Journal Topics

Lets explore a little here, see because you can break down what you want to write about into so many different categories. Say you buy a new journal and you find it hard to start writing because you want the words that go in there to be just write for that perfect, glossy volume, whatever that means. So it sits empty.

putting pencil to paper

You flip to a blank page, and…

playing with the pencil instead of writing

you start playing with the pencil.

Or maybe a loved-one gets you a diary as a gift! Lovely! But, they tell you all about how they hope you write everything about your wonderful life and journey through college along its pages for future children to someday read. Wow, it’s just… what a buzz-kill, right? I feel obligated to write to my unborn kids about college now, just because Aunty Mae seemed so happy about the idea. Another empty one on the shelf.

Or the journal you bought because you had all these ideas about documenting your travels across Europe when the reality became you were having too much fun to sit on a bench for a moment and pull the thing out.

Whatever the reason, those empty pages might be hidden behind leather and glossy quote-filled covers, but they’re staring at you. They’re all asking when you’re gonna pull one down and put it to good use.

Your journals are judging you.

“What about me?” “Why am I not good enough?” “Where is that pen you bought with me? I bet you’re using that pen with another Journal!” “Cad!”

Sorry, that last one was just me, for emphasis. My Journals may not talk to me with words, but I do feel like the way they lay on a particular surface can have a passive-aggressive vibe to it. Like “what, you’re too busy for me… Again?


Those empty bindings need a use. So if you’re stuck and don’t know what to put in them, try one of these ideas. There might be one you haven’t tried yet, or you could combine two ideas and see what creation happens! Either way, the longer those ditsy diaries stay on the shelf, the worse their criticisms of you are when you finally do put ink to their pages.

“You’re really out of practice, aren’t you?” “Bit stiff, huh? Guess your writing practice has been neglected.” “You call that a sentence?” “Have you always spelled that word like that…?”

So, without further silliness:

Topic #1 – Daily Diary                    This one is what I recommend for writers that write many genres, styles and forms. If you do a lot of writing in other mediums, say you type, or you write for others, in another’s voice, ect… you need a way to come back to you. So at the end of the day before you shut out the light, grab that bedside book/pen combo and let your heart come back to the forefront of your craft.


Topic #2 – Hope Journal               Another good one for dedicated Writer’s who can’t get enough. Sometimes we get down on ourselves and on life, so I recommend a Hope Journal as a ritual of sending out good thoughts for the future. Not just for ourselves, maybe, but for others in our lives, family we have, and maybe, you know, the world. It’s not like it could hurt, and you know what they say about getting out what you’ve gone ahead and put in. Go sow some greatness!


Topic #3 – Money Diary                Now, I gotta be honest, I stumbled across this one by accident. I was great at personal finance. I knew exactly how much money I didn’t have. But I was an avid Journaler, and one day, pouring out my worries and concerns to the only thing I felt safe expressing in, I realized that I could use these pages as a detailed (but simple) record book. Listing my triumphs, the $’s I racked up and what I planned to do with the money. It was like a living and evolving vision board that I could write and re-write, and use as a way of exploring the possibilities of my income! I still dream with those numbers and write out the possibilities, page after page after page………


Topic #4 – Work Journal               I’ve only done this once, and it was hard. But only because I had an uphill battle with my Boss and I’s relationship. Otherwise, I think it would have been a delight, detailing every accomplishment and little victory I had with myself and my staff. To tell you the truth, even though the Journal was overshadowed by the vibe in the office, I still felt a great sense of pride whenever I glanced at my Work Journal and re-read all the things I had done well in the workplace. Helped me a lot to see those tiny wins. Helped me maintain positivity and passion for my career.


Topic #5 – School Journal             Need to scream about those awful teachers? Or write <3thank you<3 letters to classmates you’ll never send??? School is a life journal, to be sure and should be documented with all the color and vibrancy it deserves! What a rush, what craziness, what… a phase. But School life is a collaboration of memories that many will want to be able to live over in their later years, reminiscing on the first time they learned those lessons. Write it all down!


Topic #6 – Trip Journal                 If you’re going to take the trip of a lifetime, you can always decide to gather the experiences in a Diary. If you think you’ll have the time and the energy after touring and seeing the sights, then select a volume to record everything that makes an impression on you and the memories you don’t want to forget! You can have a journal for each trip, or one that you record all your travel experiences in.


Topic #7 – Personal Growth        If you’re like me (you know, insane) then this might be a great topic for you. Not to be rude or anything, but people as insane as me need personal growth. If I didn’t work on my journaling addiction, I would simply sit and write all day and never go to work. Maybe you have something about yourself that you would like to change, or adjust. Or maybe you just want to understand yourself better… perhaps shine some light on why people react to you the way they do, or why your family treats you like the black sheep. Turning your focus inward and writing about how you think and feel about things can be a great source of knowledge and strength. Try it out! It’s by far the kind of journaling that saved my soul and made my life slightly saner!


Topic #8 – Family Journal             These kinds of journals can be all over the board. Anything from scrapbook style with pictures, a bunch of memories of times together, or even a compilation of stories told in family member’s own voices. It can be all your observations on your own family, or extended family. Maybe you want to record facts and figures about your growing kids, or have a way to remember your grandparents after they pass on! My family Journal was actually a bunch of letters that I wrote to family members in a notebook intended to be comfort for if I passed on in my young years and missed the chance to tell them all the things I felt about them. Turns out, the older I got, the less I liked them after all, and I now keep the journal to remind myself of when we had a nice cozy happy feeling of family. Bit depressing, if you think about it. I don’t.


Topic #9 – Scrapbook Journal     These are fun, if you like to collect ticket stubs, picture strips, wristbands and more paper evidence of your life being livable. It may be a messier diary, but I love these because they tend to preserve more of the essence of a colorful memory… the smell of the night air at a concert, the beautiful flowers at an arboretum, the must of that antique book shop as it rained outside… all can be captured in a piece of paper you had for the experience!


Topic #10 – Meditation Journal                 Perhaps one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, is keep a written log of my meditations. Maybe because of the intangible nature of Meditation, in its purest form. I struggle to describe the experiences I have while in that state of utter calm. My striving for emptiness is effective enough for me to have few words for it, though I still must strive for an absence of feeling and physical experience… Either way, I one day hope to simply disappear, so there need not be many records on the topic from me anyway.


Topic #11 – Dream Journal          This is an oldie but a goodie. I used to dream so vividly that I could recount all three of my nightly adventures in painful detail when I awoke in the morning. 3 full cycles of REM sleep and three annoyingly crazy and confusingly disconcerting dreams. I recorded faithfully for two years before I realized that my brain was simply broken and the stuff it churned out at night was complete trash to write about. Still, the dreams I wrote down, I remember vividly to this day, so I realized that there was great value in increasing my memory skills when I write things down habitually.


Topic #12 – World Domination Diary      Now I’m sorry, but I believe that each of us has some part of our personality that says “well, if I were in charge…” or, “if I ran the world…” and so on. We can’t all be on top, but I think it would help us all blow off some steam if we spent some time writing about how our own personal world would operate and function, once we got the handle of it. Who knows, you might figure out a way to solve some serious social or economic challenges that our world faces today! And while you’re at it, you can let your imagination expand (which is healthy) and think about how to make the world a better place for everyone! …but mostly you.


Topic #13 – Love Diary   Before anyone gets all crazy, I’m just saying that writing about the love interest (or interests) in your life could be very healthy for you, for many reasons. Here’s my favorites: One, you could identify patterns in your likes and dislikes. Two, it can help you communicate in your relationships better by exploring your feelings and understanding your heart. Or lack of heart. But my favorite reason for keeping a Love Journal is because I love the person I’m with and my friends and co-workers get tired of hearing all about him all the time. So I write to satisfy my heart and save my social connections!


Topic #14 – Secret Diary       Ahhh, the age of written desires and guarded secrets! If only I could have a million Secret Diaries… One for every super-secret, enticingly, smooth untold story I have! …ok, I admit, I don’t have brilliant secrets. If anything, my life is simple and filled with normal hopes and dreams. But if you have secrets, I recommend securing them in a secret diary or journal only you know of and only you know where is… Discretion is key!


Topic #15 – Gratitude Journal        Nothing quite makes me feel better at the end of a long and pointless day like writing about gratitude. It’s not about being overly positive and putting rose-colored glasses on, but actually a safe space to admit what you had hoped instead and where you hope to go from here. It’s a way to change what is around you into chances for change and leverage for growth. Try it out, it’s restorative and strength-building!


If you can think of any other major journaling Topics that you think I should explore and cover, just let me know! Email me at!

Until then, pick a Topic! #stopandwrite!