The Art of Journaling

Let me just put it out there – Journaling can truly transform you. This art form is not one of those new age fad, popularized by creative Bujo influencers on Instagram, but has been existing for thousands of years. I am pretty sure a lot of us had been journaling since childhood, confiding our deepest secrets, incidents, anger, happiness between the pages of a well-guarded diary.

While growing up we didn’t have fancy stores like Kiki K selling pretty journals for the sole purpose of putting our thoughts out there. My siblings and I would fight over the plain-looking yearly diary that my Dad used to receive from the office or as gifts. And we were supposed to write inspiring quotes and essays in them. And yet I had managed to collect a considerable amount of journals back then. Mostly documenting embarrassing teenage days and apprehensions about the future. I was an introverted child, who loved to be in the comfort of my room – writing, reading and being silly. Journaling was a habit that unknowingly soothed me.

Writing Gratitude Journals

A few years ago I changed my style of writing journals. I realized that over a period of time my journals contained mostly incidents that evoked emotions of sadness or anger. I understand that journals are a source of outbursts, but I didn’t want to look back and find a stack of anger and resentment as memories. I wanted to have a journal that I would look forward to reading. That everytime I held it in my hands, a smile would spread across my face.

Thus began the journey of writing gratitude journals. I frequently started writing about happy incidents, collecting and cherishing beautiful moments that life had bestowed on me. If I had to express anything negative, I would always write about how I overcame it. As the days progressed, more and more colorful pages started being added to my journal – pictures of happy times with friends, being silly at a party, successfully ticking off my to-do list and achievements.

Believe it or not, it changed my outlook towards life.

I don’t follow any template to write a journal. I believe it’s a completely personal choice. I like sticking all the little gifts I have received, origami paper-flowers, pressed flowers and sometimes pictures or poems. I write about incidents, things I did over the week and weekly/monthly goals.

Journals should a happy a place which can comfort you in the times of need. Along with my art journal, these are probably only a few aspects of my life not impacted by technology. There’s a child-like pleasure in using colorful pens and pencil colors, doodling and making collages.

Last year I wrote my first travel journal, documenting my 9 days road-trip around Tasmania and a few places in Sydney. It is one of my most cherished possessions. Inspired by a lot of popular Bujo, I bought washi tape to decorate the pages. I had collected a lot of brochures and maps as well (and tickets too), which I believe added a visual angle to my travel stories.

Get Started, Now!

If you are new to journaling, don’t be intimidated by all the colors and well-planned bullet journals that are available on the internet. You just need a paper, pen and a bunch of thoughts to get started. You can start with something as simple as “What makes you happy”.  That’s actually how I began my 2019 journal as well. I was overwhelmed by a lot of changes in the previous month and writing it down really helped me to find some space in my head.

So, what are you going to write today?



I regularly post my artwork and journals on

Instagram – @paperandprose.

Do follow me for more art and journaling ideas.


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33 thoughts on “The Art of Journaling

  1. I plan on paper, and make lists of all sorts, goals, tasks etc. But journaling is something I still have to get to. Though you have now sold me on the idea! And I must say, while I personally will be happy to settle for neat, your journals are a work of art!

  2. This is so creative! I really would love to document my travel into something like this, but I could never find the creativity to do so. I’ll try and give it another go.

  3. The pages look so amazing. I had also started a travel/event journal last year. But I had to give it up midway. Nothing as beautiful as yours though. One of my resolurions this year has been to do this kind of postive journaling. I too have quite a few journals of complains ans dispairs over the years. My old blog being one of those. But this year, I am starting fresh. I hope to create a beautiful journal, write more and read more this year. Very impressive blog you have here.

    1. Thank you so much. Glad to have you here on my blog. Yaayyy to positive journaling. It’s so much fun to read about happy stuffs rather than going back to reading regrets. Wish you good luck in your journaling journey.

  4. Wow, Raj. Your journal is so beautiful and colorful. I have a gratitude journal on which I write about things that made me happy and thankful everyday. But it isn’t pretty like yours. I do make doodles on it when I am in the mood. But again, that can never be remotely compared to yours. I like reading my older entries as it gives me a perspective on how life was, how I felt and how I overcame and how grateful I am for today. I write down bad moments too. It helps me, I believe. Hey, how do you use Washi tape? I have them but don’t know how to use them on my journal.
    Keep sharing your creative works, Raj. Always amazed to see your beautiful works. 🙂

    1. Currently I use washi tape for decorating the borders or cut out the designs and use as stickers or as dividers. Thank you so much Vinitha. 😀 Keep writing and doodling 😀

  5. Those are beautiful journals and what a wonderful idea to keep your memories alive! I’ve followed your Instagram account, to keep up with your creative endeavours. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. Aww my God, Raj.

    I’m so in love with your diaries. They toured me back to my school days where in the 6th & 7th grades I used to spend all my heart over decorating & filling my diary up with random stuff. But most of them were rants.

    And like you say, registering bursts of anger & sadness may not really help. Or rather writing about the sad thing with a silver lining may register better & have a great impact on your mind.

    I adore your style of pasting pictures & writing around them in ways so impressive & catchy. In fact, I paste & color up the text almost the same way if I’m to do that on the charts I make for A.

    1. Thank you so much. So glad you liked them. I do feel like my young self while decorating these journals. Sometimes I just go silly with colors.

  7. All your pages look soo beautiful 🙂 I started it but couldn’t keep it going.. for now i just do weekly meal planning. Over years these will become beautiful keepsakes. I hope I will take this up again some day…

  8. This seems like a labour of love and joy Raj – What efforts you have put into making them pretty. You are very artistic and it shows through in the page you have shared here.

  9. Oh I love how creative you are with journalling!! I kept a gratitude journal last year and I agree it does change your outlook. This year, I’ve started using a gratitude app only because it’s easier when I travel or do spontaneous things like stay over at a friend’s place. So far, it’s pretty good. I am not as creative as you and maybe that’s why just a list of sorts works for me. In a weird way, blogging was like journalling for me for a long time

    1. Thank you so much. I tried using journal apps before but I wasn’t very regular and missed adding a lot of things😅 I actually like to write in lists… Much easier to write and read later. 😊

  10. Your journal is so pretty and beautiful to look at. Mine looks like a classwork book of a 5th class student. I wish I had half the creativity that you have. After failing in keeping a journal last year I have shifted to a planner. But I do want to start having a travel journal this year so I remember every feeling and thought I had during the travels.

    1. Hahaha thank you so much. I haven’t moved to a planner yet. Yeah, travel journals are fun to make. Plus it makes you cherish those memories again.

  11. Journaling is really a life changing activity! I’ve been journaling since I was a teen, too. There have been years in between when I’ve stopped, mainly because all I would write is the angst, but I always ended up coming back to the page. Love your travel journal!! It’s so much fun adding in brochures and tickets and cute washi tape!!

    1. Yes, it is indeed fun. I love your art journals. They are so expressive. Hopefully I will be able to have one of my own someday 😊

  12. I love all your photos of your journal. I am such a creative person that when I see colourful and pretty journals, I let out sighs in creatively different ways. I know that didn’t make sense. I don’t think I can get there. All I can do is write in serial order vertically 1,2,3… and make a note of gratitude points. May be I will atleast strive to get my handwriting right and beautiful.

    1. Hahahaha 😅 I guess we all have our own style of writing journals. As long as we enjoy and cherish these memories. 😊 Thank you so much.

  13. “What makes you happy?” is something that has been playing on my mind since some time now. I am going to do a post on it and then start recording it all in my diary..the one I received from Matrika. I loved your journaling style, Raj! Keep it up! And, yes, you are so right….when we wish to look back at our past, it is the happy moments that we would love to see/read about. Those are what will cheer us up during the low moments.

    1. Thank you so much Shilpa. True, I look forward to reading these journals after a year or so. Capturing happy memories for long 😊 I would love to see your journal once you are done. 😊

  14. I’ve always wanted to do this, but journaling takes so much time, and besides, once I journal I can’t write fiction.

    Loved this post, though. Maybe some day I’ll take up journaling properly, instead of dropping the odd entry here and there.

    1. Thank you so much. Yes, journaling does take a fair bit of time. Sometimes it even pushes back my blogging. Hard to pick one or the other. 😊

  15. This is impressive, Raj! Wow! Way to go! I wish I was half as creative as you <3 All I do is jot down things on a planner, that includes monthly gratitude and travel snippets if and when I travel 🙂

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