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Sometimes we need a little motivation on creating in our journals, and these quotes about journaling are the perfect inspiration to help you make your creative journaling practice a daily habit and routine!

52 quotes about journaling cover image

There are so many benefits of journaling, from having a safe place to explore our thoughts to even documenting our everyday regular lives. Keeping a notebook, sketchbook or art journal handy is a great way to keep your creativity flowing and practice self care.

Using quotes in your journal can help kickstart your creativity or add some words to a page when you have a hard time thinking of what to write.

Today I’ve rounded up all of my favorite quotes about journaling – 52 of them to be exact! That’s enough quotes to inspire you every single week!

I love using quotes in my journals so much that I am thinking I will even create a dedicated section on our site just for quotes to use in journal pages. That way you’ll be able to find not just quotes about journaling but also quotes for journaling! I will probably sort them by topic, such as nature, travel, food, etc. 🙂

quotes about journaling

52 Inspiring Journaling Quotes

Use this list of journal quotes as inspiration to start a journal today!

1. “The best time to begin keeping a journal is whenever you decide to.” – Hannah Hinchman

Hannah Hinchman is the author of A Life In Hand: Creating the Illuminated Journal. I decided to start with this journal quote first simply because if you don’t already have a regular creative journaling practice, the best time to start is now!

If you’ve been waiting for the “right time” or maybe you want to start on a certain day of the week or at the beginning of the month – just start now, you will be so glad you did!

2. “A good journal entry- like a good song, or sketch, or photograph- ought to break up the habitual and life away the film that forms over the eye, the finger, the tongue, the heart. A good journal entry ought to be a love letter to the world.”- Anthony Doerr

Image of rose on paper background with the quote: A good journal entry ought to be a love letter to the world."- Anthony Doerr

I rather liked this quote by Anthony Doerr found in the book Four Seasons in Rome. I love the idea of thinking of every entry in your journal as a love letter to the world.

3. “Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” – Mina Murray

It can be challenging to explain the inner dialogue that happens in our minds while we journal and create in our sketchbooks, but I think this journaling quote by Mina Murray very much sums up exactly what it’s like!

4. “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” – Anaïs Nin

I’ve always loved this writing quote by Anaïs Nin, because it’s true – you can enjoy life in the moment AND reflect back on it later and enjoy it again.

Anaïs Nin actually has a lot of great quotes – I was excited to there is even an entire book of Anaïs Nin quotes!

5. “I don’t journal to ‘be productive.’ I don’t do it to find great ideas or to put down prose I can later publish. The pages aren’t intended for anyone but me. It’s the most cost-effective therapy I’ve ever found.” – Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferris is the author of The 4 Hour Workweek and blogs regularly about productivity. His quote about using journaling not for planning or “work” but just for the necessary of self care definitely says something about the power of journaling!

I really, really 100% believe it’s good to just journal without necessarily trying to make it “do” something for you. A lot of times it is just about having a creative space for expression!

6. “Your Journal is like your best friend, You don’t have to pretend with it, you can be honest and write exactly how you feel.” ― Bukola Ogunwale

It’s true: you don’t have to pretend with your journal. You can write anything you want and be 100% honest in it. A lot of people worry about someone reading their journals, but if there’s anything I’ve learned in 30+ years of writing down all my thoughts is I couldn’t pay someone to read it all! A journal really can be your best friend.

7. “My sketchbook is not sacrosanct, and my children would draw on one page while I drew on the other. It was something we shared.” – Chris Riddell

pink fluffy unicorn

This quote reminds me of when my kids were younger – they were always writing + art journaling with me. It makes me even happier now when I look back at old journals and see half the page with their drawings on it.

8. “Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter. And lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.” – Jack London

This journaling quote from Jack London makes a lot of sense. Paper and a pen or pencil is not inexpensive – and it’s the easiest way to remember something.

There are so many times I should have written stuff down and I didn’t and later regretted it!

9. “Writing is medicine. It is an appropriate antidote to injury. It is an appropriate companion for any difficult change.” – Julia Cameron

Julia Cameron is the author of the well-loved book The Artist’s Way. If you haven’t read that book, I highly recommend it!

In The Artist’s Way she encourages a practice called “Morning Pages” which serves as a brain dump so you can get all the clutter in your mind out of the way to make space for creativity!

And yes, journaling + writing definitely is good “medicine for the soul”!

cup of tea art journaling

10. “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath

This journaling quote from Sylvia Plath is true. It’s all too easy to have doubts about whether what you’re writing about is interesting or even useful.

And yes, this is why I like art journaling so much! You don’t have to just write a record of what happened. If you feel purple or orange that day you can just splash some paint on the page.

11. “In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself.” – Susan Sontag

I like this quote about journaling from Susan Sontag because it touches base on how a journal is not just a way to express oneself but also a way to create yourself.

There have been many times I’ve used my journals as tools to decide exactly what I want to do in life. They make for excellent planners!

12. “I’m a compulsive note-taker, and I used to feel self-conscious about pulling out my little notebook and taking notes during a casual conversation. Then I noticed that people really seemed to enjoy it; the fact that I was taking notes made their remarks seem particularly insightful or valuable. Now I don’t hold myself back.” – Gretchen Rubin

This quote by Gretchen Rubin struck a chord with me, because I am definitely considered the “notetaker” amongst friends.

Some people might consider it strange, but I’ve found most people I know find it makes our conversations more meaningful, like what they were saying or even just meeting up with them was important enough to write down, even if we were only talking about something silly.

52 journaling quotes to inspire you to create daily

13. “When I look through my sketchbooks, they bring back moments that I would otherwise have completely forgotten.” – Susan Minot

None of us have a perfect memory. There are so many things I have forgotten over the years, and I’m not even really all that old yet, but I am not getting younger either!

Being able to go back through your journals and say, Oh, these are the pages I made while we on our trip, or I remember that day, it was great, is a nice thing to do.

14. “I’ve tried digital planners and fancy planners and date books galore, but my tried and true is actually just a large spiral-bound notebook.” – Rachel Hollis

It’s true: sometimes keeping it simple is best! While I have a big list of the best journals for art journaling, I’m usually happiest with my own handmade junk journals or a good old composition notebook.

Yes, there are TONS of lovely journals out there, but you can create in anything!

15. “Journal: fitting your heart and soul into ruled lines.” -Terri Guillemets

journal quote by Terri Guillemets

Terri Guillemets is the curator/collector over at QuoteGarden.com. I liked this quote because many popular journals for many people are ruled journals that have lines for writing on. If you’re one of those people who has a hard time writing in straight lines, a lined journal can be great to have.

I love the imagery of fitting your heart and soul into those ruled lines – I might just have to make a page in my latest journal using this quote!

{Side Note: I LOVE college ruled notebook paper!}

16. “I took my paper and ink into the garden, looking up to God for assistance, and wrote freely for two hours. I find all the difference in writing out of doors, with quiet and pleasing objects before my eyes, and within, where I can do nothing without closing my eyes upon the things before me.” – Henry Martyn

This quote resonates a lot with me because I feel exactly the same way. While it may not be true for everybody, I definitely feel more focused, more relaxed and more creative when I’m outside instead of being indoors.

17. “Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted.” -Jules Renard

Having a journal is a lot like having a conversation with someone but you don’t have to worry about the listener becoming bored or disinterested or telling you what they feel instead.

18. The only thing I have done religiously in my life is keep a journal, I have hundreds of them, filled with feathers, flowers, photographs, and words – without locks, open on my shelves.” – Terry Tempest Williams

I like this journaling quote because is just goes to show there’s a lot more that you can put in a notebook than just words. I love collecting different types of ephemera for my journals.

I also very much like the idea of keeping your journals open without locks.

19. “In Hollywood now when people die they don’t say, ‘Did he leave a will?’ but ‘Did he leave a diary?'” – Liza Minnelli

I don’t know if this is actually true {I am far from being in the “circle” of Hollywood!} – but it does make me think of how much we cherish journals of people who have passed. It’s a way to stay connected to them even when they are gone.

20. “You review the past to assess the present and then determine what actions are necessary to change your future. You take what you know and apply it to how you want to grow. Thus, the power of journaling.” – Melissa Steginus

This quote reminds us how journaling can be a great resource for personal growth.

By being able to reflect on past mistakes – and the lessons learned from different experiences in life, we can know what changes to make to improve ourselves and our lives.

21. “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wordsworth

For some reason when I read this quote, I see an image of a heart with wings – your journal is a place to allow your heart to be free!

Journal page that shows journaling quote: "You wouldn't be worried about what people think of you if you knew how seldom they actually do."
A recent journal page with a cut out quote: “You wouldn’t be worried about what people think of you if you knew how seldom they actually do.” – From the Book P.S. I Love You by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

22. “I find the experience of keeping a journal much more creative on paper than on a computer.” – Keri Smith

Keri Smith is the creator of Wreck This Journal, so it’s not surprising that she would say that using paper is more creative than a computer!

I have to agree with her. While I do find the computer useful for taking some notes + archiving everything and creating stuff, there’s still something much more magical about a sheet of paper and your favorite journaling pens and art supplies.

23. “Keeping a journal of what’s going on in your life is a good way to help you distill what’s important and what’s not.” – Martina Navratilova

In any given day we might be faced with hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions. It’s easy to get derailed by the small things. Keeping a journal lets you focus and find perspective to know what really matters.

24. “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” – Pablo Picasso

abstract art as example for painting as a diary

If you’d rather paint or collage and make art than write in your journals, this Pablo Picasso quote is for you!

25. “Keeping a journal implies hope.” – Erica Jong

There are many ways a journal can imply hope. Whether you are keeping a gratitude journal or simply thinking of things to come, hope is a very good thing to have!

26. “Some may say [journal keeping] is a great deal of trouble. But we should not call anything trouble which brings to pass good. I consider that portion of my life which has been spent in keeping journals and writing history to have been very profitably spent. If there was no other motive in view [except] to have the privilege of reading over our journals and for our children to read, it would pay for the time spent in writing it.” – Wilford Woodruff

It’s easy to wonder while you’re journaling if you’re really making the best use of your time. This quote reminds us that it is worth it and that our journals truly can be priceless to ourselves and our loved ones.

27. “I think the word ‘blog’ is an ugly word. I just don’t know why people can’t use the word ‘journal.'” – Moby

the word blog written in blocks

As someone with a blog all about creative journaling, this quote by Moby made me laugh. I really don’t like the word “blog” either, but I do think there is a pretty big difference between a blog and a journal.

How do you feel about blogging vs. journaling? Both can be done digitally but I think a blog is more public whereas journaling is 100% completely private if you wish it to be.

28. “For me, writing is a way of thinking. I write in a journal a lot. I’m a very impatient person, so writing and meditation allow me to slow down and watch my mind; they are containers that keep me in place, hold me still.” – Ruth Ozeki

I like how this quote compares a journal as being a container for one’s thoughts. Journaling definitely is a way of thinking for many people!

29. “Journaling is paying attention to the inside for the purpose of living well from the inside out.” – Lee Wise

They say “It’s What’s Inside That Counts” and a daily creative practice is a great way to explore what is inside so you can shine your 100% authentic self out in the world.

30. “Primary children are taught that journal writing reinforces the idea that each person is important. His or her experiences and feelings are valuable and are worth recording so they are not lost.” – Valiant B, Primary Manual

It’s easy to think we aren’t important in the world – especially when you consider we’re living on a giant rock with 7 billion other people aimlessly spinning around in space.

However, this quote reminds us that we ARE worthy, we do matter, our feelings + thoughts deserve respect and attention.

31. “If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage.” – Cynthia Ozick

writing is an act of courage saying

Starting any kind of creative journal is an act of courage. You are making a decision to dive into the depths of who you are and why – that can be scary for some people.

If you have a journal, remind yourself RIGHT NOW just how brave and courageous you are for being willing to explore your own thoughts + feelings and express yourself creatively!

32. “A journal is your completely unaltered voice.” – Lucy Dacus

One of the things I like best about journaling is there’s no editing or revising in writing down your thoughts. I usually just free-write stuff and never worry about whether I’ve even spelled things correctly or used the proper grammar.

33. “Documenting little details of your everyday life becomes a celebration of who you are.” – Caroyln V. Hamilton

It’s easy to get caught up in life and forget about celebrating who we really are. A journal lets you see the good things about yourself.

34. “Like the journey of our lives the journal writing journey is not linear, but twists and turns and loops around to old, familiar ground, with many detours along the way.” – Marlene Schiwy

Marlene Schiwy is the author of the book Voice of Her Own: Women and the Journal Writing Journey.

I like this quote on journaling because it reminds us that journaling is a spiral and not a straight line. So often we feel like our journals seem repetitive and same old, same old, but one thing I’ve noticed myself over the years is that things are not staying stagnant but rather similar themes are evolving.

35. “I never wrote things down to remember; I always wrote things down so I could forget.” – Matthew McConaughey

Many people are familiar with Matthew McConaughey as an actor – and this quote comes from his recently published his memoir, Greenlights.

If you’ve ever used journaling as a tool to deal with difficult feelings or challenging times in life, you can probably relate that sometimes just getting it out on paper is the best way to move on.

36. “Journaling increases your self-confidence. It helps you look at far you’ve come and how you overcame previous seemingly ‘impossible’ obstacles.” – Jeremiah Say

Many times we can go back to our journals and look back and see what we’ve accomplished or what we’ve overcome. It definitely gives you a boost in confidence!

37. “You must remember that your story matters. What you write has the power to save a life, sometimes that life is your own.” – Stalina Goodwin

I know 100% without a doubt that writing + keeping an art journal has saved my life more than once. Being able to write stuff out or create freely to better understand what you’re thinking or going through can make a huge difference.

38. “I would consider my diary serves the same purpose as going for a walk or a run. They are all physical ways of clearing a mental landscape.” – Chet Faker

It’s definitely good to get exercise – and I LOVE taking walks. But where we live the weather for walking is not always the most favorable. A journal is a great form of creative exercise you can do in any kind of weather.

39. “Keep a diary, and someday it’ll keep you.” – Margot Asquith

This quote is often attributed to Mae West, who contributed to its popularity in the 1937 film “Every Day’s a Holiday”. The quote is about how one can become a successful and profitable memoirist by keeping track of their daily thoughts and events in their life.

While I don’t have any immediate plans of becoming rich or famous from any of my journals, it is a nice thought to think maybe someday if I did want to write a memoir it would be pretty easy with most of my life documented!

40. “Sitting for even five minutes with a journal offers a rare cease-fire in the battle of daily life” – Alexandra Johnson

Sometimes life really does seem like a battle everyday, and that 5 minutes can make a huge difference!

41. “Why write? It’s being able to look at my stack of weathered notebooks and know that I’ve created something, just for the sake of it. For the sake of remembering that I am a human and therefore can create. And that when faced with the choice to either create or not create — I went forth and created.” – Matthew Trinetti

I love this quote on journaling because when you think about it, it is pretty amazing that we as humans can create the things we do. And I definitely agree it is better to create anything than nothing at all!

42. “It was always intimidating starting a new journal. So much pressure to make everything perfect from the start. It was a relief each time she made her first mistake or two and realized that her journal was more gracious and forgiving toward her than she was toward herself.” – Alana Terry

This is another quote that I really like because so many people new to art journaling are afraid to get started – that new, shiny notebook looks perfect and you might worry about writing messy or making mistakes.

Fortunately, our journals are VERY forgiving mediums. They won’t get mad if you spill ink all over them – or even coffee for that matter.

43. “I guess in my diary I’m not afraid to be boring. It’s not my job to entertain anyone in my diary.” – David Sedaris

David Sedaris is a comedian and writer, and his quote is a great reminder that it’s OK to journal about boring stuff. You don’t have to write anything prolific. It doesn’t have to have purpose.

Of course, many times you do find in your journal of “boring things” that you DO have some lovely bits of gold + wisdom scattered across the pages here and there.

44. “We can only open our hearts to those we utterly trust, such as the accepting page” – Gillie Bolton

It can sometimes be really hard to trust people with your inner most deepest thoughts. Unfortunately, when you don’t trust someone, it’s also a lot harder to open up and be authentic.

Fortunately, the blank page is 100% completely accepting of whatever you might throw on it…you can trust it 100% that it’s not going to get mad at you or be bothered by anything you write or create.

45. “Let’s end the notion that ideas have no value unless they turn into a business or have some other practical use. Save them all in a beautiful book like Leonardo did. You might want to give them away someday, perhaps to someone who needs an idea. Or your great-great-grandchildren might love knowing what a fascinating mind you had. Or your biographer might be very happy after you’re gone.” – Barbara Sher

I’m a huge fan of Barbara Sher and have read nearly all of her books. The above quote comes from her book, Refuse to Choose.

Barbara Sher’s books are a great choice for you if you are one of those creative types who have a bazillion hobbies and interests but struggle to figure out how to channel them into your career.

I love this quote because it reminds me it’s okay to simply be an “idea collector”. You don’t have to start a new business for every single idea you have.

Speaking of being an idea collector, have you seen some of my art journaling ideas? From Drawing Ideas to 365 Art Journal Prompts to Lists of Lists Journaling Ideas …. I definitely get a lot of ideas and it makes me so happy to be able to share them here on my blog with you for free!

47. “If I get lost, this journal will be like a record of who I was, a trail of bread crumbs to find my way back.” – Jonathan Tropper

It’s definitely easy to get lost in life. Going through old journals sometimes you may even think to yourself, “Who was that person?” or “I used to be so happy, so carefree, etc. etc.”

I like the idea of thinking of a journal as a trail of breadcrumbs to your true self – so if you do get lost on your path in life you have a reference point and can say, okay, what can I do differently now?

48. “To keep a journal is to learn how to play. Deeply. Even when a page is recording hard, impossible things, if judgment is suspended, there’s always a surprise or shift. Connections made over time suddenly link, opening and transforming.” – Alexandra Johnson

I definitely agree we should think about our journals as a way to learn how to play! So many adults I’ve met who had to be “responsible” for decades have found art journaling a great way to experience true play again.

49. “My journal has become a paper mirror, a topographic map to my mind. It is where I go to sort out confusion and decipher the invisible.” – Dawna Markova

I can definitely relate to journaling being a great way to sort out the confusion that we sometimes feel in life. Having a map definitely makes it a lot clearer to see where you are in your journey!

50. “Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.” – George Singleton

While a can of WD-40 on your desk is probably not necessary, this quote does make a great point, which is you will get rusty if you don’t make it a habit of journaling or writing a little bit every day.

You don’t have to write a ton – but just spending a few moments jotting down a word, or a thought, or sketching something can make a big difference in your creative practice.

And if you’re very busy, check out my Block By Block journaling technique – this is a fun way you can create journal pages little by little that accommodates for any busy schedule!

51. “I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.” – Isaac Asimov

To some people, saying that writing is as necessary as breathing might seem extreme. But for me, I definitely know that spending some time journaling is very, very important for my own sanity.

While of course I love all things physical paper journals, I also tend to keep a lot of notes + journaling digitally in apps like Workflowy + Evernote just for this very reason – sometimes you need to write and you have no paper or pen, but you might have a phone.

52. “Keep some souvenirs of your past, or how will you ever prove it wasn’t all a dream?” – Ashleigh Brilliant

I like this quote because it is the perfect kind of motivation to start a junk journal. Junk journals are a great way to keep all the little scraps of your life together in one place.

This quote also reminds me of starting a travel journal. We haven’t been able to travel much the past year, but I can’t wait until we can safely do so again because a travel journal is definitely a great way to keep souvenirs from your trips. {See 101 Travel Journal Ideas Here!}

I hope you enjoy all of these quotes about journaling and that they motivate and inspire you to start a creative daily journaling practice! Whether you art journal, junk journal, bullet journal, planner journal – whatever your flavor of pen + paper might be – if we’ve learned anything from these quotes is YOUR STORY MATTERS and journaling is good for your mind + soul.

Do you have any favorite quotes about journaling? What quotes on this list resonate the most with you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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