Tips on Daily Journaling

If you’ve been following my posts (on Instagram, mostly), I’ve recently rekindled my love for documenting daily – and for good reason. My work schedule has been crazy since last year, and I found this to be a way for me to appreciate my day-to-day activities and being grateful in the process of creating.

Today, to end the #ABCsBookChallenge (Day 21 is, yes, create a journal page), I’m sharing a few tips on the said topic – I realized I’ve been keeping journals for more than 10 years now (gasp), but I kept hopping on different styles to find a method that was convenient for me. So here are some tips to get you started on your own journal. 🙂


Use what you have

I collect washi tapes, stickers, and lots of memorabilia (calling cards, tickets, etc) from daily events and experiences. I also happen to have an arsenal of pens here for work, so those are the materials I often use for my spreads. They’re simple and easy to find. I also strategically placed them in boxes and containers so I just whip them out when it’s time to journal (which, by the way, for me, happens early in the morning or late at night).

For those asking: my current journal is a Hobonichi (A6 size) which I got in Japan 🙂

Related post: Journal Roundup 2016


Choose what to share

Since this is a personal journal, you have the capability to write and share about anything you want. My suggestion is to draw out important parts of the day you want to share. Did you find something interesting? Any exciting news you received today? Or maybe you’d like to share a few anecdotes about a certain experience? It’s your call.

In a nutshell, my daily pages contain: a film / album I listened to, what I did, what unusual thing I did, and a short takeaway from how my day went.

(Yes, there are days that I just write on it. No artsy crafty stuff – I like to play it up sometimes.)


Get crafty & creative

The fun part about using stickers and other craft materials is that you get to play dress-up of some sort. Sometimes I can choose to make themes based on colors (maybe a red and black combo, a vintage all-brown spread? something like that) or patterns – but normally, I don’t like thinking about it too much.

There really are no limits to creating what you want and coming up with new ideas to jazz up your pages. Just remember: don’t overthink too much. No pressure!


Limit your font choices

A tip for letterers out there: try to keep your fonts limited to around 2-3 styles. This creates uniformity for the page. I also like to use 1-2 colors only to make everything look cohesive. If you’ve seen some of my type-heavy journal entries (a sample above), you’ll also notice that I follow grids or keep it in straight lines – this is for convenience, of course. You can also opt to change the size and shape of your letters to fit certain areas of your spread.

Related post: Tips on Improving Your Lettering


The best part about lettering your journal spreads is the convenience of using any pen you want – fineliners, ball pens (yes, the regular ones), markers, or brush pens. I personally use a fineliner pen in thin weight to make sure I get all the details of my letterforms.

You can add small elements and doodles to complement your letters as well. Get creative!

5_Week 10 WIP


News flash – my journal is inconsistent. In fact, I’ve kept so many journals that were half-finished, or were in different formats. And that’s perfectly fine, because it allows you to experiment on whatever style you want to try. Some days, I’d fill a spread full of photos and stickers; on others, doodles – it really depends.

These days though, I mostly find myself printing photos (I have a photo printer at home) and putting stickers on most pages. Yay for instant decorative pages, lol. I also have a habit of keeping notes from friends (which I eventually stick on the pages) and other random things I end up saving on a specific day.

Related post: Journal Roundup: Volume 1

5_Week 10

Anyway, hope these tips helped in some way! I’d also love to know how you chronicle your daily events. Leave a comment below 🙂

[EDITED: November 2016]

By the way, have you gotten a copy of my new book The ABCs of Journaling?

journaling_bk inside_book

Inside the book I share tips on documenting your own life creatively, and gathering inspiration from different types of people on how to journal. There’s also a sticker sheet included 🙂 Copies are available at bookstores nationwide in the Philippines, as well as online on Shop Abbey Sy. Limited stocks are available for pre-order (internationally) at Rainbowholic Shop.

Related post: The ABCs of Journaling Book Launch

  • KF

    I’m confused. This is Day 21: handletter a journal page. I’ve never done an “actual” journal before so how should I start? Should I create a journal now (kahit isang page lang po; ma-lettering ko)? Nawiwindang ako. Huhu nakagawa na ako dati ng journal na ang nakalagay mostly is mga panaginip at thoughts, kaso plain ko lang sinulat. Ganon po ba, pero handlettering nga lang? 🙁

    • abbey

      Hi KF, You can just use any page, not necessarily a journal if you don’t have one. You just have to hand-letter the journal page instead of writing it.

  • Hi, you always make a blank page turn to something beautiful even exceptional I love your washis hihi where do you buy it po?

    • abbey

      Hi Guillian, thanks! I buy mine from MT (Singapore or Japan) or sometimes at Hey Kessy 🙂

  • Marielle De Castro

    Hi Ms. Abbey! You said we should make a “hand-lettered journal”, but can we add washi tapes and stickers in our Day 21 entry? Heehee.

    PS: So sad that the Book Challenge is ending!!! 🙁

    • abbey

      Yes!!! Go ahead. 🙂 Washi tapes are important. Lol.

      Awww. I hope you guys enjoyed tho! We’ll officially end on Saturday 🙂

  • You just convinced me to get an A6 Hobonichi. A smaller one might be easier to fill especially if the goal is to journal daily. Lovely pages you’ve made!

    • abbey

      Do you have the bigger Hobonichi? I just didn’t want to pressure myself to work on a big page that’s why I got the A6 🙂 Enjoy! Thanks!

  • Lise Sutherland-Fraser

    Abbey adore your work! Wondering what photo printer do you use? So glad I found you!

    • abbey

      Hey Lise, thank you! 🙂 I use a Canon Selphy CP820 🙂

  • Hi Abbey! What glue/adhesive do you use? Not sure what I could use that wouldnt wrinkle the paper and the ephemera itself. Thank you!! 🙂

    • abbey

      Hi Kat! Double sided tape 🙂

  • Hi Abbey

    I just got my Hobonichi. I love journals kaya napabili na rin ako dahil nakita kong cute sya. Nagpasuyo ako sa friend ko sa Japan na bilhan ako (without covers nga lang).. babayaran ko sya XD Enjoy ako sa pagdoodle (medyo pangit lang ako magdrawing) pero I’m enjoying myself writing on it.

    Thanks for featuring it

    • abbey

      Hi Lily,

      Great! Enjoy the Hobonichi 🙂 Super okay nya hehe

  • Emily Ho

    Hi Abbey!

    Got an honest question to ask you. Do you always take very long to journal your day? Do you feel like after a long tiring day you still have to journal. But, you do want to journal, except the fact that it’s gonna eat up your sleeping time. How do you overcome that? I always fear of doing things halfway and never completing it 🙁

    • abbey

      Hi Emily! Not really. Usually around 10-20minutes. If it’s been a long day, I’d skip it and do it the next day. I don’t want to sacrifice sleep or anything important for journaling. It has to be part of a working schedule and as long as you have the energy, go do it. But if you want to call it a day, go for it and continue the next day 🙂

  • Cayla Danielle

    I like journaling alot and I’m just wondering, what else can I add to my journal asides from stickers and photos

    • abbey

      Artworks, ephemera, tickets, etc 🙂 Or cutouts from magazines.

  • Andrew Mendoza

    Hi Ate Abbey. As of now, I think I have all the things that I need to journal daily such as your book for inspiration, the stick em up book, some pens, and your daily journal. Except, I rarely have the time to do so, and when I do, I’ve already skipped a lot of days amd couldn’t recall what happened on what day so I end up ‘wasting’ the purpose of the daily journal. Huhu any tips po?

    • abbey

      Hi Andrew! I actually made a blog post about that which I will publish soon. Stay tuned!