Choosing a Journal Notebook

Last year I did a post on the benefits of keeping a journal, and even listed the different types of journal one can have. (You can read my post here)

As I said before, writers have much to gain from keeping a journal.  Documenting our thoughts and emotions not only helps us relieve stress—it also helps plant seeds for future stories. Aside from being a great source of story/article ideas, journals also help us improve our writing skills.

Writers have an inexplicable attraction for any kind of bound paper. If you’re a writer, you will most likely have trouble deciding on what type of notebook to get for your journal.

You might spend hours perusing the notebook aisle of your local office supplies store, and end up with a variety of them before the day is done.

Or you might just pick some random notebook up. Later on you  might discover that the particular notebook you picked just won’t cut it for the kind of journal you had in mind.

Or you might just give up choosing a notebook altogether and decide to just start journaling some other time.

I know, because I’ve done ALL that before. To help you from making the same mistakes I did, I’ve listed down some things to consider when choosing a notebook for your journal.



Small pocket-sized notebooks are ideal for carrying around in your—pocket. If you want a journal that’s always within reach—for scribbling down random thoughts, scraps of inspiration or sudden story ideas, a small moleskin notebook might be perfect for you.

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Medium sized notebooks can easily slip into your purse or bags. Like smaller notebooks, they’re easy to carry around, but they give you a little more space to write or draw or doodle.

newsprint graphique

 Newsprint Graphique Journal


If you plan to keep your journal on your desk at home, a large notebook might be ideal.

Large notebooks are best for Art Journals, Project Journals or Novel Journals. You can purchase a sketchbook if you plan to do a lot of illustrations, or if you’re a fantasy writer and you like to draw maps of your world, or pictures of your characters and setting. Large, lined notebooks are also easier to use for freewriting/creative writing exercises. You’ll have all that space to write, and you won’t need to turn the pages often, especially when you’re following a particular storyline or train of thought.

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 Eiffel Tower Spriral Notebook



Beautifully designed notebooks such as leather-bound journals or prettily decorated diaries may either inspire or intimidate you.

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 Leather Bound Journal at Life’


I have tons of these at home, but most of them are still sitting in drawers with empty pages. I feel like I can’t use these beautiful treasures unless I have some wonderful words to write on them—or until I can finally improve my atrocious handwriting.

One day, I hope to break this crazy psychological effect, but for now, I’m content to doodle on regular, 99 cent notebooks.

Other writers, however, may not feel the same way. They may be inspired by beautiful designs and may end up writing all the time.



A high quality notebook will definitely cost more than a regular lined notebook. The material and design of the cover, and the thickness and smoothness of the paper will definitely affect the way you write.

pretty notebook

If you plan to keep your journals for a long time, you might want to invest in a quality notebook.

However, if you simply want to use your journal as a way to purge random, stray thoughts before you do some actual writing, you can save some money on a cheaper notebook.


Some Popular Journal Options



These little notebooks are a little pricey, but their high quality and durability make them well worth it. Moleskin journals are easy to carry and often stay flat when they’re open –so writing on them won’t be a problem.  They are also made of thick paper, so no worries about your favorite gel pen or fountain pen bleeding through the pages.

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Moleskin Journals at




Staples’ ARC notebooks are a revolutionary idea. You can basically customize your own journal. The ARC notebooks come in a variety of sizes and cover designs. Choose a small, medium or large sized notebook. Pick a heavy, leather-bound cover or a light plastic one in  solid colors or fancy designs.  You can even decide on the thickness of your journal thanks to the notebook rings, which come in 3 different sizes (3/4, 1 inch, 1/5 inches).


You can even add accessories like dividers, pockets, post-its and bookmarks. The best part about the Arc system is that the pages are refillable—and movable!

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For maximum functionality, you can also choose a notebook with a built-in pen holder. It’ll save you from turning your bag inside out just to find a pen.

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Or you could just buy one of these Quiver Pen Leather Holders to place on your notebooks.

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 Quiver Pen Leather Holder at



Cute, pretty or generally cool-looking notebooks are fun to look at.  And if they’re fun to look at, you may just want to carry them around everywhere. And if you’re carrying them around everywhere, you might as well use them and write all your pretty (or ugly) little thoughts on them.

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Well, that’s the general idea, anyway.


Do you, or would you ever journal? What type of notebook would you choose?

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