts, or items linked to and arranged around a central concept or subject using a non-linear graphical layout that allows the user to build an intuitive framework around a central concept.”2 This can helpful to get down thoughts in a non traditional way and can help you remember them better later. This can be a very amazing journal style for those who are visual learners, those who like to make bulleted lists or are having a difficult time organizing their thoughts. 

Gratitude Journal

This type of journal is listing things you are grateful for or small miracles in your life everyday. It can be done in a paragraph format with more information or can be simply a bulleted list. It could be around a specific theme each day or just things you noticed you were grateful for that day. It can have one item or fifteen or more it is up to you. Gratitude journaling can have many benefits including changing thought patterns, improving physical health, creating optimism and improving sleep.3 This type of journal is great for those who are struggling to keep a traditional journal but would still like to write, those who want more things to be grateful about and anyone who would like to experience any of the benefits associated with gratitude journaling. 


Overall no matter which format or medium you choose you will be able to start and keep and journal and experience the benefits of journaling. It may take trying a couple of different types before you find the one that works best for you but it will come eventually. You just need to keep trying. 

Benefits of Journaling

Journaling has numerous benefits. Some of the best are it can help invoke mindfulness, achieve goals, boosts memory and concentration,  improves your communication skills, helps you heal, improves creativity, increase in self confidence, enhance sense of well being, help with anxiety and depression, reduce stress and improves immune function. These are all amazing benefits and can affect and improve all different areas of our lives if we take the simple step of journaling. 





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