100+ Quotes About Journaling

From famous authors and philosophers to everyday individuals, one thing is true: the act of keeping a journal has the power to inspire, provide clarity, and transform.

Journaling has been a profound avenue of self-expression and reflection for centuries. Whether used as a tool for personal growth, creative expression, or simply a means of capturing life’s moments, journaling has something to offer for everyone.

In this post, we’ve compiled a list of our 100+ favorite quotes about journaling, showcasing the wisdom and insights of those who have found meaning and purpose through the practice of journaling. These quotes about journaling will not only inspire you to start keeping a journal of your own, but also remind you of the power and value of journaling to deepen your practice.


“In the journal, I am at ease.”

Anaïs Nin


“Your journal will stand as a chronicle of your growth, your hopes, your fears, your dreams, your ambitions, your sorrows, your serendipities.”

— Kathleen Adams


“When my journal appears, many statues must come down.”

— Arthur Wellesley


“All the noise in my brain. I clamp it to the page so it will be still.”

— Barbara Kingsolver


“The very act of writing it down made her realize how easy it would be to forget, how important it would be from now on to put everything, everything, down on paper.”

— Donna Tartt


“I shall live badly if I do not write, and I shall write badly if I do not live.”

— Françoise Sagan


“Writing in a daily journal is important but the reason why I journal is because I can read my own writing after many months have passed by. I’m able to reflect on my life, my actions, my behaviors, my memories and also the behavior of others around me.”

— Nando Prudhomme


“The form of the journal is ideal for capturing life’s tenuous relationship with time; it makes a fugue of one’s completed life.”

— Patrick Nathan


“A journal can offer you a place to be someone, anyone, who you want to be.”

— Brian Ledger


“Writing in your journal gives you a chance to go back over your day and extract meaning from a hurried meeting with a friend or retrieve the significance of some fleeting event.”

— Janette Rainwater


“If you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you.”

— Madeleine L’Engle


“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”

— Christina Baldwin


“We’re drawn to making our mark, leaving a record to show we were here, and a journal is a great place to do it.”

— Keri Smith


“Journals contain ten categories of life patterns: longing; fear, mastery; (intentional) silences; key influences; hidden lessons; secret gifts; challenges; unfinished business; untapped potential. Each category corresponds to a way we engage or hold back in life.”

— Alexandra Johnson


“Writing in a journal gives me a place to report, interpret, argue, reflect, save, question, predict, unload, praise, compare, cry, laugh, draw, paint, and remember.”

— Luci Swindoll


“Journaling is an offshoot of meditation— a type of introspection where a record of events is welcome. It doesn’t have to mean the record is permanent. In fact, it’s probably better as ephemeral— permanently locked behind a password. But, the fact that it exists is a comfort in itself.”

— C.J. Chilvers


“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”

– Ernest Hemingway


“Journal what you love, what you hate, what’s in your head, what’s important. Journaling organizes your thoughts; allows you to see things in a concrete way that otherwise you might not see.”

— Kay WalkingStick


“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”

— Terry Pratchett


“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


“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see, and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

— Joan Didion


“Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell.”

– Louisa May Alcott


“I’ll only live once, and this is a record of the life I’m living.”

— Jason Shanahan


“I owe a good deal to this journal. By unburdening my mind on paper I feel, as it were, in some degree to get rid of it; it seems made over to a friend that hears it patiently, keeps it faithfully, and by never forgetting anything, is always ready to compare the past & present and thus to cheer & edify the future.”

— Anne Lister


“So I often feel like the self that I construct in writing feels truer to how I think of myself than the self I’m constructing in any other way.”

— Yaa Gyasi


“Having the courage to reckon with our emotions and to rumble with our stories is the path to writing our brave new ending.”

— Brené Brown


“Journaling gives you such an appreciation for the good things in your life while also helping you improve on the not-so-good things in your life.”

— Steve Cicco


“I started writing one afternoon when I was twenty, and ever since then I have written every day. At first I had to force myself. Then it became part of my identity, and I did it without thinking.”

— David Sedaris


“The important thing is how alive you are. Writing of every kind is a way to wake oneself up and keep as alive as when one has just fallen in love.”

— Pico Iyer


“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”

— Mary Oliver


“We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.”

— Cecil Day-Lewis


“It’s by writing… by stepping back a bit from the real thing to look at it, that we are most present.”

— Alison Bechdel


“Writing a journal means that facing your ocean you are afraid to swim across it, so you attempt to drink it drop by drop.”

— George Sand


“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

– William Wordsworth


“Documenting little details of your everyday life becomes a celebration of who you are.”

— Carolyn V. Hamilton


“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”

– Anne Frank


“It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by.”

— Vita Sackville-West


“Journal writing gives us insights into who we are, who we were, and who we can become.”

– Sandra Marinella


“A writer is someone who pays attention to the world — a writer is a professional observer.”

– Susan Sontag


“The private contemplation that journaling provides gives us a place to examine what life really means to us … It receives the mood we’re in and preserves it for us to look at and learn from … Every time we chronicle our thoughts and activities, we are verifying our existence.”

— Luci Swindoll


“A journal is your completely unaltered voice.”

– Lucy Dacus


“There is, of course, always personal satisfaction of writing down one’s own experiences so they may be saved, caught and pinned under glass, hoarded against the winter of forgetfullness.”

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh


“Journaling helps you to remember how strong you truly are within yourself.”

– Asad Meah


“My diary entries allow me to keep track of all the things I would like to change about my life.”

— Stefan Sagmeister


“The best time to begin keeping a journal is whenever you decide to.”

— Hannah Hinchman


“The true purpose of journaling is to celebrate your life. No matter how small or mundane or redundant, each drawing and little essay you write to commemorate an event or an object or a place makes it all the more special.”

— Danny Gregory


“A good journal entry— like a good song, or sketch, or photograph— ought to break up the habitual and lift 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


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

— Mina Murray


“What happens to us is not as important as the meaning we assign to it. Journaling helps sort this out.”

— Michael Hyatt


“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

– Maya Angelou


“In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us.”

– Virginia Woolf


“Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.”

— Pat Conroy


“Keeping a journal will absolutely change your life in ways you’ve never imagined.”

— Oprah Winfrey


“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.”

— Sylvia Plath


“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


“I don’t know what I think until I write it down.”

– Joan Didion


“Our pasts define us, yet memory is untrustworthy. By keeping a journal, I can capture those memories when they’re still reasonably fresh. Journaling helps me keep a narrative of my life. It keeps me honest with myself.”

— John Dumas


“Journaling leads people to life changes, leaps of faith, new insights, and meaningful decisions.”

— Lynda Monk


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

— Julia Cameron


“I like to record what’s happened, how my life and relationships have developed, and to know even about the mundane stuff in life that happens, but we might otherwise forget—a trip for coffee with a friend, or some good or bad luck, or a trip to the theatre.”

— Andy Oldham


“People who keep journals have life twice.”

– Jessamyn West


“Writing is my way of expressing – and thereby eliminating – all the various ways we can be wrong-headed.”

– Zadie Smith


“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

– Louis L’Amour


“Even the busiest people are never too busy to benefit from journaling for just five minutes a day.”

— Sophia Godkin


Journaling to me has become important to me because it allows me to be present with a gratitude mindset daily.

— Kevin Anderson


“I write in a journal daily. This extraordinary ritual has revolutionized my mindset, transformed my heartset, and generally influenced in my life exponentially.”

— Robin S. Sharma


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

— Susan Sontag


“Journaling gives me the ability to forget minor details and focus more on the present.”

– Kyle Weirauch


“Journaling has become one of the most gratifying and fulfilling practices of my life. Not only do I derive the daily benefits of consciously directing my thoughts and putting them in writing, but even more powerful are those I have gained from reviewing my journals.”

— Hal Elrod


“The truth is, journaling can be as simple as capturing a moment in time through a photo or arriving at a clear decision made possible by asking intentional questions.”

— Marc Champagne


“Life is not always extraordinary in all its details, but it is the sum of those ordinary events that add up to extraordinary lives. The journal is no different.”

— Journal Fodder


“The deeper benefit of keeping a journal is that it offers a way to be consistently aware or mindful.”

— Alexandra Johnson


“That’s the thing with a diary, though. In order to record your life, you sort of need to live it, not at your desk, but beyond it, out in the world, where it’s so beautiful, and complex, and painful, that sometimes, you just need to sit down and write about it.”

— David Sedaris


“The journal is a place to let seeds of new directions freely scatter on the page.”

— Ellen Bowers


“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


“Everything I know about life, I learned from the daily practice of sitting down to write.”

– Dani Shapiro


“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

– Benjamin Franklin


“Once you begin to reap the rewards of your writing, journaling stops being a burden and often becomes the activity you look forward to the most and obtain the greatest value from.”

– Joyce Chapman


“Keeping a journal has taught me that each day holds something significant, something worth recording. My journal has reminded me again and again of the richness and abundance of my daily life, no matter how mundane or predictable some days may seem.”

– Kristen Webb Wright


“Journaling is a way of capturing your life one day at a time. It is a wonderful way to be able to reflect on your past whether in good times or bad. It is really easy to forget how wonderful your life is in certain times, and a quick look back allows you to see the people, places visited, and get some perspective.”

– George Bonelli


“Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life-expanding.”

– Jen Williamson


“Writing is a sustaining thing.”

— John McPhee


“I realized that journal writing was and is a powerful tool for personal growth, problem solving, monitoring goals, and documenting my life over time.”

— Bakari Chavanu


“Love words, agonize over sentences. And pay attention to the world.”

— Susan Sontag


“I journal about anything and everything I can in my life – minutiae, dreams, important mailed papers, receipts, etc. There is literally nothing that I won’t put in my assorted journaling.”

— Margot Olson


“Is not the poet bound to write his own biography? Is there any other work for him but a good journal? We do not wish to know how his imaginary hero, but how he, the actual hero, lived from day to day.”

— Henry David Thoreau


“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


“Writing eases my suffering . . . writing is my way of reaffirming my own existence.”

— Gao Xingjian


“Journaling […] can be the go-to way you use your mind, maintain daily awareness, and take responsibility for your life.”

— Eric Maisel


“Keeping a journal is the number-one best way to develop your written voice.”

— Camille Perri


“Someone once said that chopping wood to make a fire warms you twice. Writing a journal is like experiencing everything twice … when you do it and when you reflect upon it as you write.”

— Steven Wong


“The journal is the ideal place of refuge for the inner self because it constitutes a counterworld: a world to balance the other.”

— Joyce Carol Oates


“Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.”

— Natalie Goldberg


“Writing bridges the inner and outer worlds and connects the paths of action and reflection.”

— Christina Baldwin


“Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself.”

— Robin S. Sharma


“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.”

— Anaïs Nin


“I have found so many sides of myself in the diaries of others. I would like it if I someday reflect future readers to themselves, provide them with examples, warnings, courage, and amusement. In these unedited glimpses of the self in others, of others in the self, is another of the covenants posterity makes with the day-to-day.”

— Gail Goodwin


“Don’t bend, don’t water it down, don’t try to make it logical, don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion.

— Franz Kafka


“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

— Mary Oliver


“These are the days” is the name of my main journal. This is to remind myself that “These are the days” no matter what stage of life I’m in. Every season is significant in its own way and it’s worth remembering. This is what motivates me to keep journaling daily about big and small moments alike.

— Kt Anderson


“Journaling isn’t about creating great works of literature, it’s about you and how life is impacting on you.”

— Steve Day


“Writing in a journal activates the narrator function of our minds. Studies have suggested that simply writing down our account of a challenging experience can lower physiological reactivity and increase our sense of well-being, even if we never show what we’ve written to anyone else.”

— Daniel J Siegel, M.D.

Wrapping Up: Share Your Favorite Quotes About Journaling

These 100+ quotes about journaling highlight the transformative power of putting thoughts and feelings into a journal. Whether used as a tool for self-discovery, creativity, or simply a means of capturing memories, keeping a journal can be a life-changing undertaking.

Take some time to reflect on these words of wisdom and allow these quotes to inspire you to start or deepen your own journaling practice. Experiment with a few new journaling prompts or journaling ideas to build your journaling habit. The process of writing and reflecting on your experiences can bring new insights, promote growth, and offer a sense of peace and clarity in our often hectic lives. So, happy journaling!

Start a Journal Today with the Day One Journal App

The Day One journaling app makes it easy to start and maintain a meaningful journaling habit. Daily reminders, daily writing prompts, and journaling streaks are designed to help keep you motivated and journaling consistently.

About the Author

Kristen Webb Wright is the author of three books on journaling, including The Transformation Year, a year-long series of daily journal prompts. With a passion for writing and self-reflection, Kristen uses her experience with journaling to help others discover the benefits of documenting their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. In her role at Day One, she helps to promote the power of journaling so people from all walks of life can experience the transformative power of journaling.

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