What is a Creative Journal and Should You Make One

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Whether you’re a writer, graphic designer, or artist, maintaining your creativity can sometimes prove to be a real challenge. So, what can you do if your creativity starts to falter?

Reasons to Keep a Journal When You’re a Creative Person

  • Reasons to Keep a Creative Journal
  • How to Start a Creative Journal
  • Boost Your Creativity with These Journaling Ideas
  • Nurture Your Creative Mind Through Journaling
  • Practice Gratitude (use these prompts for quick ideas to get started)

A journal is an excellent tool you can use to keep your creativity alive. This isn’t the type of journal you use to write your innermost thoughts and feelings (though you could use it for that purpose if it helps). Instead, a creativity journal focuses on helping you to solve problems, brainstorm ideas and practice creativity.

A creative journal with ribbons from the side

Here, you’ll discover just some of the reasons to keep a journal when you’re a creative person.

Helping you to practice and refine your skills

One of the best reasons to keep a creative journal is because it helps you to practice and refine your skills. Creativity doesn’t always come naturally. In fact, it often takes a lot of practicing to maintain it.

There’s always something new to learn and existing skills need to be maintained. By writing your ideas down, or practicing your drawing technique in the journal, you’ll continue to develop your skills.

Hello the best is yet to come quote in a journal with a gold pen.

They have multiple uses

Creative journals tend to be disorganized in comparison to standard journals. This means they can be used in many different ways.

You can turn it into a sketchbook, notebook, scrapbook or day planner. Whatever function you need it to meet you can use it for that purpose.

Ideal for brainstorming ideas

As a creative person, one problem you’ve no doubt faced many times is coming up with new ideas.

For example, a writer often struggles with “writer’s block”, finding it hard to know what to write. In this instance, a journal could be used to write down ideas, in no particular order. Free-writing can really help to get the creative juices flowing and help you to overcome that mental block.

If you’re an artist, you can use the journal to draw your ideas. You may find after doodling your ideas down, it all starts to come together.

Silencing your inner critic

If you tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to your creativity, it could really be holding you back. That inner critic can literally kill creativity, with everything you create seeming to turn out wrong.

A journal can help silence that inner critic. There are absolutely no rules as to what you can and should put into it. There’s no wrong thing to write, plan or draw. It’s a safe space where your creativity can flow without being judged.

All about me journal with ribbons and paper flowers

These are just some of the reasons to keep a journal when you’re a creative person. They really can help you to not just maintain your creativity, but nurture it too.

How to Start

Now you’ve discovered the benefits of keeping a journal as a creative person, you may be wondering where to start. What should you write in the journal and how often should you be using it? These are just a couple of common questions you may have.

If you’re unsure how to start a creative journal, below you’ll discover some of the best tips and advice you can follow.

Determining how to use the journal

The first thing you need to decide is how you want to use the journal. Will it be a place to simply record your ideas, or would you prefer it to be a place you can practice your creativity? Maybe you’re looking for a place to set goals for your creative projects?

I actually use my Happy Planner as my creative journal, bullet journal, task list, and more. All in one.

Not that I don’t reach for a creative journal every now and then. The itch to just be artistic and not worry about planning crops up now and then. I also go back through my old journals when I feel a touch of nostalgia. They work wonderfully as a diary or scrapbook of sorts.

The goal of the creative journal will make a big difference in how you should use it. Therefore, it’s important to establish its purpose early on.

dream journal with ribbons from the side

Consider “Free writing”

One of the best ways to start a creative journal is to practice free writing. This is basically where you take the time to sit down and start writing. Just write whatever comes into your head.

You don’t need to follow a certain structure or have any prior ideas of what to write. The things you jot down don’t even need to make sense.

Write as little or as much you want to, on any topic which pops into your head. You’ll be surprised how much creativity this type of writing can conjure up.

Questions to ask yourself

If free writing doesn’t appeal to you and you need more a prompt to get you started, there are a few questions you can ask yourself. Just a few ideas include:

  • What scares me?
  • What inspires me?
  • When was the last time I had fun?

These seemingly random questions can have a surprising impact on your creativity. They’re great prompts to get you to write in as little or as much detail as you like. Just the process of answering these questions can help to unleash your creative side.

A painted page in a creative journal with whimsical designs.

Learn to doodle your own flowers with these step by step tutorials and ideas.

Remember, there are absolutely no rules you need to follow. A creative journal should never be forced into sticking to a certain structure or limited in any way. If you are feeling stuck you can always use templates, printables and other journaling prompts to get started.

The above is some of the best ways to get started with a creative journal. Often, starting the journal is the hardest part. Once you’ve actually made a start, it becomes much easier to keep it up and continue to nurture your creativity.

Boost Your Creativity with These Journaling Ideas

Are you looking to boost your creativity through journaling?

While a creative journal can really help to develop and nurture creativity, it can be difficult knowing where to start. There’s also going to be times where a certain journaling method may stop working for you for a while.

You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus - Mark Twain

Whether you’re looking to start a creative journal, or you’re simply looking for a new method to try out, below you’ll discover some awesome journaling ideas.


If you’re a graphic designer or an artist, drawing in the journal is the best idea you can follow. You don’t need to have a specific subject in mind. Simply pick up a pencil and start drawing.

It isn’t about drawing something perfectly either. It doesn’t matter how the drawing looks, what matters is that you’re taking the time to just let your creativity flow.

When you stop focusing on the rules and just draw whatever comes into your mind, it can really help you get out of a rut.

If you print out planner page templates (DIY your Frankenplanner) you can add in pages for doodles and drawing. Even if your regular planner is a calendar and dates type of planner.

Record your hopes, fears, and anxieties

Another great creative journaling idea is to write down your hopes, fears, and anxieties. Although this is close to how a standard journal is kept, this type of creative journaling can really help to combat writer’s block.

When you record your hopes, fears, and anxieties, you explore how you felt and what you experienced at the time. This really nurtures your creativity and can give you great insight and ideas for your writing.

Use mixed media

While written journaling can prove extremely useful, especially for a writer, often mixed media journaling works better.

butterfly and octopus on painted creative journal pages

Mixed media journaling is basically using different types of content. So, for part of the journal you’ll jot down your ideas, then you can use pictures, ticket stubs and potentially even drawing to inspire your creativity.

Use the power of music  

Have you ever noticed just how much of an impact music can have on your creativity? It can really help to stick on some uplifting or inspiring music while writing in your journal.

You’ll find as the music plays, you’ll start to experience numerous emotions. Thoughts will also automatically pop into your head – write these down.

It can also help if you listen to the music through headphones as this will block out all other noises, allowing you to be fully immersed in the music.

There’s a lot of journaling ideas you can use to boost your creativity. The above is just a small sample of the ideas you can try out. Don’t feel like you have to stick to one specific method either. If an idea stops working for you, simply move onto the next.

butterfly and paint on a creative journaling page

Nurture Your Creative Mind Through Journaling

Journaling can really help you to nurture your creative mind. Whether you’re a photographer, artist or writer, your creativity is crucial to your ability to carry out your job. Therefore, it consistently needs to be nurtured.

So, how can journaling help with this? Below you’ll discover how to nurture your creative mind through journaling.

First things first – Choosing the right creative journal

If you want to get the most out of your creative journal, you’re going to need to make sure you actually enjoy using it. As silly as it may sound, the first step to this is to ensure you like the look of the journal.

How the journal is presented can make a surprising difference to how inspired and motivated you feel to use it. So, take your time to browse through the various journals on the market and choose one which speaks to you.

The benefits of a dream journal

There’s a lot of ways you can use the journal to inspire creativity. However, one you may not have considered using is dream journaling.

Many authors, artists, and musicians have discovered dream journals can help nurture their creativity. Dreams take on many different forms and can, therefore, be used to inspire creative ideas.

The lead singer of the band “Train”, famously opened up in an interview that the smash hit “Drops of Jupiter” was written after he had a dream.

So, if you are stuck for ideas, recording your dreams can be a great way to unlock your creativity once again.

A fabric journal with sewn flowers and ribbons.

Learning to trust the authority in your voice

When you start to keep a creative journal, it trains you to trust the authority in your voice. So, what does this mean? Well, it basically means you learn to stop double guessing and questioning your creativity.

A creative journal doesn’t have rules. Instead, it encourages you to write or draw freely. There are no corrections made to anything and nothing you put in the journal is ever wrong. So, you’ll start to trust your creativity, rather than question it.

Growing your thoughts and insights

Creativity often stems from thoughts and insights. After you’ve jotted your thoughts down into the journal, you can go back to them another day and expand upon what you wrote.

Look at the ideas you’ve written down and see how they can be expanded. Often, it’s just the initial ideas which are the hard part. Once they’re written down, you should find it easier to expand upon them.

As you can see, nurturing your creativity is pretty simple if you follow the above ideas. The key is to use the journal every single day. You may need to force yourself to use it some days, but the effort you put in will definitely be worth it.

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  1. I love this article. I have been toying with the idea of starting a creative journal since I have stoped art journaling. I do feel like my writing was alot easier when I had art journaling in the mix. Also it was jus relaxing.
    Thank you for giving clarity to something I really enjoy.

    1. Hello Cheryl,
      Thank you for the kind comment. Mixing in art and creativity with your journaling adds a whole different layer to the process. Having that bit of visual creativity soothes your soul. Like you said: relaxing. It almost feels like a form of meditation. I have started to do the same thing in my planner. 
      Enjoy the process!

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