What Prompts You To Journal?


What prompts you to write in your journal? Many of us start a new one in January which makes this a good month to examine and strengthen what works.

Fountain pen people may do it just for the joy of using a favorite pen or a pretty new ink. Sometimes it’s the luxurious feel of a perfectly tuned nib sliding across velvety paper. A touch of the hedonist may drive us to such pursuits, but it is good, clean fun.

It doesn’t have to be just words that make it on paper. A doodler can use a glyph or squiggle to fill lines and spaces. Watercolor may come into play, but glued on bits of ephemera count as well. Stickers, tickets and postage stamps can inspire lengthy entries or at least make the pages look satisfyingly full.

But what prompts the writer, the serious writer, to put pen to paper? What inspires that flow of words? An experience of the day, something in the news, an errant thought? Do you have a book of prompts or a theme to explore? Really, how do you do it and what do you do it with?

Writing in my journal can bring out the minimalist in me. I like using a light to medium weight pen with an ink to match the subject or something very neutral that won’t detract. Recently, four pens have graced my long sessions: two Pilot Metropolitan Mediums, a Lamy Studio Fine, and a Platinum Nice Medium. The Lamy is a little heavy for more than four or five pages, but the others are good for miles of adventure. Current inks are Iroshizuku ama-iro, Pilot Blue-Black, J. Herbin Terre de Feu and Sailor Tokiwa-matsu in the second Pilot Metro.

Today my journals include one from Paper for Fountain Pens with Tomoe River Paper, Staples Arc, a new Muji notebook and a (Midori) Traveler’s Notebook, most often a #013.

Any of these tools can prompt me to journal. Four pens, inks and journals would seem like enough variety for an inkophile. Or maybe not. The Stillman & Birn Epsilon, Stipula Verde Muschiato, and the lovely, lovely Platinum #3776 music nib are ready to go. Oh, look at that. Ku-jaku just waved at me with a charming, beauty-queen-riding-in-a-parade gesture. So much for my minimalist rotation. Is this a hopeless addiction or what!



  1. i have been journaling for over 25 years now. I am currently writing on my 56th notebook, always an A6 format. I started with ball pens and changed to fountain pens at some point, long before they became the obsession they are today.

    For journaling I always used trustworthy (fountain) pens, pens I have tested before for other purpose. I now try to use one single ink for every notebook. Before, the notebooks were really multicolored, but without any pattern.

    I do not push myself to write every day, and there is no drama at all if I go without writing for days, albeit that is very unusual. My writing is mostly introspective.

    Thanks for keeping your blog active.



    • Thank you for the comment, Bruno. 56 notebooks is quite an accomplishment. The number of written words must be staggering. You must have a broad streak of loyalty in you to use the same ink for an entire journal. How do you decide which one?

      You are most welcome. Keeping the blog going can be a challenge especially when life is screaming at me. The last few years working on yet-to-be-published posts has taken over for regular journaling. Then there is the pile of products to review. I don’t know if blogging is a good habit or bad, but I am stuck with it for the duration.


  2. How do I decide the ink? Well, I am not very picky about inks. I want my ink to stain, and color is a frivolous detail. At the end I choose well behave inks, but lately I am becoming more concerned about water resistance. Right now I am using a very fluid iron-gall ink made in Japan.

    Blogging? Not too bad it can be if we are still here after all these years.



    • So you value performance over appearance. In recent months, I’ve used Platinum Carbon Black for that slot in my rotation. Pilot BBk lacks color appeal, but it performs beautifully. I would miss color if I only had those two inks, but using my fountain pens would be very satisfying indeed.


  3. I love my Pilot Metropolitans, but I also love my TWSBI Eco for long writing sessions. Both are light-weight enough that I can keep writing for lots of pages as long as I’ve got a good writing surface setup. The Eco currently has an EF nib, which sometimes isn’t as smooth as I like, so I plan to get a broader nib (either a F or M) for it to see if that’s a smoother line. I do love the ink reservoir in the TWSBI! I never need to worry about running out of ink.


    • Demo (clear) pens do have the advantage. Not knowing how much ink is in my Metros is a disadvantage. Consequently, I tend to carry more than one just in case.

      Too bad the EF isn’t smoother, but that could be said of a lot of EF nibs. 😦


      • I do think it’s the nib size and not the nib quality. I have another TWSBI pen with a M nib, and it’s butter-smooth.


  4. I journal for lots of reasons. I’ve journaled off & on for most of my adult life. Regrettably, I lost my journals during one of my moves; they took up an entire large box. Wish I still had them; I enjoyed going back and reading about what was going on in my life and how I dealt with things back then compared to now.

    Mostly my journaling is an introspective way of studying how life treats me and how I react to it, with the ultimate goal of personal growth. Some of my journaling, however, is a lot more frivolous in nature. Sometimes I search for stuff to write about just so I can use all my fountain pens and inks; just because I feel like writing and playing with all the pretty colors. I write to try out different inks; to try out new pens; to try a particular ink in a stub vs. a fine point. Countless reasons to write can be found by a fountain pen fanatic!

    Sometimes I mix up colors on a page; other times I limit myself to one color per page. No way would I be able to use all one ink for an entire journal! Aside from the lofty goal of personal growth, my more frivolous reason for journaling is my intent of enjoying my fountain pen hobby to its fullest extent.

    One more thing I just thought of: journaling is also a way to try and improve my style and skill when writing. I enjoy writing and want to become better at it as I go. Whether I improve or not is a matter of opinion. Since nobody but me ever reads my journals, I have a forgiving audience.


    • Thank you for the thoughtful response, Debi. As for the need to explore pens and color in a journal, it is both a joy and an affliction not that I am complaining. 😉


  5. […] What Prompts You To Journal? – An Inkophile’s Blog […]


  6. I am a seriously procrastinating writer. But I have been making progress in my journaling. Last year, I decided to try out fountain pens. Grabbed a Jinhao 8812, it was scratchy and I messed it up trying to use the coffee cup method I found online. At the same time, I got a Classic Edition medium nib fountain pen by Feeney. Discovered that it is produced by China, but I like it. But too bold for my writing style. I prefer fine lines. So got myself a Pilot Metropolitan fine nib and loved it. Only used one ink so far and that is the Noodler’s bulletproof black. I prefer to write in one color and in black. I find it soothing and less distracting, plus it is a habit from my Army days to use black. Decided to get a medium nib Metropolitan today with the Noodler’s Eel black. For paper, I have been using the A6 Muji notebooks. But I have so many ideas that I want to carry multiple notebooks for different purposes. Got myself a midori/fauxdori traveller’s leather cover for my Muji notebooks from a shop on Etsy. Now I can carry up to four notebooks at once and they are in the same place. The first one is for my current work in progress, did I mention I am a fiction writer? The next one is for daily journaling. Which can be anything from a freewriting session to writing therapy and whatever comes to mind. The third one is another project that I have been working on. The final notebook is for notes I wrote on several writing craft books I found useful.
    As for writing…I found the act of writing tends to open up the faucet and words tend to flow. Don’t need inspiration. Just need to start writing something, anything and that usually gets me going.


    • Hi John! I totally understand distraction-free writing facilitated by using Noodler’s Black. Not that color isn’t mesmerizing, but when it’s time to put down a lot of words, black ink fades into the background allowing thoughts to flow freely.

      Though I use wide nibs quite often, Noodler’s Black is a good mate to any of my fine nibs. I have tried only one Eel ink and it is quite lubricated. You might find it makes a scratchy nib more enjoyable to use.

      A leather cover for your Muji? That’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] What Prompts You To Journal? […]


  8. […] Inkophile had an excellent post called What Prompts You To Journal? We all have our own reasons for journaling. This post has some food for thought on why to journal. […]


  9. I started a personal year long writing challenge three days ago, which sounds like a random journal, I’m on my 4th entry (I’m writing an article everyday for a whole year, and I chose March 24th because it’s the international day for achievers, you can check out my blog https://immortallightbulb.wordpress.com/)
    Anyway I think that what usually keeps me up for it is always challenging myself and adding some fun to it to keep things smooth.


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