Journaling: why it’s brilliant, how to start, and what to write about

Shayna Sujanani

Think journaling is done by teenage girls writing boring entries that start with the phrase “Dear Diary…”? Think again – journaling is so much more than that

Shayna Sujanani |

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Taking time out of your day to write something, even if it’s just a couple of sentences, can help improve your creative writing, fine-tune your ability to focus, and relieve stress.

Many people do write about what goes on in their everyday lives, but there are just as many others that use their journals as dream journals or for scrapbooking.

Interested, but unsure where or how to start? Young Post has got you covered. We’ve got the best places to pick up the fanciest notebooks, and we’ve got ideas and prompts for what to fill them with. What are you waiting for? Get journaling!

Journals ideas

There are no rules when it comes to how or what you can journal – some people will keep five separate journals for different things, while others might have one single notebook filled with different ideas. Here are a few journaling ideas to get you started:

Dream Journal

Have you ever woken up and said to yourself: “Wow, that was a crazy dream!”, only to find that not long afterwards you’ve already forgotten what it was about? If you write them down as soon as you wake up, you’ll be able to remember most of the details and – even if it’s just to wonder how your brain came up with them – you’ll have a record of the sort of things you dream about. You never know when that weird dream of yours might come in handy – such as being inspiration for your next great novel or movie script.

Art Journal

If you’re an aspiring Picasso or a wannabe Da Vinci, an art journal is ideal for you, as they offer you the chance to be as creative as you want wherever you like – there’s no right or wrong way of keeping an art journal as no two journals will ever look alike. Paint, doodle, collages – the opportunities are endless for a budding artist. Search for “art journals” on Pinterest for more ideas.

Gratitude Journal

These can be some pretty inspiring things to look back over when you’re feeling down. Simply take a few minutes out of each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for and write them down. It doesn’t have to be anything big – you can be grateful for something as simple as how nice the weather was that day.

List Journal

Lists are fun to make (even if they can be hard to stick to), so why not fill up a journal with little lists? There are tonnes of list prompts that you can find online, but the classic one to start with is a simple to-do list for every day.

Travel Journal

Keep all your amazing travel adventures and stories in one place. Whether it’s because you’ve had something strange happen or /you stumbled across a delicious Italian restaurant, it’s nice have a record of all the things you’ve seen or done. It can be a simple handwritten account of your experiences, or you can go all out and add photographs, tickets, maps and things to your journal entries too.

Five Journaling Prompts

Are you still stuck for inspiration? Here are five prompts to get you started.

1 Grab your favourite novel and open it to any page. Take the first paragraph, copy it down in your journal and illustrate it.

2 Write down a list of your favourite things to do on a rainy day. They’ll come in handy the next time it’s raining.

3 Complete the sentence: “I love the smell of...”

4 If you could travel back in time and change one thing from your past, what would it be?

5 Write a letter of forgiveness to someone – it may make you feel better even if you don’t actually send it to them.

Notebook Recommendations

Now that you know what sort of journals are out there, and what sort of things you can write in them – all you need now is a notebook. Sure, you can use a standard spiral notebook, but why not splash out on something a little more special? Here are some journal-worthy notebooks to look out for:


The notebooks from this Italian brand are popular for good reason. They come in various sizes, the quality of the paper is exceptional and there’s a type of notebook for everyone.

Price: HKD$50-HKD$130

Where to buy: Dymocks, Bookazine, any major bookstore or stationery store


Like Moleskine notebooks, the glossy paper and sleek leather covers make Rhodia notebooks perfect for scribbling your thoughts in.

Price: HKD$80-HKD$100

Where to buy: Dymocks, Bookazine, any major bookstore or stationery store


Hong Kong’s favourite Japanese company sell some pretty affordable but nice notebooks. They come in various sizes and are filled with anything from dotted or plain paper.

Price: HKD$10-HKD$20

Where to buy: Muji and Muji-To-Go stores

Edited by Ginny Wong