"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking."
Perhaps one of the beauties of journaling is that it doesn't require any special supplies. You can do it with just about any notebook and any pen, anywhere and anytime. All you need are your thoughts.
That said, picking out a notebook and pen that inspire you to write can be part of the fun, and can make journaling an easier habit to stick to. The feel of a good pen on smooth paper is one of life's little pleasures. From one pen-and-paper junkie to another, here are some of my go-to supplies.
Lenomo journal with Pen Loop – This is the notebook I am currently using, and I am in love with it. It's high quality for a relatively low pricetag, and the design design is unique and functional (having the pen loop on the spine means there's no flap of material to get in the way when I'm writing, and the pages lay flat when the book is open). The pages are thick and smooth, making for a great writing experience (even if you're a fan of fountain pens, like I am). As an added bonus, it comes in ruled, blank, squared, or dot grid, so it can work as an artist notebook, journal, bullet journal, or anything else you might want to use it for. The only downside is the lack of color choices.
Rhodiarama Web Notebook – If you have a favorite color, chances are the Rhodiarama series has you covered. (Sorry Lenomo.) These notebooks are just beautiful – bright vivid leatherette covers with complimentary-colored elastic bands and bookmarks. The paper in these is super high quality Claire Fontaine paper (fountain pen fanatics, rejoice!). These notebooks come in both soft (flexible) covers and hardcover, so if you have a preference be sure you select the right one.
Leuchtturm1917 -- the preferred notebook of bullet journalers everywhere. Leuchtturm was one of the first manufacturer's to make dot-grid notebooks, and they remain one of the leading bullet journal notebooks because of other added features like an index, numbered pages, two bookmarks instead of one, stickers for labeling the spine of your journal once you're done with it, and of course a wide variety of colors. These tend to be on the expensive side for an A5 size notebook, but they're a solid journal if you can afford it. These also come in lined, blank, and dot-grid, so be sure you're getting the one you want before you purchase.
Pilot Hi-Tec C Maica Gel Ballpoint Pens – If you're a fan of really, really fine-tipped pens, these are for you. I have yet to find a finer, smoother tip, and I have to say, I'm a little obsessed. These make small, precise writing a breeze, and they come in a ton of great colors (though packs of all black are available too). Because they put down such a fine line, they last a good while, too.
Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens -- Artist or not, these pens are great if you plan on doodling, hand-lettering, or drawing out bullet journal spreads. There are plenty of others in this class of pens that are also good, including micron and staedtler pigment liners, but Faber-Castell are my current go-to (if you don't have a preference between them, I say pick the cheapest and go from there.) The biggest down-side to these pens is they tend to go through ink quickly, so using them for everyday writing can add up quick.
Tombow Brush Pens -- These are great for adding pops of color and decoration to your journal, or doing full-on art if you're feeling inspired. They come in a wide range of colors, but collecting them all is more money than I personal want to spend on markers. Instead, I tend to go for one set of colors and use them as accents throughout my notebooks. I almost left them off this list because they do lean toward the pricey side, but there's no denying they are fun to play with -- and if you only use them for pops of color here or there, they will last forever.
For an every-day writer that isn't an artist marker or a fountain pen, a couple of my favorites are the Papermate Inkjoy Gel Pens or Pilot V5 Rollerball Pens (which have both a capped and retractable version). Both of these make writing smooth and effortless, but I recommend them with the disclaimer that there are a lot of other good options out there. If you have a pen you adore, stick with it! That's the pen for you.
Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen – I'm a bit of a fountain pen junkie, and this inexpensive pen happens to be one of my favorites. It comes in a variety of fun colors, with several nib sizes to choose from, and is an easy place to start if you're new to fountain pens. These pens come with a cartridge of ink (which you can buy replacements for) or you can purchase a converter (giving you the ability to fill the pens with the bottled ink of your choice). If you're new to the world of fountain pens investing in one may seem like a big commitment, but a well-made fountain pen can be a stylish and functional tool that lasts a lifetime. The downside to fountain pens is they require a bit more knowledge and maintenance than a regular pen, and they can take some getting used to (for instance, different inks will perform differently depending on the quality of the paper you use). To learn more about fountain pens, I recommend going to gouletpens.com -- they are a great place to get started!
All of the products on this page are ones I personally use and recommend. Your preferences may differ. The links provided on this page go to amazon.com, and if you make a purchase I receive a small portion at no extra cost to you. I am not sponsored by any of the brands or products listed here, and my opinions are all my own. If you have any questions, or want to share your own favorite journaling supplies, email them to thegratitudelog (at) gmail (dot) com