One Journal for Everything, or Separate Journals for Different Things?

I go through this dilemma quite often. Currently, I am wondering whether I should have a separate journal to record inspirational quotes and my notes on why they inspire me. I’m also drawn towards having a separate journal for some personal development experiments I’ve got planned.

To be honest, I know what my decision is going to be, yet I go through this mental argument time and again. I keep one main journal, in which I write most things. This is the journal I carry around with me, and it’s the one I write in regularly. When I talk about journaling, this is the journal I’m usually referring to.

However, I also have a:

Writing Journal: Specifically for Fiction, because I don’t want to go through various different person journals to find story ideas or fragments of dialogues I might have written. Though my personal journals inevitably contain things about my writing, as they contain something about everything.

Dream Journal: I don’t actually use this. I started it few years ago, recorded a few dreams, and it’s still waiting for whenever I feel like adding a few, but I doubt I would use it much. It was an experiment that is still open.

Tarot Journal: same as the dream journal. It was an experiment. Not attempt to do future-reading, but rather a creative exercise. I used Tarot Cards to work on personal development. It was an interesting experiment, and I might fill few more pages of journal now and again, but this is not at all an active journal.

So basically, I have two active journals: my main personal journal, and a writing journal (for fiction)

As much as I now get tempted to start a new journal for something new (because let’s face it, I love starting journals), I’ll stick to using just one main journal.

Here is why: 

  • I want my journal to reflect my whole life, the all rounded version of it. So if I am doing Personal Development experiments, but then have a bad day at work, or a fight with my husband, well that’s going to have an impact on my experiment. If I kept a separate journal, I would only write about the experiment, and so it wouldn’t be an accurate reflection of the process or the result because it would be missing “life” elements that have a major impact.
  • It’s impractical to carry multiple journals around. I take my main journal everywhere, so that I don’t need to have specially assigned journaling time. I write when I have an opportunity, and sometimes when I must write something down, I create an opportunity. I feel comforted by the knowledge that it’s right there, with me, safe. If I kept multiple active journals, I wouldn’t carry them around, and so the frequency and possibly details of writing would suffer.
  • Journaling, like life, is an organic process. You can do your absolute best to plan everything, but then something out-of-your-control comes along and changes everything. That’s why my Dream Journal and Tarot Journal are half-empty. I tried something, and moved on from it. Therefore, it makes sense to have everything in one place, so that I not only record my process and growth in particular areas, but also see the pattern and movement of my changing tastes and priorities.

What about you? Do you keep multiple journals, or just main one?


Look at your current journaling process. Is it working for you? Do you need to change anything, whether it’s to combine multiple journals into one, or create separate journals to get optimum results? Are you getting a fully rounded view of your life in your journal?



Journaling: Blank Pages versus Ruled Pages

Most journal keepers have their little idiosynchrocies. Little things that must be just so. As an avid journal keeper, I have many of those.

I may have issues with cleaning my house, but when it comes to writing, I like it neat and tidy. If a journal is ruled, then I want to stick to the lines, because if I draw something, or paste something on ruled pages, it just looks wrong. Whereas if a page is blank, then I can do whatever I want, and still feel like it’s a tidy, organised page.

Of course people might say that it doesn’t matter. Journaling is about expressing yourself, and your creativity.

Yes it is. But let me repeat my message once again: Your journal is an extension of YOU.

My journal is an extension of me, so if my personality is to be organised and neat, then it makes perfect sense that I want my journals to look like that too. I don’t want messy journals. That is not who I am.

That doesn’t mean that I never use ruled journals. Sometimes I come across journals and notebooks which I really like, but don’t have plain pages, so I use them. But even when I do use these journals, I usually end up missing my blank pages. There is freedom in having an absolute blank page, as if you could do just about anything, and somehow transform your words. And for someone like me, who doesn’t care for painting outside the lines because it’s messy, eliminating the lines altogether is a more preferred option.


Think about your preference for your journal pages. Have you ever considered the reasons behind your preference? Perhaps, now is the time to journal about them.


5 Lessons I learned from The West Wing


image by tvtropes


The West Wing, whether you are interested in politics or not, is one of the best shows of all time in my opinion. You may not care which party wins the election, but The West Wing is about more than that. It’s about how you navigate through the world, where there is politics involved in nearly everything. The writing is exceptional, and the cast is perfect. It appeals to both the mind and the heart.

To look at it from a  higher level, it’s about how to have ideals, how to dream big, and then how work to make them happen in the real world which is inevitably full of constraints.

There were numerous lessons to be learned, but here I want to share with you the five main lessons that jumped out at me:

There is always enough time to live your purpose.

Bartlett and his staff manage to make decisions about a nation, attend parties, play chess, do press briefings, write speeches, read memos and God knows what. That’s fictional. But the same thing applies to Presidents and Prime Ministers all around the world. Leaders like Gandhi and Mandela who made a difference. CEOs of ground-breaking companies who get stuff done. Yes, they all have staff, but any manager with half-decent skills will tell you that motivating and managing people is a job in itself.

All of these people have the same time as you do. So how is that some of these guys manage to run a country in 24 hours, but some people don’t have time for that book they always wanted to write?

Everyone needs a support system

No one has all the skills. Your weakness is someone else’s speciality. Get the right people in the right roles, and let them get on with it. Don’t just create a team of people who agree with you. Create a team of people who believe in your purpose. Those are the guys you want on your side. They will challenge you, they will disagree with you, they might even yell at you….but the results will be better because of it.

Be Authentically Passionate

Authenticity gives credibility to passionate expression. When you speak about something that you wholeheartedly believe in, it shows up through fire in your eyes and enthusiasm in your voice.

Everyone has to compromise

Know when to accept defeat gracefully. The price of authenticity is that everyone has the same right, and as people are not the same, opinions differ. Your opinion will not always win. Your cause is not the only just cause.

Don’t be with people who block you

They don’t have to help you, but they shouldn’t hinder you. If you are driven to do something, then you shouldn’t have to give that up because someone wants you home at 5 pm. If that fire within you isn’t used towards your purpose, it will consume you.



Which one of these five lessons you need to work on the most? Journal about how you can do that. 

What steps will you take? Create your action plan.