[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
thumb_upSlithyDash, Duncan, and 4 others

Mar 3, 2019
I journal with regular plain Moleskine pocket notebooks. I have a good stock so this won't be for a while, but eventually I'll need something new. It needs to be about 4x6 max. Does anybody have any good recommendations at this size? Preferably something with thicker paper, my pens don't quite bleed through but the writing is visible.
Sep 19, 2018
Maybe a little off-topic, but I wish massdrop would help us bulk-buy tomoe river paper. A4/A3, plain, dotted, or lined. Either 52 or 68 gsm. I make my own journals, as I like to get creative and don't like all the options on the market, and I tend to put tomoe river paper in it. I even tried screenprinting dots on it, but it was a little painful. It'd be great if we could get it printed professionally -- which requires bulk orders.
Jan 2, 2019
For plain Tomoe River journals, I use paperforfountainpens.com. He does not do lined or dotted, but does include a liner for behind the page.
Jan 2, 2019
Hi, thanks, I used one of those before. Unfortunately, it's not thread-bound so it does not lay flat. The best ones I've used are from nanamipaper.com, but the shipping is crazy expensive.
Sep 11, 2018
Anyone know any good budget paper and custom paper? I make my own journals, but I always run into the problem of not knowing what paper to put in, supply, and general lack of paper knowledge overall.
Sep 18, 2018
The fountain pen community loves Clairfontaine, Rhodia, and Tomoe River paper, so you may look in to what those cost? I don't know per se about "custom", but, those are solid options.
A community member
Aug 14, 2018
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.
Jun 27, 2018
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.
Oct 12, 2018
I got the monolith and the compass. They are both a nice size. Janabai
Oct 12, 2018
Thank you! That's very helpful!
Jun 20, 2018
Any sketchers out there? Recommendations for sketching notebooks?
Sep 10, 2018
I use Canson Mix Media XL. They come in an assortment of sizes and have thick smooth paper. I sketch in pencil and then use fountain pen or PITT pens to ink in my drawings. The notebooks come spiral bound. This means that the book surface is always flat when I'm sketching. It is also easy to place on my scanner to create my digital copies that I later sell as art prints.
Jan 2, 2019
If you are using watercolour along with your pens, I think 200gsm is preferable. The best of the watercolour sketchbooks at the moment is probably Hahnemuhle. If you are not using water media, or only as a minor part, Stillman and Birn Alpha come in a huge range of sizes and formats including soft or hard cover and the alpha is great paper even though only 150gsm. It is not smooth paper - it has a bit of tooth - but I like it with fountain pens and you can get paper samples from S&B to compare with their other papers.
Jun 15, 2018
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.
Jun 10, 2018
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.

Jun 11, 2018
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.
Jun 11, 2018
https://www.paperforfountainpens.com is exclusively Tomoe River.
May 12, 2018
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?
May 27, 2018
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)
May 27, 2018
Interesting. Thanks.
Mar 9, 2018
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.
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Sep 25, 2020