People often have many great questions about journal writing – what to write about, how to get started, how to keep going, and so forth.

The IAJW Ask Our Coach feature – is here to answer your questions.  Feel welcome join the conversation, offer your own responses to the question in our comments below, or simply enjoy the shared learning through our Q&A.

This following question was answered by our Journal Council expert, Joyce Chapman – she always offers thoughtful responses grounded in and from her lifetime experience with journal writing.  Thank you, Joyce!

Question: I have a question for you. I do a lot of spiritual journaling and my current journal has tabs for different topics. I am interested in starting a gratitude journal because I want it to be separate from my normal journal. I also like to take notes from books I read and journal about that. Basically, there seems to be so much to journal about and I could use some ideas of how to organize all the topics. One journal? Many journals based on topics? How do others organize their journals?

Answer by Joyce Chapman:  Hello! I love reading questions like yours because it inspires me to recall when I first started journaling. Over forty years ago, I attended a workshop that was facilitated by a person who followed the Ira Progoff Journaling methods. So I began by keeping a binder with different sections, as his method advised. Like you, I got interested in keeping journals for specific interests I had. I titled my first separate journal, Joyful Moments! Currently I still keep a binder that has sections, because I find that method still works for me. I also have about five different journals I write in because it allows me to gather my thoughts about a certain focus I have. I also like to take notes from the books I read. So…I have journal that is bound and titled: “Reading Log.” The nice thing about using this is I can go back and revisit what is titled “My Review.”

As you likely know there are lots of books about keeping Journals. Each will have many different opinions and beautiful invitations of ways to design your own journaling habits and ideas. Follow what feels right for you and make up your own “rules!”

At the end of each year I reread all my journals and I usually discover I have a new journal I want to create for the New Year!

Please feel free to ask me more questions by visiting my website at In joy, Joyce