Visual Journals.

About a month ago, Ariel Bissett uploaded a video about micro journaling. Here’s the video:

I completely agree with Ariel that I struggle to keep a diary and I think her method of journal is amazing and I think I will try it out. I have tried to journal since I was very young. Over the years I have tried to write in diaries and write blogs, but I have never managed to successfully maintain any form of journaling. I cringe at my writing and I have to delete or throw away my writing because I dismiss my thoughts as being silly. I blame American teenage dramas for my fear of someone finding my diary and reading it out to the world – despite the fact I have nothing to hide. It’s such an irrational fear.

Instead, I have found an alternative method of documenting my life without writing anything. Since 2011 I have created visual journals and I have never looked back. By collecting images instead of words, I can create a collage of feelings and experiences on the page.


The picture above shows two of my visual journals. It is not clear on the photo, but the book on the right is my complete journal and the notebook on the left is my current one.

I really like collecting photos, clippings from magazines, postcards, etc. so this is a good place to store them. However, my visual journal is different to a scrapbook (I am making this more complex than it should be). My scrapbook has photos of me with my friends and family, but my visual journal is mainly for pictures I have found in magazines and online.

Here’s some examples of the pages in my journal:


There’s a mixture of pictures I have found online, pictures from magazines, old gig/club wristbands, poems.

I love creating moodboards; they really help me map out ideas. Before I started my dissertation, I created a moodboard of influential people, monuments and photographs from the time period I was looking at to help me get in the zone.

Creating these kind of collages on paper help me map my thoughts and feelings for project, or even just a brief time frame in my life. Although there are few words on each page, opening up the journal and looking at the pictures I can remember what I was feeling during the time period I was creating these moodboards. Comparing parts of my journal to older pages allows me to see how much I’ve grown and changed over the years.

Tips for starting a visual journal:

  • Anything goes! – Cut up a magazine, write a poem, draw, make a list, print some photos out you like, collect tags from items you have bought. It can be anything.
  • There is no time limit – There is no structure to this method of journaling, which I think is really useful because there is a certain pressure to creating certain content for other methods of documenting your thoughts. I like the fact that I can leave my journal for months and not feel guilty, whereas I feel the pressure to write everyday in a diary.
  • Cut up magazines – I always forget to throw magazines out and end up with a massive pile hidden in my wardrobe. Cutting them up and putting them in your journal is a good way to keep the pieces you want and to free up space in your room.
  • Use pinterest or tumblr as inspiration – I always go through my tumblr account and create a moodboard of my favourite pictures that month and print them for my journal. Having an account of these websites has made it easier for me to document my inspirations, but it is not a necessity. For years I would just browse these websites and other blogging platforms for inspiration without making an account.

Ultimately I think this is a really fun thing to do as a hobby. As an English Literature student, I spend a lot of time writing so it is fun to create a journal through pictures as an alternative to writing a diary.

I hope people find this somewhat useful and have fun making their own journals!


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