On Keeping a Physical Journal

Late last spring, I decided to start keeping a physical journal again.

I’ve always been big on writing my feelings down and keeping track of daily life in this way, but over the past few years, it happened less and less. When I did remember to write things down, I wasn’t really writing them down, per se. I was using an app on my phone (called Day One, which, in itself, is quite outstanding). It was definitely convenient in numerous ways, but after a few years of doing things this way, it just didn’t feel right.

As I’ve stated many times before, I’ve always been someone who thinks better on paper. Not just when writing creatively, but when keeping a journal, too. Because of that little fact, it didn’t take much to get back to a physical journal.

What I Use

Anyone who has known me for even the shortest amount of time knows that I’m a sucker for a good notebook. Oh, and fountain pens. And beautiful, brightly-hued inks!

There are plenty of options out there, of course, but it’s always good to remember that not all notebooks are meant for use with fountain pens. I tried three different ones, all of which allowed horrible ink bleed-through on each page, and it drove me crazy. Really. It did.

My local pen store — Anderson Pens — offers a wide selection of notebooks, big and small. They carry these gorgeous notebooks by Zequenz, which I’ve grown to love immensely. They’re flexible and are easy to write in (even on non-flat surfaces!), and have a spiffy magnetic bookmark (if you’re into fun extras like that). I use this specific one because 1.) I love lined notebooks for this purpose; 2.) I can’t write in a straight line without lines, and; 3.) I have large, bubbly handwriting that requires a larger journal size.

I love fountain pens. They’re gorgeous and I’ve never used one that didn’t provide a lovely writing experience. However, as much as I’d like to be a collector, I’m not. Money constraints and all, you know? I do own one fountain pen, and it’s this Konrad Flex from Noodler’s Ink (except in a fantastic blue color, which it appears they don’t carry anymore). I’ve always been a fan of the clear-bodied pens because, yes, I’m rather anal about the ink levels in my pens. I like to know how much remains ans when I need to refill. Why? Because let’s face it — being away from home with a nearly-empty pen and no ink bottle is an apocalyptic matter.

Now, when it comes to inks, there are literally thousands of bottles to choose from. I tend to stick to inks from Diamine because I’ve found that they’re the most stable (meaning they rarely bleed after hitting paper). I could write an entire post on my favorite Diamine inks, but for this post, I’ll stick to my current (and favorite!) color — this bright, beautiful, and so very autumnal Pumpkin hue. I use this all year long for a variety of reasons, but mostly just because I love the richness of it. It really is gorgeous.

My Journal Habits

I’ve had a few different folks ask me about my habits when it comes to keeping a journal. In all honesty, I don’t have much to say about that. When I wake in the morning, I meditate for 30 minutes, then stretch and complete a few basic yoga sequences. After that, I settle in with my journal and a cup of coffee.

I write whatever comes to mind. My journal really doesn’t have much of a structure. Some days, it’s treated as more of a space to just clear my head, and on other days, I write about specific happenings. Most days, my morning entry is a page or two, but can be longer sometimes. The only consistent items in every entry are the date and the time.

I tend to stick to one entry a day, but that’s not to say it’s always that way. There are days where I have more than one entry. There have been days where I have up to five. It really just depends on what’s happening in life and how I’m feeling. On days when I have higher anxiety levels, I tend to write more than one entry because doing so helps me calm down.

My advice? Write how much you need to and whenever you need to. It’s pretty simple, really. It may not be beneficial for everyone, but it’s helped me in more ways than one, and I love that it’s become a regular part of my daily routine again.

(Note: I’m not an affiliate for Anderson Pens in any way. I link to them because they’re local to me and Brian and Lisa are friendly, amazing, and knowledgeable people!)