9 Best Creative Writing Journals: Take Your Thoughts to the Next Level
Individual creative journal prompts just not doing the job? Perhaps you’re looking for gift ideas? Here are a few of the best creative writing journals I’ve found. With this much variety, you’re sure to find your next favorite creative journal!
Creative writing is a fantastic way to spend your time. Want a creative outlet, some easy stress relief, or to improve your writing skills? Creative journaling exercises and journals with creative writing prompts are great places to start.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This post is not to be taken as professional medical or mental health advice. All statements are strictly my personal life observations. You can see my full disclaimer here .
Choosing Your Next Creative Journal
The feeling of inspiration is a moment that anyone who has written before can testify to. It’s like magic, an energizing and exciting feeling that comes with the potential for unlimited creative expression.
A writing journal with pre-written prompts may be just the way to tap into this feeling, where you only need to put pen to paper with these ideas at your fingertips.
There are also dozens, if not hundreds, of different creative writing journals available for you to choose from. So, how do you choose the one that is right for you?
Remember that creative writing is like coloring outside the lines on purpose… it’s okay to break the rules. You don’t have to stick to one type of writing or one style of journal. Try something different. You may be surprised at how well it works for you and how much fun you have!
The choice is ultimately yours, and finding the perfect creative writing journal could be just one more step towards becoming a better, more creative writer.
My Picks for Best Creative Writing Journals
Note: Even though many of these titles are called ‘journals’ — it’s likely you will want to pick up a blank companion journal or notebook to really capture all of your creativity. The spaces in ‘journals’ can be very limiting.
1 – Keep It Simple
Inspirational thoughts and heartfelt words are all around us. The power of these quotes is undeniable, which makes the Always Remember You are Braver Than You Believe – Inspirational Journal perfect for anyone who needs a little encouragement or inspiration in their life!
This inspirational journal for women of all ages contains powerful motivational quotes on each page to prompt plenty of creative responses.
With lots of space on the 8-1/2″ x 11″ pages to write new ideas as well as everyday experiences, it has everything you need to get as creative as you want to be!
Caveat: Some reviewers found the pages to be somewhat thin, so keep that in mind if you prefer to journal with heavy markers, paints, etc.
2 – Thoughtful Writer
If you are looking for the best creative writing journal to help you discover who you truly are and help you answer the difficult questions you might otherwise be avoiding, check out Burn After Writing (BAW).
When you first start reading the introduction on how to use it, it’s kind of funny. The author of the journal treats it as a ‘cult’ and reminds you to ‘keep the faith’ as you go through the prompts at random. Challenging you not to write the entries in order.
Once you really get into the writing, you will find yourself challenged by the prompts to put a lot of thought into your writing.
Though there is room for you to write with each prompt, you will probably want a secondary notebook because some of the prompts are very thought-inducing and you will likely need more room to write than what is provided.
3 – Get Poetic
Blackout poetry is a clever way to put your own spin on the written word, and Make Blackout Poetry: Turn These Pages into Poems by John Carroll is the perfect place to begin.
Blackout poetry is an art form in which a person removes or ‘blacks out’ existing text to create new pieces of work.
For instance, you could take a poem by Shakespeare and black it all out so that only the words are left behind for your own ingenious remix. With Make Black Out Poetry, readers can make their own blackout poems with texts from books like Jane Austen novels or vintage etiquette manuals!
Not only does it make for an engaging and creative activity, but can also be rewarding in terms of mental stimulation!
Trying to make blackout poetry is challenging, but it’s also a wonderful way to relax and be mindful in this world full of screens. There are so many different ways you could use the book as well: buy it for yourself or someone else as a gift. If you want to feel a little more creative — even just slightly — then I encourage you get your hands on this book!
4 – 365 Day Commitment
If you’re ready to commit to writing something every day for the next year, check out A Year of Creative Writing Prompts (Write On!) . While not exactly a ‘journal,’ this book will push your writing to its limits with not one but three different writing prompts available each day.
Each day is broken up into three sections: Five-minute prompt, midday prompt, and dinner prompt. The five-minute prompt is usually one word. The midday prompt is usually a scenario in which you have to write about how things play out. The dinner prompt is a story starter that is usually about two and a half sentences that you have to continue writing.
This book is fantastic for writers struggling with writer’s block or someone needing a change of pace.
Caveat: You will need your own journal, paper, or computer to write on as there aren’t lines in the book for each prompt.
5 – Break Writer’s Block
Are you struggling to think of a new idea for your book or blog? Or maybe the words are just not coming quickly enough as you try to write new-to-you fantasy stories?
Fear no more! The 400 Creative Writing Prompts Workbook has ideas that will make any writer’s creative juices flow and get their minds thinking about potential storylines. Find inspiration again with stories from past experiences, dialogue prompts, characters sketches and much more.
6 – Bring Some Art Into the Mix
Explore creative ways to fill your journal with words, drawing, and other mediums. In her book Journal Sparks: Fire Up Your Creativity with Spontaneous Art, Wild Writing, and Inventive Thinking , Emily K. Neuburger invites you to explore the many paths into writing creatively by using a variety of tools like collage and observation-based list making.
With 60 prompts and art how-tos, this colorful book is a vibrant launchpad to more creative journaling, thinking, and writing.
Best for: People of any age who may be very new to creative journaling.
7 – Creative Writing for Healing
If you are in search of healing, reflection or even self-discovery, consider starting with Soul Therapy: A 365 day journal for self exploration, healing and reflection , a creative writing journal designed to send you deep in thought as you discover more about yourself and maybe even face some of the monsters in your closet you have been avoiding.
This journal was designed to help you create positive and self-confidence-boosting habits that can help you to heal while also pushing you to set and accomplish goals for a better life.
Though this journal should not be used to replace actual therapy sessions, you can use it to dig into what has hurt you and push yourself towards further healing in between therapy sessions.
8 – All.The.Things (for Adults)
Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re an established author looking for new angles on the same old topics, you’ll want to pick up a copy of 642 Things to Write About for plenty of writing inspiration… and a little bit of the unexpected.
This journal has space for short writing sessions and will have you feeling creative in no time! There are prompts here with something different: sometimes quirky or outrageous, other times profound — to provide you with a wide variety of possibilities.
Also try: 642 Tiny Things to Write About . This journal is VERY small — about 4-1/2” x 5” — and packs a lot of fun ideas into the tiny size.
Be aware: Some of the prompts in these books are definitely on the adult side, so they are not meant for younger writers.
9 – Prompts + More
Robin Woods’ Prompt Me Again: Creative Writing Workbook & Journal isn’t just a prompt collection for writers who need a kick-start. It can inspire entire books… heck, probably even series of books.
With photo prompts, dialogue prompts, story starters, fairytale mash-ups, and more, you’ll be scrawling all.the.words in no time. Plus, with the reference section and master lists, there’s even more value for writers who are looking for that bit of extra help.
I have this workbook next to me right now, and I can confirm that it is so fun!
Okay, in all honesty, the photo prompts could be a little sharper, but they are still good enough to prompt writing ideas.
There are several other journals in the ‘Prompt Me’ series, a few of which may strike your fancy:
Prompt Me: Romance
Prompt Me: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
More Journaling and Creative Inspiration
12 Outstanding Creative Outlets for Non-Creative Adults
How To Start Morning Creative Writing for More Productive Days
8 Reasons To Explore Creative Writing (Even If You’re Not An Aspiring Author) – Linda Alley
27 Powerful Quotes About Journaling That Will Inspire You to Write
The Creative Cure: How Finding and Freeing Your Inner Artist Can Heal Your Life – Jacob Nordby
Choosing a new creative writing prompt journal or book may seem like an overwhelming task, but being a little adventurous can help you break through writer’s block and put your ideas on paper.
Working with prompt journals can be a great way to bring out your creativity. I hope this list of best creative writing journals has helped you find your perfect next creative writing journal!
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2 thoughts on “9 Best Creative Writing Journals: Take Your Thoughts to the Next Level”
What a great list! I especially love the Blackout Poetry book.
Yesssss! I especially love the idea of blackout poetry. Not sure if I have the skills for it, but I’m going to give it a whirl! ❤️
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Creative Journal Writing: The Art and Heart of Reflection
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Home » Book Series and Journals
Book Series that Publish Work in Creative Writing Studies
Research in Creative Writing Series from Bloomsbury Academic
New Writing Viewpoints Series from Multilingual Matters
Approaches to Writing Series (Critical and Creative Approaches) from Palgrave-Macmillan
Critical Issues in the Future of Teaching and Learning from Sense Publishers
Series in Composition, Literacy, and Culture from the University of Pittsburgh Press
Other Publishers Active in Creative Writing Studies
Cambridge University Press Edinburgh University Press National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Book Series Southern Illinois University Press University of Western Australia Press Wiley
Peer Reviewed Academic Journals in Creative Writing Studies Journal of Creative Writing Studies New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing TEXT Journal Writing & Pedagogy Writing in Practice
Trade Publications & Magazines Poets & Writers The Writer’s Chronicle Teachers & Writers Magazine
Publications Focused on a Specific Literary Genre – Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, etc. Assay: Journal of Creative Nonfiction Studies Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion Jacket 2
Additional Peer-Reviewed Journals Relevant to Creative Writing Research ARIEL Callaloo College English College Composition & Communication Journal of Aesthetic Education MELUS Mosaic Pedagogy
12 Of The Best Creative Writing Prompt Journals (On Amazon)
- Post author By Marisa Donnelly
- Post date June 5, 2018
- Categories In Writing Products , Writing Resources
- 1 Comment on 12 Of The Best Creative Writing Prompt Journals (On Amazon)
From colored pencils to inflatable pool flamingos, colorful containers to invisible pens, there is no shortage of products you can find on Amazon. As an avid Prime user and hardcore fan of the two-day, hassle free shipping, I more often than not find myself scrolling through, looking for something that I want no need in my life. (Because let’s face it, that’s way easier than hauling your booty all the way to the store!)
Over the years I’ve done my fair share of ordering products online (from bathroom to housewares, outdoors to cooking utensils, etc.) but as both a writer and editor, I have plenty of experience with the best writing and office products section on the site.
And in an effort to not only organize myself, but to help browse through (in an organized fashion) some of the best writing tools all in one place, here is a list of my favorite creative writing prompt journals.
Whether you’re feeling stuck, uninspired, or just looking for a refresher, there is something for you.
1. The ‘Roam From Home’ Travel-Inspired Free Writing Journal
I love this journal because, as both a writer and travel-lover, I can combine both passions in one place. The interior is 150 pages of travel-related quotes, ideas, prompts and pictures meant to inspire. Whether or not you’ve actually been to the place, you’re inspired to write as if you have, and let the words flow.
I’m also a big fan of anything visual, so this journal works well to keep my interest, as well as gives me wanderlust for new places and adventures!
2. The ‘sparkle’ Daily Guided Art/Writing Journal
3. This Creative Kickstarter Journal
What I love about This Creative Kickstarter Journal is the fact that it’s just so visual. As someone drawn to color, I love the bright pages, bold designs, and art that’s sprinkled throughout.
Something I’ve found real value in when it comes to writing, is the tool of experimenting with ekphrastic writing , which is, in essence, drawing inspiration from visual content such as pictures, photographs, paintings, etc. This journal really implements that and pushes your creative boundaries in a fun way. A great pick!
4. A Year of Creative Writing Prompts
What I appreciate the most about this journal is that it pushes you to write and reflect multiple times a day. Honestly, I often fall into the habit of writing when it’s convenient and then not going back to my drafts until the next time it’s convenient…thus missing out on really challenging myself or getting drafts completed in a more efficient amount of time.
This journal incorporates morning, mid-day and evening prompts (3 per day for a year!) which will really force you to engage, create, and feel more confident. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for that extra push, or wanting to sharpen their prompted-writing skills.
5. 365 Prompts for 365 Days
The prompts in this journal are really focused on beating writer’s block, meaning they will challenge you to think differently and be slightly less traditional in form, which I have always appreciated. Another strong pick!
6. This Nature Guided Journal
If you’re looking to both be inspired by the natural world and keep yourself on track with deadlines, ideas, and goals, this is a perfect journal for you!
7. Creative Writing Exercises For Dummies
The ‘Dummies’ series of books is actually so fun. I remember leaving through my parents’ books on some topic, thinking, ‘Hey, this is pretty good advice. ‘ Couldn’t tell you what the topic was (maybe cooking? travel?) but I loved the casual, yet super informative tone.
8. This Self-Exploration Journal
A lot of good writing comes from digging within yourself. And whether that is to create effective/believable characters, to learn the inner-workings of a plot, to produce a reliable narrator, etc. it’s important to really know yourself in order to know your writing.
That’s why I love this journal . It’s all about self-exploration and translating that to the page. Focusing on different moods to write in certain directions, I love this as both an inspiration tool and resource.
9. The Beautiful Book OF Songwriting prompts
For those who are musically inclined, this is obviously a great fit. Beyond that, though, this journal is honestly valuable for any writer. What I love the most about this journal is how it allows you to take a step back and let music/songs/vibes guide your thought process, words, and drafting. Because music isn’t something I incorporate into my every day, I really appreciated thinking about my writing process in a different way!
There are different types of prompts the journal discusses: word lists, titles that tell a story, inspiring photographs, and settings & situations . These prompts are not only vastly different, but reusable and can help you over and over again, whether you’re writing a song, poem, or gathering story ideas. An awesome (and different!) pick.
10. The 52 Lists: Weekly Inspiration
I am such a list person. Seriously, I have a list for every project, multiple lists around the house, short-term lists, long-term lists, (you get the point.) This journal was a good fit for me because it uses a form I’m comfortable with to help inspire me to write.
The lists are very simple in nature, allowing you to be as laid back or challenged as you’d prefer. There is also plenty of space to write, so that you can jot down ideas and then also convert those ideas to lines in a poem, sentences in a story, etc. For anyone who loves list-making as much as I do, or in general finds the quick-notes less daunting, this is a great choice!
11. 1,000 Character Writing Prompts
Let’s be honest here, one of the most difficult aspects of writing is creating characters, and building those characters, and personifying those characters, and making them believable. For me, I find myself shaping characters that are often either a) very similar to me, or b) the complete opposite of me. Which, by the way, isn’t really effective.
Getting this journal and working through the prompts was so helpful. I was able to see different approaches to building main figures in my stories and how to create them with distinct personalities (that weren’t weird carbon copies of me!). I was challenged by the villain sections because creating an evil figure is more than just has to be just as believable and multi-dimensional – which is hard!
The prompts incorporate different scenes and scenarios, are reusable, and really helped me dive deeper into my stories. I would definitely recommend.
12. Every Day Is Epic: Guided Journal
I’ll be honest, at first I wasn’t a fan of guided journals. When it came to writing, I just wanted space to pour my heart out! But I’m a very visual person, and definitely love having a book I can open and be inspired, simply by the colors, patterns, notes, and other fun add-ins.
That’s how the Every Day Is Epic guided journal is — fun and busyness on every page! From planner-like notes, to space for doodles, to reflection areas for post-dreams, this journal has it all, and is bound to inspire!
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- Aethlon Sports related fiction, poetry, critical and scholarly essays, and book reviews.
- African American Review A scholarly aggregation of insightful essays on African American literature, theatre, film, the visual arts, and culture; interviews; poetry; fiction; and book reviews.
- Analog Science Fiction & Fact Publishes realistic stories that reflect both the highest standards of scientific accuracy and the far reaches of the imagination, as well as lively articles about current research on the cutting edge of science.
- Antioch Review Publishes fiction, essays, and poetry from both emerging as well as established authors. To access the full text of recent issues, click on individual article links, and then on the green "MasonLInk" button.
- Beloit Poetry Journal Publishes both English language and contemporary poetry in translation, with a wide forms and styles.
- Callaloo Publishes original work by writers of African descent worldwide, including fiction, poetry, critical articles, interviews, and drama.
- Calyx (print format only) Publishes poetry, short stories, and essays by women writers, with an emphasis on underrepresented writers and viewpoints, and emerging and developing writers. Available in the Fenwick Periodicals Print Collection.
- Chicago Review Publishes a range of contemporary poetry, fiction, and criticism.
- Cimarron Review Publishes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction with a wide-ranging aesthetic by writers at all stages of their careers.
- Dalhousie Review Publishes short fiction and poetry by established and emerging writers in Canada and around the world.
- Denver Quarterly (print format only) Publishes fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and poetry. Available in the Fenwick Periodicals Print Collection.
- Fantasy and Science Fiction Publishes short and medium length fiction, some poetry, and humor and commentary.
- Field Publishes contemporary poetry.
- Georgia Review Publishes essays, stories, poems, and reviews by established and emerging writers. Recent (past five years) issues are available in print only and available in the Fenwick Periodicals Print Collection.
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- Hudson Review Serves as a major forum for the work of new writers and for the exploration of new developments in literature and the arts (including poetry, fiction, essays, and book reviews).
- Iowa Review Publishes a wide range of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, translations, photography, and work in emerging forms by both established and emerging writers.
- Kenyon Review Publishes short fiction, essays, poetry, plays, and excerpts from larger works. Recent (past five years) issues are available in print only and available in the Fenwick Periodicals Print Collection.
- Literary Review Publishes fiction, poetry, and prose from a broad community of international writers and translators, both emerging and established.
- The Lyric (print format only) Publishes traditional poetry. Available in the Fenwick Periodicals Print Collection.
- Massachusetts Review Scope includes fiction, poetry, essays, and the visual arts by both emerging talents and established authors,
- Minnesota Review Publishes contemporary poetry and fiction, as well as reviews, critical commentary, and interviews.
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- New American Writing (print format only) Publishes contemporary poetry. Available in the Fenwick Periodicals Print Collection.
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- The Sewanee Review The oldest continuously published literary quarterly in the United States; publishes American and British fiction, poetry, and reviews -- as well as essays in criticism and reminiscence.
- Southern Humanities Review Publishes fiction, poetry, and essays.
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