20 August 2020 | 7 Comments
A month or so into the pandemic, I theorized to author and book publisher Todd Sattersten that book sales were up. He confirmed that in general, yes, people were buying more books. But there was one category that was doing extremely well: Guided journals.
In contrast to traditional journals (lots of blank pages), guided journals use a variety of prompts to, well, guide you. Sometimes each page stands alone, but sometimes the journals have a sense of progression to them as you chronicle an ongoing series of thoughts, goals, and ideas as you work towards a specific goal.
I’m fascinated by this genre, so today I thought I’d highlight a few guided journals that have caught my attention. Also, before I forget, I think these types of guided journals make excellent gifts, which is great marketing.
Fail Faster by Jay Cormier: This playtesting journal is actually the only guided journal I own. It’s not only an excellent resource for game designers looking to hone their prototypes and log data and thoughts from playtests, but it also serves as a scoretrack, a gamified progress chart, a ruler, a mechanism generator, and more. A version of it is featured in the current Kickstarter by Gabe Barrett for the Board Game Design Starter Kit, which also includes a number of prototype components and a guide about designing board games.
The Hero’s Journal: What’s better than a goal? A quest! This beautiful journal showed up in my Instagram feed, and I was instantly hooked. It lets you treat your path as an adventure, letting you define your quest, consider and confront the perils ahead, and celebrate small and large treasures along the way. I love the tone and illustrations, and I like that it can be applied to any type of goal.
Burn After Writing by Sharon Jones: This guided journal, currently the #15 bestselling book on Amazon, is basically the opposite of social media. Instead of sharing your thoughts with the world, this journal is designed for you to privately declare your thoughts, ideas, and feelings for yourself alone…because when you’re done with it, you burn it.
Good Days Start with Gratitude: I love the idea of starting every day on a positive note, and that’s what this guided journal is designed for. It asks you to begin your morning by writing down three things you’re thankful for. It includes inspirational quotes along the way. It’s a relatively simple concept, but I like it.
While I haven’t created a guided journal myself, I have written a guide to crowdfunding, so I’ve considered the idea of writing something more along the lines of these journals. I’m a little torn between a focused guide (i.e., for crowdfunders, publishers, or entrepreneurs) vs something more open-ended. I love the adventurous feel of The Hero’s Journal–there’s an element of escapism to it. I also like gamification.
If you have any additional recommendations, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Have you tried a guided journal?
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