Feb 20, 20183609 views

[Ongoing] Journaling Discussion

On Massdrop, there are beginners who are just starting out and experts who really know their stuff. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum, you should always be able to find answers to your questions within the community.
JOURNALING Whether you’re keeping tabs on your to-do list, chronicling your experiences throughout your days, or just working on your creative writing, journaling can be a powerful tool. And knowing more about the processes, techniques, and tools can be a big help.
We want to dive deep into this subject and talk about how everyone uses journaling in their everyday lives. Be it a bullet journal, storytelling practice, or a written captain’s log, share with us how you journal and the materials you use.
ASK QUESTIONS Want to figure out the best notepads for bullet journaling? The right pen for the right paper? Maybe you just want to know where to get started or any pro tips out there you might be missing out on?
The best way to find the answers to your questions is to ask the community. There are members who are experts in pretty much every area you can imagine, and they can help you go from beginner to pro.
Ask your questions by posting in the discussion below.
GIVE ANSWERS Many of you in the community know a lot about journaling and have great information to share. We encourage you to help out anyone who has questions!

Want to start your own discussion? Click here: www.massdrop.com/writing/talk/new

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For anyone with Michaels craft stores ... you may want to stop in. Last time I was there (6/2018), they had Artist's Loft (store brand) 6x8" notebooks for $5 USD (regular price).

They have smooth, white paper that you can actually write on ... (both sides!) with a fountain pen! You can even read what was written on both sides! (Enter choir of angels, singing 'hallelujah')

The hard cover is semi-flexible, but sturdy enough to write without support. There are 2 ribbon bookmarks, and 249 (counting both sides) pages plus 4 pages dedicated to a table of contents that aren't included in that page count. They were available in several colors, with narrow lined, grid, or dot grid pages. The lines/dots are faint enough that they aren't distracting, but not so light that you struggle to see them.

I've been using one for project notes since November 2017, expecting the cover or binding to fail, but they haven't.

Nope, I don't work there, or particularly like the place. Are they the best notebooks ever made? Of course not. But finding an affordable, accessible notebook that is genuinely legible on both sides when using fountain pens was a major win.

Just got a couple of journals from Code&Quill.com, they are bigger and take fountain pen ink beautifully. I have moleskines, journals from MOO, and various others that were given to me. I use 1 for work, one for passwords (moleskine) until I can enter them in Roboform, one for to-do's, and am doing my personal journaling in the Code& Quill from now on. I'll keep you posted.
Any sketchers out there? Recommendations for sketching notebooks?
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If you already got a recommendation for sketchbooks, I apologize. I like ProArt and Pentalic brand books for sketchbooks. Both have heavy, durable white paper that will take several layers of dry media and tolerate erasing well. They also manage well with markers, fountain pen ink, and a bit of wet media like ink wash or watercolor (the paper tends to warp if using lots of water). Also, they aren't as expensive as many other brands, page-for-page. So, as a daily sketchbook for practice, you can use a bunch of books per year and not break the bank. They're also available in multiple sizes, so you can choose whatever works for you. The hardbound books have nice, sturdy covers, and the binding puts up with a lot. They don't fold completely flat, so I use a big elastic to hold used pages at the front of the book to the front cover while drawing. I have several brands of wirebound sketchbooks, but tend to grab these for daily use ... For everything but things that will be given away. If you leave a bit of space against the spine, you can scan or photograph the pages. The same brands are great as journals, too, as long as you are OK with putting a lined template behind each page to write. They are great with even "wet" pens and inks.
wow thank you!
Dear Diary,

Lately I've noticed that a lot of the people encouraging other people to journal, sell journals. I've also noticed this about the people who encourage me to drink beer, buy new cars, and take strange prescription medications. I'm wondering if all of this is some sort of conspiracy--to get me to give other people my money?
Maybe I'm just being paranoid and should make an effort to be more trusting of people? May be the points I've raised are really only coincidence?
And maybe I should just do all my journaling here, in the comments section of MDs journaling discussion? I could save a lot of money that way--and I wouldn't have to worry about buying more journals and pens--or the people trying to sell them to me.
I just picked up a Midori cotton book. They come in a number of sizes, this one is the A6 size. I also have the A5 size. As you can see, with a fountain pen (Noodler's Elysium Blue ink, Knox nib), there is no bleed through and the dry time is satisfactory. I am not sure if someone is looking into a drop, but they are good paper. Comes in Lined, Grid, Dot, and Blank.

I have loved the Midori paper I have used, though outside of trying a sample with the journal I purchased, I haven't yet used it extensively (I am still working my way through my Rhodia webby and Moleskine). I also very much love Tomoe River paper, though I haven't found any journals that state they use Tomoe River paper.
https://www.paperforfountainpens.com is exclusively Tomoe River.
I use bullet-ish journaling for business projects and notes, and another journal for happy thoughts. Writing 3 happy thoughts each morning improves your outlook on the day!

I'm curious as to what journaling systems were used by old businesses and other organizations - ships used to have journals (logs?), how were they organized?
A ships log was just that - a log. During Columbus' First Voyage in 1492, according to a biography I have, It was not yet a common practice for the ship captain to maintain a daily log of travel and position. Columbus maintained one, which is generally referred to as the Dairio. It was much more than a traditional log recording weather, position, distances and speed. It was a journal in the broader sense - a daily record not of just what happened on board ship but of Columbus' thoughts and observations. (Christopher Columbus: A Man among the Gentiles; Clark B. Hinckley chap 6 First Crossing)
Interesting. Thanks.
I have been journaling for 60 years and my Great Grandmothers trunk holds my journals filled with thoughts, my poems, my prayers for friends and relatives and sometimes drawings of things that catch my eye which contain a story of their own. I do this for my Great Grand children and it relieves stress and hurt and anger and heals.
Looking for beginner advice for a left-handed writer. Where should I start? Smearing is my enemy b/c I write with that cruel left handed curl, dragging through what I've just written.
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I used to write with the left-handed curl but at some point I realized that no one was grading my penmanship anymore. I turned my paper in the other direction and now slant my letters the "wrong" way and write from top to bottom without the cramp-inducing left-hand curl:

Same here!
I have many journals and sketchbooks scattered in my art studio. Each year, I purchase two 200 sheet notebooks in A5 size. One in grid for my annual bullet journal and one in plain paper for my personal journal. I used to be a big fan of Miquelrius notebooks as they are fountain pen friendly and inexpensive, but this year they switched to a poor quality cover and no longer offer them with an elastic binding. So I have switched to a Seven Seas with Tome River Paper. The nanamipaper brand is of excellent quality, but it does require a cover of sorts. The cover backing is sturdy, but not attractive to look at. Still, I love the paper. It is difficult to find the thicker notebooks and these might make for excellent writing drops here on Massdrop.

The rest of my notebooks are Canson watercolor notebooks for sketching and illustration and standard traveler's knockoffs that I get on Amazon. The traveler's I use for general note taking, poetry, and brainstorming. For that use, as long as it can handle a fine fountain pen or standard rollerball ink, I am content.

As for pens, I love fountain pens inked with Noodler's Black, various Iroshizuku, or Sailor inks. I use a fine nib Lamy Safari inked with Noodler's Black for my bullet journal and an assortment of italic medium nib fountain pens for the journal inked in various colors. Notes are done with a Platinum Plasir or Retro 51 rollerball.
I found a lovely company--Bindewerk--that does simple and beautiful hand-made felt journals out of Germany. For journalling (poems and observational fiction mostly, I don't draw well enough to warrant blank pages, they offer those too). There is minimal bleed through from dip pens, where you can tell a page has writing on it, but it's not very noticeable.
I love the soft cover, the way it lies flat on any page, and the colours! Oh the colours. The deepest of lapis blues, ochre timbres all the way to emerald. Gorgeous tome tones, all of them. And there are even then multiple sizes, from A4 down through little pocket-sized ones. The problem is that shipping to North America is an additional 37€, for a 22€ notebook! Buying in bulk is a good way to save!
A great book about journaling: Graphic Journaling. Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Right now I’m using just a heavy weight, good quality blank journal from Barnes & Nobel. I’ll be finishing it up soon. I only got back into fountain pens about a year ago and decided to start journaling again sometime after that. But once this journal is finished, I’m moving into a big, sexy Tomoe River journal with lots of pages. I disagree with an earlier commenter who stated that 52 gsm and 68 gsm Tomoe River paper take ink the same way. I wish they did. The heavier paper doesn’t reveal the breadth of all that an ink has to offer in color and shading (I’m not sure about sheen) that the 52 gsm does. I don’t know that it’s an enormous difference, but I wish I’d known as much about it as I do now before I’d purchased this 500 page Tomoe River journal with 68 gsm paper. Still, Tomoe is superior to practically everything else out there if you’re all about enjoying the ink. And, unfortunately, I’m helplessly, hopelessly drawn to the colors and all their nuances and characteristics. (Really, how many great shading orange inks can one person need?)