How To Journal About Walking For Pleasure

Of the many topics one could write about in a journal, a regular walk is another subject that could grace the pages of your personal book. If you take a morning, mid-day, or evening constitutional or go hiking and enjoy it, writing about the walk can be fun.

Often when you search for discussions of walking journals they are for the purpose of measuring health, (e.g tracking heart rate, miles walked, etc.) which, of course, you can do.

However, what yours truly is advocating here is to use your journal for the expression of enjoyment of moving your body. Journaling about your walk can be a way of extending the pleasure of the activity.

Charles Dickens was fond of describing walks. In The Uncommercial Traveller, the author notes the following:

My walking is of two kinds: one, straight on end to a definite goal at a round pace; one, objectless, loitering, and purely vagabond.

Charles Dickens, The Uncommercial Traveller

It’s a shame that Dickens describes his less-planned walks as objectless. Wandering and filling one’s senses with the world around is a wonderful thing. Sometimes the journey is the objective.

In any case, in writing about our walks, we are in good company. It is interesting how the author distinguishes his walks. How would you describe your walks?

The following are a few more questions to get you started on a walking journal for pleasure:


Do you like the area where you walk? Is it flat? Mountainous? Sandy? Residential? Public park? A trail in the back acreage?

Is your enjoyment derived not from the location but from the movement of your body? Or some other reason? Why?

How do you feel about the walk? Why?

What little details give you pleasure?

Do you walk alone or with a companion? The baby? The dog? Why? How does it make you feel?

Do you like to walk and listen to music? How about podcasts? Is the sound a distraction or an enhancement? Does the sound keep you from feeling bored? Why do you walk with extra sound in your ears?

When you walk do you think of other things, such as what you will have for dinner? Describe what you think about during these moments.

While you walk, do you produce ideas planning the next day? A few years from now? If so, what are those plans?

Is there a certain pair of shoes you enjoy using? Describe them. Do you walk barefoot?

If you art journal, could you illustrate something from your walks? How about printing an image of the area from an online map?

Do you take a camera with you on your walk? Do you take photos? Include them in your journal and use them as memory prompts.

Is there a preferred path? Where is it? Why do you prefer it?

Do you not think of anything in particular on the walk and just enjoy whatever stimuli you encounter (wind, rain, snow, the sight of squirrels)?

Is your walk scheduled and clear about its destination? Do you wander more?

Do you take food or beverage on your walk? Why? What is it?

Is it a leisurely walk or more brisk? If it might take longer, do you sometimes opt for a picnic along the way?


Walking can be fun. Perhaps we can capture the pleasure of walks in a journal.



Skipped a Day of Journaling? Feel Like a Failure? Here’s a Thought.

If you have the habit of writing in a journal daily, but you have skipped a day or more and feel like a failure, here are a few tips. (If you don’t feel like a failure, that’s great. This might not be the article for you.)

    If you find yourself missing your daily writing habit, especially if it starts happening often, reassess why you write every day.

    1. If you write every day for discipline reasons, if you write to give yourself the habit, then you might need to address what interrupted your flow yesterday and how we can eliminate this problem and give you the uninterrupted time you need.

    Do you write at a busy time of day when everyone wants something from you? Then it might be time to write before everyone in the house awakens, or after everyone goes to bed.

    Do you normally write in long paragraphs and you knew you wouldn’t have time for that so you did not write at all yesterday? Next time, write a sentence or two. Stick to your routine, even if the result is not ideal on that day.

    Did you not feel like writing yesterday? Why? That might be a topic to explore in today’s journal entry. Do some freewriting (i.e. just write whatever you think about a subject) to get to the root. e.g. I know a person who could not figure out why she was not writing every day. Eventually, she stopped writing altogether and felt like a failure until she began to freewrite and discover why – her parents were always strict. In trying to create a daily habit of journaling, her inner child felt oppressed again, too many rules. After that revelation, she decided to write whenever she felt like it, and began to enjoy the process of writing, even if it wasn’t every day.

    Do you give yourself the best possible chance to succeed at daily writing by making it easy to do? If you keep your journal where it is easily accessible for you, you are more likely to do it. e.g. There is a person who keeps a large journal propped open on his desk. Every time he passes the desk, he is reminded to write something.

    2. If you write every day to brag that you write every day, then I cannot help you. This sounds like a form of perception management that is best discussed with a therapist. I wish you the best.

    3. If you write daily because you enjoy re-reading your entries, then perhaps retroactive journaling might be the way for you. The following tips are best if you have a space all laid out for the day’s entry and just did not write in it so it is blank.

    Write yesterday’s missing journal entry so that you can have the information. The data is still fresh enough in your mind the next day; jot it down and back date it.

    Write yesterday’s activities in today’s journal entry. e.g. “Yesterday I went to the store and bought a bushel of apples. Today I am trying out an apple cobbler recipe.” If you do this, then you can use yesterday’s blank space for doodles or art.

    —You might not have written in a paper journal yesterday, but there might be a trace of you from that day in some other media. Did you take a photo yesterday? Put that in the journal and back date it, using the image to prompt your memory.

    —Let’s say that the day that you skipped journaling is farther back than yesterday and you cannot recall what you did or how you felt. Look at the search history on your mobile device or desktop. This will give you a glimpse of what you were thinking that day. Did you search for paste in your area? Will that prompt the memory of making a papier-mâché dog? Look at receipts (paper or digital). Did you fill up your gas tank using a rewards card? Was that the day you took a trip out of town? Write about it.

    — Let’s say that you cannot remember what happened that day, or you would rather not recall what happened that day. Then write in general terms about how you have felt lately, as opposed to activities on the specific day. You can write about your latest music playlist, a particular movie genre you have explored lately, a thought that you’ve ruminated over for a while, etc.

    Ultimately, don’t berate yourself about missing a day of daily writing. Grieve the loss of the time you could have spent journaling, if you need to do that. After that, find your way forward.



    Most Popular Journaling Articles of 2022

    Thank you for reading Journal Writing with Deborah. Here are the most-read articles of 2022. Enjoy!


    Most Popular Journaling Articles

    Journal Writing Sugggestions

    A letter to an acquaintance who wanted tips for restarting journal writing after 20 years.

    How to Use a Journal to Remember a Recently-Deceased Relative

    When a loved one dies, you might wish to remember the person by writing about your experience in a journal, writing about the deceased, and keeping mementos.

    Here are a few things that I have done with a journal during Aunt C’s illness and death.

    On Journaling: Use What You Have 

    Sometimes the right journal is the one that you have right now. I talk about my first journal and how it was not “perfect.”

    Types of Journals to Consider

    Here is a list of journal types. Choose what works for you.

    Most Popular Journal Prompts

    How to Write a 5-Minute Journal

    The 5-Minute Journal is a series of writing prompts to recall daily highlights and improve oneself for the next day.

    Journal Prompts After a Concert

    Do you need journal prompts after attending a concert to remember an event? Here are a few prompts to get you started.

    Heirloom Journals – Prompts for the Journal That You Will Leave to Your Children.

    Not all journals are for yourself exclusively. Some would rather leave their writings to their children as heirlooms. Here are  a few writing prompts to get you started.

    Journal Prompts for Aunts and Uncles

    The following writing prompts are not only to help aunts and uncles capture the moments, but also to help you think through the relationship that you would like to have with your nieces or nephews, whether they are minors or adults.

    Holiday Journal Prompts

    Holidays can be a sensitive topic for many people. A journal can be the perfect place to download your feelings and attain a bit of relief from a stressful time. Conversely, if you enjoy festive seasons, journal writing is the perfect time to remember as much as you can about the day or days that you celebrated.

    Here are a few prompts to get you started.

    Image as Journal Prompt

    It can be a personal image or one you randomly find online or in a print publication. Allow the image to evoke an idea or a memory.

    Lunch Break Journaling

    Taking a break at work can include fueling oneself physically and also refreshing oneself psychologically. Journaling can help with the latter.

    On your lunch break, after you have had your meal, pull out your journal and jot down a few thoughts.

    You can talk about the day, or your plans, or the bird that has flown by as you sit on a bench. This is especially useful for those who feel as if there is no time in the work day for journaling.

    Write a sentence or two. Get into the habit of journaling, unfurling the blossom of your thoughts on the page. It can be a restful and refreshing experience.

    There are those who take lunch in the employee break room and journal, if they feel that they will be undisturbed. There are others who eat in the car in the parking lot just to have privacy; journaling there should prove very easy to do. There are those who would not mind pulling out a journal in a restaurant and jotting down a thought or two. Some work close enough to home to eat lunch and journal in a familiar space. I’ve even heard of journal jogging, where you chat into a headset microphone into a voice recorder on your phone as you trot around the park.

    However you choose to do it, don’t forget that your lunch break can be a time of mental and psychological refreshment through journaling.



    Moving House and Journaling. Will You Have Time?

    Will you have time to write in a paper journal while moving to a new home, packing and unpacking, making sure the emergency papers are in the right bag, etc.? Probably not.

    However, if you take time with a camera or voice recorder, you might be able to squeeze in a moment or two.

    Why do this? Why journal in the midst of moving house? A few reasons.

    1. A journal writer becomes raw, unpolished, and truthful in the rush of the moment. Your real thoughts come out.
    2. Journaling in the rush of moving homes preserves the expectations of your new life in your new home. In this way, months or years later, you can compare the dream with your new reality and determine whether they match, determine whether the dream remains the same. It is from this treasure of information that you can find the best way forward if you haven’t yet created the dream life.
    3. It is fun to get a glimpse of an old house or apartment if happy memories are there. Take a photo of the old place before, during, or after packing for nostalgia.
    4. It is useful to show your future self how you organized the move should you need to move again.

    Let’s say you have stopped in the middle of packing to eat lunch. If you can turn on your camera for a few minutes and describe how you feel, a video diary might be just the thing. Describe the day and what you are looking forward to doing in your new life.

    For example, in my last move, I made a video diary of getting the post office box keys in my new town; I described feeling like a local. It wasn’t unpacking boxes that first made me feel at home, it was the keys. I had no idea that would make me feel so connected to my new city.

    Or perhaps, turn on your voice recorder, say the date and talk about what you have to do next. Nothing fancy. No big production. Just talk. These will provide tons of nostalgia some day.

    For example, the other year when I moved, I made audio diaries. When traveling to my new town I listened to these old audio diaries and was thrilled to hear my younger self talk about her plans. This new move was part of what my younger self hoped she could do someday. I was shocked at how I had surpassed her expectations.

    Eventually, I got around to the paper diary to write my feelings and save space for photos. Still, I’m so glad to have taken the time to record what I was thinking in other media during a transition. I wouldn’t have remembered what I felt in the hustle and bustle of traveling, and unpacking, and getting the electricity company to turn on everything, etc.

    In the hubbub of moving to a new place and a new life, capture memories of yourself in transition. They are wonderful memories.



    Journaling with No Journal (Temporarily)

    At times, we find ourselves with no journal or notebook but with a thought that must be jotted down. Here are a few ways to keep the thought until you return to your beloved personal book.

    Alternatives to the Journal

    If you board a plane and have no journal with you, jot notes on your boarding pass (if you have a paper one) or a paper napkin that comes with your beverage.

    Yours truly is known for using paper towels from the public restroom to jot down a note or two in an emergency.

    Programs at events have often been a go-to note-taking space. I deliberately leave my journal at home for the opera or a play. I don’t want to drag a journal around to such an event. But I do allow myself a pen, and jot notes in the margin to transpose to a journal later.

    It is not true that President Lincoln scribbled the Gettysburg Address on the back of an envelope, but that’s not a terrible alternative in a pinch. How many times has one retrieved mail from the post office, had a thought, and scribbled it on the back of an envelope from Aunt May?

    Alternatives to the Pen

    • Sometimes you keep a pouch full of writing implements, but you reach in and the only ones left are bright yellow highlighters. I have jotted down notes with a highlighter and later have drawn over the notes with an ink pen for increased visibility.
    • I would not like to ruin an eyebrow pencil, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make if there are no other writing implements around.
    • Step into a post office or bank to use their pens which are chained to their tables. Librarians are also generous with their pens.
    • Quills were once well used as writing implements, feathers whose tips were hardened through various processes to provide a point with which to guide ink on a page. Let’s say you are in the woods camping with your journal, but no pen. You have found a feather on the ground. It is not processed for writing. Yet, have I dipped such a thing into coffee and tried to write with it? Yes. Is it ideal? No. But if you have to…think of it as water coloring and the frustration subsides a little.
    • Use the voice recorder on your phone for memos to kick-start your memory when you journal later.


    • Consider leaving palm-size spiral-bound notebooks and tiny golf pencils lodged in the spirals in various places – your coat pocket, your car’s console, the guest room at your friend’s house that you frequent, etc.
    • Take a journal with you when you leave the house. I make sure my daily totes are large enough for the task.

    Ultimately, finding alternatives to pens or pencils is much harder than finding surfaces on which to write. Invest in lots of writing implements and strew them about in the spaces that you frequent. That’s the biggest takeaway today.



    How to Write Book Reviews in a Journal

    Before stole my heart and made my book reviews easy to search and find, yours truly would write book reviews in a paper journal.

    I realized that my book reviews are more frequently written when I think I’m helping people, so they needed an audience. Goodreads provided that audience.

    The problem with writing book reviews online on someone else’s website is that they can shut it down and your reviews no longer are available to you. Before that day comes, I plan to retrieve them from online and print them in a book.

    Of course, when I would review a book in a paper journal, there was no need to worry about someone shutting it down, nor plugging in a machine, nor checking for battery life on a mobile device. One could just open the journal and write.

    Whatever your reason for reviewing a book, whether for yourself, or for others, or a bit of both, the following tips might prove useful.

    While Reading the Book…

    • While reading the book, enjoy yourself. Let it wash over you. Note the parts that excite you, surprise you, bore you, etc.
    • Depending on how thorough you want to be in your review of the book, if you don’t mind writing in the margins, you can keep some notes there. Yours truly is known to argue with the author in the margins. I tend to remember those parts of the book when I do.
    • You can also deploy a variety of bookmarks to return to a page to recall a quote you want to include in the review. If you don’t mind slight residue, sticky notes might help you return to the various pages of interest for the review.
    • Once you’ve reviewed books for a while, you start to recognize the highlights that you usually discuss in your reviews. Review notes might become unnecessary to recall what you want to say.
    • Caution: When reading books becomes all about the review you’re going to write later, reading can become a chore that is all about “getting it right,” whatever that means. Under such circumstances, one might stop having fun when reading. If this happens, take a break from reviewing and just have fun.

    Organizing the Book Review Journal

    • The headings for your book reviews can be as simple as Today’s Date, Title, Author, and Review. Keep space in between each heading, leaving the most space for the Review.
    • However, if one is inclined to greater detail, one can include quotes that stand out to you, publisher, date of publication, ISBN, date you started reading, date you finished reading, etc.
    • As with any of the list journals, writing the same subject headings down every time might prove tedious. Consider printing out the subject headings and pasting them onto the journal pages ahead of time.
    • There are any number of ready-made book review journals on Amazon, Etsy, your local bookstore, etc. They save time on the subject headings.
    • You can create different sections in your book review journal and seperate the reviews by genre or other differences. E.g. Reviews of fiction can be written in the latter half of the journal and nonfiction in the front.
    • Another way to organize is to alphabetize the journal to write book reviews in order of book title or author’s last name. E.g. Space your journal into sections such as A through D, and only write about novels from Lynn Aaron to John Duke in that section.
    • You might create different journals for different genres and save yourself the time of sectioning off your genres in one book.

    Reviewing Audiobooks

    • Reviewing audiobooks can be a difficulty for those of us who listen to them while doing something else, like washing dishes. We might not always recall what we liked about it in detail. However, if you can pause the audiobook when a thought intrigues you, and ruminate over it for a while, you might find that the most important parts of the audiobook will be readily accessible to your conscious mind when you are ready to review it in your journal later.
    • Consider an audio journal for reviewing audiobooks. For instance, if you are listening to an audiobook on your phone and have an intriguing thought, switch over to the voice recorder on your phone and record what you think. Push pause on the voice recorder and resume listening. Rinse and repeat until you are satisfied.

    However you choose to organize your book review journal, have fun with it.



    Essentials for Writing in a Journal

    Author Bonnie Morris shares in the book Writers and Their Notebooks a few essentials for writing.

    The author is speaking from a place of journaling while on the go, but this list can work for many in general. Let’s take a look at it.

    Essentials for writing:

    • “Pens for every coat and knapsack and handbag that you own.”
    • “A…loyalty to your brand of instrument: Bic, Biro… fine-point, crayon. And mechanical pencil, too, for the creative engineers among you.”
    • “Ink. Choose colors that won’t fade; this is your stab at immortality, if you can handle the thought of great-grandchildren or grad students reading [your diaries].”
    • “Real paper, creamy, heavyweight, spiral-later, if you wish, you may certainly transfer journal entries to a cold and blinking screen. But the paper in your lap permits your moving hand to caress both pen and surface, a workmanship format centuries old, irreplaceably intimate….”
    • “A writing place and time, a favorite nook or bench, a willingness to create writing space in chaos, solitude in crowds—the ability to write in jail, on subways, during revolutions, at rock concerts, in bed.”
    • “If you like, a tape recorder and a camera rounding out the sounds and sights, interviews and images that collectively inspire you to capture or describe your life.”

    This list is of Morris’ essentials. As with anything, take what works for you and toss the rest. There is not usually a one-size-fits-all situation.



    Cruise Ship Journaling

    Cruise ship journaling is a special type of experience. Your hotel is traveling for you. There is no need to pack and unpack at each new place. Your journal is right there.


    Use paper schedules as headers.

    A few years ago, cruise ships heavily transitioned away from paper schedules and maps, which were once waiting in stacks on every corner of the ship, it seemed. If you left your schedule in the stateroom, you can pick up another one and remember where the art lecture is held.

    They now offer apps for your mobile devices to keep track of the events on board. However, they still have paper schedules at the information desk.

    Use the paper schedule of events as headers. E.g. Did you salsa on the 10th floor? Cut out that event from the schedule, affix it to the journal page and write about how that went.


    It’s up to you if you want to bring more than one journal on your trip. Some keep a large scrapbook style journal on board the ship, and take a smaller, more portable journal on excursions.

    It might be unusual to have time to journal when wandering around a port city for a day if one is the type to try to pack in as many events as possible.

    If you don’t have a moment to journal during your time off the ship, either take photos to write about later, and/or use your senses to savor the moments to remember later (e.g. What do I smell? What do I taste?, etc.)

    Places to journal on-board ship

    ~The ship’s library is rarely occupied. Gather your journal, your adhesive photos, your paper schedules, your scissors and spread out on one of the tables in the library to remember the trip so far. This is a great thing to do during those days at sea when there are no ports, no excursions.

    ~Another place to write on the ship is the back of the Lido deck during a day at sea. Why? Because it is so windy and chilly there, no one is nearby. However, you can people-watch from afar, or just be with your thoughts and fresh air. It’s difficult to write there because of the updraft, but not impossible.

    ~Strewn throughout the upper floors are banquettes with ocean views. Perfect for journaling, if you don’t mind the hubbub of people walking to and fro along the nearby pathway.

    ~At times, there are events in small rooms with small tables. Yours truly has stayed behind after everyone has left to journal a little and was never told to leave. Do this at your own discretion.

    ~Of course, there is always the stateroom for journaling. It’s nice to get up early, ring for room service, have a cup of tea on the balcony (if you have one) and write about your plans for the day.


    Phone app

    Cruising might be the perfect time for digital journaling, especially the digital apps on your phone or other mobile device.

    Whether onboard or on excursions, more than likely, your phone is there. Using the Day One journal for Apple devices, or the Journey app for Android, you can jot down your experience on the go while embedding images.

    One of the best things about digital journaling is key word search options, finding specific words when reading it all later.

    Another advantage to digital journaling is syncing more than one device. You can use your phone on excursions and use your tablet onboard and not need to retype or transfer your words.Whatever you’ve written is on the cloud and on both devices.

    Digital journaling is also a great option should your device become damaged or lost on vacation.

    Print your digital journal

    You can also journal digitally for the purpose of printing later.

    Create a concise photo journal on your phone or online and print it.

    These days, printing photos into hardcover personal books is fairly easy. Take photos on the cruise, then upload them with brief caption underneath to, for example, Google Photos print store, or Shutterfly.

    This professionally printed captioned photo album can become your succinct travel journal with minimal fuss. Your luggage is also slightly lighter from not carrying around a physical journal.

    However you choose to journal and cruise, have fun.



    Journaling After a Flood Evacuation (Story Time #3)

    Story time.

    A flood was set to hit the house in a few days. The river was about to overflow its banks, which it had not done in about a century.

    We were privileged to get away in time, putting most of our belongings in storage. We were privileged to have a place to stay on higher ground. Still, we longed to be normal again.

    Once we settled into our temporary space (It would take over a year to rebuild.), the journal came out of my purse.

    It was time.

    As I wrote about the flood, and the stress, and the gratitude that we were all safe, the topics might have been different than usual, but the act of journaling felt like putting on an old, familiar coat.

    Our couch may have been in storage, but I still had the cozy comfort of the pages of my personal book. It was familiar. It was tactile. It was -if one can confess it- a thing one absent-mindedly hugs.

    In reading the journals later, I noticed that I had given myself notes about how I felt (e.g. I would rather have my foam mattress than an air mattress, since the latter deflates with constant use.) and what to do to feel comfortable if a flood happens again.

    The threat of another flood would occur four years later. We were better prepared this time, including prepared in the knowledge of what makes us less stressed in these difficulties.

    After an evacuation, a journal is not a cure-all. However, when one has time to reflect, trotting out the old habit of journaling can bring a sense of normalcy and might even help you in the future.

    I wish you peace.


    Writing in Public

    There are those who only write at home. There are those who enjoy writing on the go, whether on vacation or just as a regular practice. Let’s discuss the latter.

    When writing in public it has been this author’s experience that it is rare that anyone cares what you are writing or that you are writing at all. Meaning, try not to worry whether someone will be nosy. Just fall into the joy on the page.

    Where to write? Anywhere.

    • Write in the waiting room while having an oil change. You might overhear a fun turn of phrase to jot down.
    • Write in the lobby of the hotel as you wait for your friends to join you. Explain in journal why you all are there.
    • Write in the family room at the hospital. The journal can be a planning space or a place to think through next steps.
    • Write at your place of worship. Jot down notes for spiritual guidance later in the week.
    • Write at the park. Enjoy the fresh air and pay attention to how you feel writing outside. Is it enjoyable? Not so much? Jot that down.
    • Write at funerals and capture the stories you hear.
    • Write at a fueling station while on a road trip. Just a quick note or photo that you can write about later.
    • Write on a pier at the lake. Listen to the sounds of nature. What do you hear?
    • Write on your lunch break. Sometimes journaling can help you decompress.
    • Write on the plane after liftoff, if you have enough elbow room. Write about what takes you on this trip. Use the airline logo on a disposable paper napkin as decor on your journal.

    Why write in public?

    • To capture the moment
    • To ease anxiety around crowds and chaos
    • To give oneself something productive to do while one waits
    • To further a writing goal
    • To continue the writing habit
    • To entertain oneself

    Whatever the reason, writing in your journal in public might be a great habit to start, if you haven’t already. It is enjoyable to write in your journal in public. Wherever you are, journaling is like falling into your favorite, cozy couch.



    How to Use One Journal for Multiple Topics

    Can you journal about more than one topic in a journal? Of course!

    You can divide your new book into different mainstay topics. For instance, if you know you want a section on inspirational quotes, another section that plans your day, and another on how you are feeling, then you can section off a journal into three even parts and place a book mark, post-it note, tag, or other marker on the start of each section so that you can get to it easily.

    You can journal about more than one topic on the same page. This is where headers will come in handy. Draw spaces for the different topics on the page and write about them in their designated spaces.

    Play around with formatting to see what works for you. As always, have fun in the discovery process. Understand that even those of us who have journaled for decades change things from time to time. Do not feel obligated to stick with one format if it does not work for your needs.



    The Journal Serves You (Not the Other Way Around)

    There are those who are intimidated by a journal. Some people fear that they are not doing it “right,” that there is some prescribed method to which they should adhere because a famous person writes in that manner. Some are afraid of making mistakes in a journal.

    Journals are your tools. They exist to help you reach whatever goal you have decided for your journal. You are not enslaved to the object, nor should you feel bound to a method used by a powerful or successful person if their method does not work for your goals.

    It might be easier said than done for some, perhaps, but do not think of your journal as a master or slave driver. Think of your journal as a friend, a faithful assistant who stands ready and eager to enable your desires and goals for your writing.