Should Your Journal In Pen Or Pencil?

Journaling is a wonderful form of expression. It is so much more than a daily diary, and it such a unique way to document your life and what you are all about. Journals are very personal things, but there are some journaling methods that are tried and true, and there are some methods, techniques, and tools that make a big difference for journalling. One of the biggest aspects of journaling is the implement that is used for writing, leading many to the question, should you journal with pen or pencil?

Using a pen or pencil for journaling is subjective. They both have pros and cons. Pens are permanent; pencil lines can be erased. Pencils offer variations of shades, but pens come in different colors. The content of the journaling and personal preference are the determining factors.

Journaling is an important part of daily life for many people, and the writing tool that is used for journaling is a very personal choice. The implements that we use change depending on what the content of the journaling is, the particular journal we are using, and even the mood that we feel when journaling. Let’s take a look at journaling with pens versus pencils and some pros and cons of both.

The Main Differences Between Using Pen Vs. Pencil For Journaling

Journals are wonderful things. They are a highly unique, highly personal form of self-expression that very few other mediums offer.

Journals are so much more than daily diaries, but journals document our lives on paper.

Journals should be filled with thoughts, lists, sketches, ideas, troubles, experiences, photographs, memories, dreams, and everything that makes us who we are. Our journals will be here for longer than we are, which makes them very important documents.

The two main options for making these marks are pens and pencils. There are advantages and disadvantages of using both of these implements, but at the end of the day, the tools that we use are our own personal preference.

Try both before making any firm decisions, and stay flexible and willing to use pens and pencils for different expressions within your journal.

Using pen or pencil for journaling is subjective and should be determined by the needs and style of the individual.

Pens offer a way of permanently marking the page, and they come in a large variety of types, styles, thicknesses, inks, and colors that pencils cannot realistically compete with.

Pencils offer a unique writing experience, and they bring different degrees of shading to the page without having to change writing implements. Pencils also come in many variations, but every pencil mark looks very similar, even if the pencil’s leads vary in thickness and darkness.

Journaling with pen offers a sense of permanence and stability for the writer but can feel less creative. Using a pen is a practiced skill. Once the author becomes confident with using a pen, they can be wonderful tools for writing and creativity alike.

Pencils allow the author of the journal a sense of ease, in that nothing that is put on the page is permanent, and everything can be changed. Pencils are also better suited for sketching and drawing within a journal and feel more creative in hand.

The main difference between using a pen or pencil for journaling comes down to the strengths of each medium.

Using a pen well and clearly takes a bit more skill than using a pencil, and what is put on paper cannot be removed. Using pencils is more forgiving, but the writing tip can become very thick, making certain handwriting more difficult to read.

Pens are better to use for writing, and pencils are better for lists and sketches. Play to the strengths of the implement that you are using, and your journaling experience will be all the better for it.

Pros And Cons Of Journaling In Pen Vs. Pencil

There are cons and pros in using each of these writing implements, and it helps to know what they are when making this decision are when looking for tips to improve your journaling experience.

Some of the differences between these two implements are very obvious and easy to recognize, but there are some that may not be as easily apparent.

Let’s look at a few of the important pros and cons of using pen versus pencil for journaling:

Pros of Using a Pen for Journaling

  • The biggest advantage of using a pen for journaling is the fact that pen is permanent. Many write journals with the intention of coming back to read them later in life and even for handing their journals down to future generations. The pen allows the author to make a permanent mark that will not fade and will be legible for many years to come.
  • Pens leave clear, concise lines that are easily legible, making them perfect for writing. There are many nib-sized and ink types to suit every handwriting.
  • Pens come in a truly vast number of variations. Pens can be of different sizes and colors, with different grips, and made from different materials. They also come in many varying nib sizes and types, ink types, ink thicknesses, and many different quality levels.
  • There is a pen for everyone to suit every writing need and handwriting style, as well as every budget. The vast variety of pens allows the author to find what they need for their specific journaling requirements.

Cons of Using a Pen for Journaling

  • The biggest advantage of using a pen is also the biggest disadvantage. Pen is permanent; If a mistake is made using a pen, it cannot be undone, only scribbled over or scratched out. This is not ideal.
  • Pens can be unreliable, especially cheap pens, as they tend to stop working inexplicably and at the worst possible moment.
  • Pen ink can be blotchy and is easily smeared on the page, leaving undesirable marks and smudges on an otherwise pristine page.
  • Good pens are expensive to buy, and the refills for the ink are expensive as well.

Pros of Using a Pencil for Journaling

  • Pencil lines are erasable; pencils do not make permanent marks, which offers a great sense of freedom for the author.
  • Sharp pencils can be good for writing, and they offer good variations for line weight depending on how hard the author presses when using the pencil.
  • Pencils come in many different variations of lead thickness and darkness, as well as many different physical sizes as well. There are pencils to meet the need of every hand size.
  • For journaling, pencils are the best medium to use for making rough sketches, drawing, building lists, and shading on a page.
  • Pencils are very cheap, and the pencil that you like to use is probably very readily available at most stationary stores.

Cons of Using a Pencil for Journaling

  • Pencil is not permanent; pencil marks can be removed easily, but they will also not stand the tend of time either. Over time, pencil lines will disappear from the paper, especially if the paper experiences drastic changes of humidity, heat, cold, or gets wet at all.
  • Pencils become blunt very quickly. The lines they make become thicker and difficult to read clearly, especially when written in small handwriting.
  • Pencils need to be sharpened often, which can be very frustrating.
  • Another major drawback of the pencil is that pencils break easily.

Pen vs. Pencil: What’s in your Journal?

The content of the journal is a big factor when choosing between a pen and pencil. If what is being put down in the journal should be permanent, or if clarity for future reading is imperative, then pen is a better option.

Pens are better for writing and can be used for long journaling sessions more easily as they are comfortable, do not break easily, and do not need to be sharpened for use.

If you tend to sketch, draw, or make a lot of lists and diagrams in your journals, then pencil is the better choice.

Pencil is not the best for writing, but it is perfect for every other aspect of journaling and is much more forgiving.

The experience of using a pen or a pencil for journaling is just as important as the content of the journal, and the author of the journal should choose between the two options based on what they like to use.


When it comes to using pen or pencil for journaling, the two biggest factors are personal preference and what the author tends to put down in their journal.

Pens are better for writing, and they come in more colors, but pencils are better for drawing and are more versatile.

When it comes down to it, one should use pens for their strength and pencils for their strength.

Be flexible when it comes to your journaling implements, and journaling will be a much less stressful exercise, and you will get more use out of your journals!