A Guide to Journaling for Beginners

Bonjour everyone! It’s been a while. I apologise for the lack of posts but school’s in the way again 🙄

So anyways I went on Instagram and asked you guys if you wanted to see a blogpost about Journaling and lots of you loved the idea of it so here it is! I’m so sorry it took a while but I had loaaads to say and I’m pretty sure I missed out on lots of other pointers to take note of but I’ve proofread this a million times and well I’m just hoping it’ll be somewhat helpful to some of you.

I’d also like to warn you guys before you start reading this behemoth of a blogpost that I am in no way a professional. This is in fact my very first journal and I thought I’d share with you guys what I do and how I do it in hopes of inspiring some of you to start journaling too.

Also, I’m not too sure what the difference is between a Bullet journal and a general journal but I think BuJos are more similar to planners where you record your weekly routines/schedules to organize your life and whatnot? I’m not sure, I could be waaaay off, but I just wanted to remind you guys that this post is purely based off of my own journal (which is anything but a bullet journal where I  include junk and random artworks), so consider yourself warned!

Anyways, here’s to a professional how to guide on Journaling (….not).


Okay so I never gave this much thought but after realizing that I only have several pages of my journal left to fill I started being really conscious of the types of journals/notebooks I plan to buy in the future. My current journal was a freebie I received from Scribd a loooong time ago and back then I wasn’t into journaling, so I just ended up writing random book reviews and Bookstagram plans on it and I regret doing so because I wasted a good amount of paper writing the most random thoughts when I could’ve used it for new spreads or entries.

Also, I don’t know if i’m the only one who notices but any permanent ink I use (except for ballpoint pens) smudges on the pages way too easily, and I was told that it happens to all journals but moleskines tend to smudge less. I personally don’t mind the smudging because it makes my journal look messier in a sense that it adds character…somehow…? But yeah there’s a tip before you decide on a specific journal!

Moving on, I would prefer lined notebooks to blank ones because my writing is very inconsistent and messy so the lines are a HUGE help. Plus it helps when you draw on them as well, but I know some people who’d prefer drawing/writing on blank pages because the lines can get in the way of their artwork so that’s your choice really. Personally, it’s lined paper for me!

The sizing of a journal doesn’t really matter but I don’t particularly like the tall thin ones that are meant for travel journaling. I like one that’s big enough for me to draw and write on but not too big that it feels like a freaking textbook. I always bring my journal around and it’s the perfect size (14 x 21.5 [yep I measured it just then] ) and it has enough pages to last for a good couple of months.


I don’t use very many stationery BUT I’d recommend stocking on black inked gel pens. You’re going to want to write and draw a lot and these run out really quickly! I use Snowman drawing pens to whenever I want to outline and I discovered that I own Koi coloring brush pens so I use those whenever I color in a drawing (they don’t smudge easily too!). If you’re not a professional artist like me then you’d want to keep a few pencils and erasers too. I’d also recommend keeping a few binder clips just to hold your pages down so you can write on it easier. Plus it helps when you’re taking pictures of it! The pages aren’t going to fly around 😛

Glue and tape are MUST HAVES. Your journal is not a diary, so why not add some personality to it? Decorative washi tapes make your pages look so much cuter fuller. I don’t own very many washi tapes but the ones I have I try to limit myself from using them because I’m afraid they’ll run out lol. You’d want to glue on lots of things like flower petals, scraps of paper, book pages, and even magazine cliparts. Trust me, these two are vital when it comes to journaling.


Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset



p.s. I know i misspelled ‘unexpected’ let’s just not talk about it okay :’) 


It’s your journal. So include everything and anything that defines you as a person. It could be the things you like or dislike, what you wish to keep forever and what you feel like including.Just a tip: You should always make sure to grab anything that holds a certain memory to put in your journal. It could be a plane ticket, a candy wrapper, a bookmark, gift cards, name cards, stickers, postcards, brochures, a n y t h i n g. Get creative with them!

But don’t just draw/write about what you think people will enjoy. this journal is yours to do whatever you want to do with it. You have to enjoy what you’re doing in order to start getting into it. Have a recent obsession for a band? Write about it! I scribble music lyrics in my journal all the time because they’re always stuck in my head. I also like to add drawings  along with the lyrics because my pages always look too dull when all i have are words. Add a splash of color if you wish. Have a variety of different colored markers you can experiment with. Personally i don’t use that very many colors on my journal because a) i own only a handful of markers with similar shades of colors i.e black, grey, blue, red so it’s very limiting, and b) black color just has this minimalist look to it. 




Buuut, some days where i feel a bit more creative and/or i have some extra free time on my hands i color and doodle a LOT and it’s honestly the best thing ever to finish an illustration complete with colors and shading. But unfortunately i don’t have time to do any of that anymore and all i ever get to do nowadays is sketch and write (which is still really relaxing and satisfying, but not as fulfilling.) 




Oh and flowers. Flowers are SO important (to me, that is) because not only am I a flower fanatic, I think they’re the best examples of ‘little details’ you add in your journal to sort of ‘fill in any blanks’. If you have an empty spot on your page, draw a little seedling/cacti! it looks really cute and adds a bit of a girly touch. you can always use real flowers to decorate your pages too, but (i don’t know if i’m the only one) all the wildflowers i gather always have these little insects hiding under the petals??




I always see the prettiest pages with flower borders all around and i’m just wondering ‘how did they get away without having to deal with all the worms and bees??’ I’m just exaggerating guys, calm down 😆 the insects are completely harmless, and you might not even see them. they’re tiiiiny. I just want to warn you beforehand before you go hunting for wildflowers for the sake of a pretty journal page, because these are in fACT living plants, and you don’t know what lies deep inside them… 

Okay okay, i’ll stop scaring y’all haha! You can always us fake flowers or dried up petals. i’m pretty sure they’re available for purchase in your nearest craft store (Target/Big W if you’re living in Aussie), and they’re great for journaling too.


I love it when the colors in a page match. It satisfies the OCD in me and it looks really good too! It’s not normally my intention to have a specific color coordination on my journal pages, but when it happens it’s just really pleasing to look at XD




I mentioned something about smudging papers with ink earlier and this is the perfect representation of what I meant by not being afraid to be messy. Messes are crazy, charismatic and beautiful. They’re art, basically. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a completely organized journal my whole life. Journals aren’t projects or schoolworks. You shouldn’t put in all your effort onto a journal page just to make it look amazing. Which comes to my next topic…


Do not ever compare your journal to someone else’s. I’ve been there, I see the most gorgeous journal entries and artworks all around tumblr and i automatically feel really insecure about my own journal, but i’ve grown out of that and i’ve learned to love what i produce and how i produce it.

A journal is not meant for display, it’s meant for your to look back to and share. To me, a journal is a tangible memory. I always share my journal entries on Bookstagram because i know a bunch of people in the Bookstagram community are journalers themselves, so I feel comfortable sharing my own work along with theirs. Whenever i find a post on journaling, I always take note of it because it inspires me to write and draw and it encourages me to keep doing what i love to do. So i strive to do the same. Journaling isn’t a competition. It’s a hobby. Some people may hate it, but some live for it. I used to despise writing and drawing, but look at me now! I might not be the best at doing either one of them, but i still do it anyway because i enjoy doing so.

I have to admit, journaling does take a lot of time, especially if you have other work and assignments to do, time sorta just flies whenever you do something you enjoy in your free time. It takes a long time for me to find the right stationery, props and items i want to use in my journal, so always. be. prepared. it’s honestly really frustrating if i don’t get an entry done. I like to write about my day and anything that’s interesting, and when i don’t get to do that it feels like there’s this itch in your back that you just can’t reach. I just can’t go a day without journaling, y’know? Its become apart of me somehow. Like a daily routine i have to go through. So, like any other hobby, journaling is very time consuming. It takes dedication, but you know what? It’s worth it.


  •  Bring your journal and journaling essentials everywhere. You never know when you’re going to have some free time to add in a couple of journal entries!
  • If you don’t feel like journaling, DON’T DO IT. There’s this thing called the Journal slump, and it works the same way as a book slump. Forcing yourself to work on your journal isn’t going to do any good. Go watch some TV or hangout with friends, when you feel like writing again your journal will be waiting for you.
  • I know this is really cliche to say, but just have fun! Pop on your earphones and listen to some music or make yourself a nice warm cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate as you write. Journaling can be really therapeutic. I had a comment on one of my pictures the other day (@books_never_cheat on Instagram!) and she said how writing about your day instead of mourning and ranting all about it helps relax your mind – and I couldn’t agree more!

Aaand that’s all, folks! I’m really for the looong post. I hope I didn’t miss out on anything! But most importantly I hope this could be your first stepping stone to starting out on your own journaling adventures! If you have a journal or are planning to start one, let me know! I’d love to have a look ❤

Also, if you want me to include any other crucial advice on journaling, do let me know!



  1. Minh Tran

    Its my first time on your blog, I found it via instagram 😀 And I checked it out cause I´ve been curious to this whole journal theme thats been going on. And thanks for great tips about journaling, and I also think that smudginess that comes from the inks is what you said adds character to it haha! Im not a perfectionist, so I dont mind smudginess, and all my doodling does not come out as the way I want it either :p And btw its soooooo coool and daaaebaaaak that youre a kpopfaaan, I am one too hehe! 😀 Im going to continue to read your blog as I find it very beautiful and unike so keep posting (no pressure though, you might have a lot to do :P) Again thanks for the tip, loved the post and I hope you have a nice day too 🙂 Greetings from Norway!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bookishsmaug

      this is making smile ahhh ❤ thank you so much for your kind words :') haha I just go with the flow when I journal to be honest! omg YES kpop fans unite! BTS was just in Norway right?? so jealous that they got to visit such a gorgeous country! I will try my very best to keep posting 🙂 thanks again for dropping by ❤


  2. readandseeksa

    Gosh, Your journals are absolutely perfect! I’ve wanted to start for so long but I didn’t know where to start or how to go about it. Your tips are so helpful, and inspiring, I cannot wait to begin!

    PS I am in love with your blog!

    Nihaad – Read & Seek

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Erica

    This post is very useful… all the tips are perfect to help people that want to join the journaling! Personally, I don’t have a journal like yours … I have a small and thick Moleskine where I write all my thinks. I bring it everywhere with me because if I see o live something that inspired me I write down all my impression and after that I use them to write and edit my poems. I also write down stories and memories (that I have stolen to my grandfather). When I write on my Moleskine I feel at home, in my comfort zone .. is the same for you?

    Erica (the Italian girl)

    Liked by 1 person

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