How I Choose A Journal

To Use As A Diary

Photo by pure julia on Unsplash

Today I am going to talk about how I choose a journal to use as a diary journal or a written journal.

When I started out as a writer, way back when I was eight or nine years old, any scrap of paper would do. In middle school, I used loose-leaf paper and a binder. I added binders as I added stories. Sometimes I divided the stories up by topic, each topic in its own binder.

In high school, I had hardback journals, roughly A5 size, that which I wrote my poetry in. A lot of my stories were written on loose-leaf paper and shoved into folders, but I also used spiral-bound notebooks. I used spiral-bound notebooks for years.

After I graduated high school and had money of my own to spend, I discovered before-school sales and cheap composition notebooks. Each seasonal sale, I would grab stacks of spiral-bound notebooks, composition books, and still loose-leaf paper with folders and binders. The yearly school sales were like Heaven for me.

Next came my entry into the Bullet Journaling world. Oh my. I bought up A5 dot grid notebooks wherever I found them cheap. I still have a stack that I use to experiment with at times, but mostly I just give those ones to my kids to work with and work through.

I signed up for a few subscription boxes from the Bullet Journaling world and found out what nice paper looks like, what magic certain pens can hold, and what I was missing out on with the cheaper versions. This was the first step toward my journal addiction. As if I needed a new twist to my old stationery addiction.

Now, keep in mind that I do not do a great deal of artsy stuff in my Bullet Journals. I am not painting in my bujo. I am not creating fancy spreads or anything like that. I don’t need watercolor-type paper to support my artistic purview. Nope. I do use some highlighting markers to create lines or boxes, but I don’t go overboard. Stickers and washi tape are about as far as I can manage otherwise.

The nicer Bullet Journal notebooks carried over into my writing journals, where I now need to have numbered pages and an index, whether I create them myself or whether the journal comes preprinted with them. I even tried nicer composition journals, quickly becoming hooked on the Decomposition journals, be they lined or dot grid, B5 size, or pocket-sized.

I was still using not cheap but not really nice Bullet Journal notebooks most of the time, because, as I said, I bought up a bunch of the cheaper ones and I have a stash. The really cheap ones make great planning and drawing journals for my kids. The next set up of Bullet Journals, the paper is thinner. They don’t work as well as the higher-quality paper ones. I had the spine of one completely give out after two months. I admit I do a lot of tip-ins, but I had never had a spine split and the book started to fall apart before all the tip-ins.

This past month, after sitting down and really asking myself questions about my work, my writing needs and wants, as well as my bujo needs and wants, I came to the decision to stop buying the cheap ones. I do plan to use up what I have. They make good practice journals or maybe travel journals. I have one where I am tracking household re-organization activities. All the more important things are in higher-quality journals.

Sometimes it is not about saving or spending money. Sometimes it is about honoring the work that you do and honoring yourself as you do that work. So, I have some lovely pens that are more than five for two dollars. I have some high-quality journals, both a bit expensive and not so expensive, as I have not yet given up all of my subscription services. These are working beautifully for me.

I am still trying out different companies’ journals. I don’t have that one A5 bujo that is my one and only go-to yet. But I do pay much more attention to the paper gsm and the company in question’s values these days. I prefer to work with journals that are active with environmental issues, using recycled papers and the like, when I am able.

I have a few preferred companies, but I also have a few more different journals I would like to try out before I commit. Seeing what’s out there is fun, I must say.