How To Journal If You Hate Journaling

by Kaitlyn Wylde

Old school journaling is not for everyone. Most people of our generation barely remember how to even hold a pen, let alone spend hours pushing it around on paper. And I won't even get started on handwriting — sometimes mine is so bad, I can't even begin to make out what I've spent hours scrawling. But it's my belief that everyone needs to get their feelings out, one way or another. Journaling is one of the healthiest ways to get to know yourself, keep track of your feelings, and save the fleeting details you observe on a daily basis.

One of the most rewarding things to do is look back on old journals and see how you've grown, notice patterns in your behavior, or simply reminisce. But in order to have that catalog of thoughts and evolutions, you have to start journaling. If you're been turned off by the idea because you don't like the basic method of hunching over a pad of paper, there are other ways to record your thoughts. So what can you do if you want to journal, but journaling has failed you in the past? These are 11 alternative ways to start journaling without having to rely on ink:

Smart Notepad

Lots of tech-forward journal companies like Wacom's Bamboo Spark and Moleskine are making super futuristic journals that instantly upload your writing onto your phone and computer so that you can save it as a digital file. It allows you to free up your mind and connect with a pen and paper, but digitizes it and makes it permanent with the touch of a button.

Voice Note

If you don't like the pressure of having to string words together into proper sentences, go on a walk and talk into your voice recorder on your phone. Talk to it as if you're talking to a friend or a shrink. Make it as long or as short as you like. Upload your voice notes to your computer and keep them in a locked folder for privacy.

Doodle Book

Words aren't for everyone. If you can't find the words to express yourself, get yourself a blank notebook without lines, and doodle each day. Draw whatever you want. Illustrate something that happened or something you want, draw a self portrait, or just let your pen and your mind wander.

Word Doc

Start a word document on your computer and add a little bit to it each day. Whether it's a sentence, a paragraph, or a few pages, just keep adding to it as if it were the story of your life.


Create a blog online. You can leave it open for the public or keep it private just for you. Think of fun headlines for each entry, add pictures and links. Use both sides of your brain to recap your day and add as much media as your heart desires. Nothing like a GIF to help you express yourself.


Get yourself a photo album and start an old school scrapbook. Put together pictures, cut-outs from magazines, tickets from concerts, and receipts from fun nights, and let the pieces do the talking.

Video Journal

This doesn't mean that you have to make a YouTube channel; you don't even have to make these videos public. But sit down in front of your computer, open up your built-in video recorder, and start talking. It's such an incredible way to create a time capsule.


Get yourself a standard planner and force yourself to jot down a few notes in each day. A few words that help to summarize the day, your plans and appointments.


Be your own pen pal. Write yourself a letter and send it to yourself. Keep a special email folder of just these letters. This way, you can journal at work or on the go and always have access to it.


Instead of using those skinny notepads for groceries lists, use them for thought lists. Write the date at the top of the page and write down a few words or reflections for the day. Don't worry about writing full sentences, just write the words that come to you.

Word Collage

Cut out words and phrases in magazines and newspapers and literary journals that speak to you. Either keep them in an envelope, paste them to a piece of paper, or pin them on your wall for daily inspiration. Sometimes someone else knows how to say exactly what you've been trying to say.

Images: Giphy, Courtesy of Bamboo