The Ultimate Guide for Keeping an Audio Journal

Keeping an audio journal is a convenient way to capture and articulate your thoughts. These days, you can easily press record on your mobile device to start your audio journal entry.

Below, I share what I have learned from keeping an audio journal as a part of my journaling habit. Furthermore, I will review its benefits and share apps to help you start keeping an audio journal.

I have kept an audio journal as part of my journaling habit. I have found it to be an effective way to supplement my written journal.

What is audio journaling

Audio journaling is another way of keeping a journal. You record what is on your mind with a recording device — a phone or a recorder. Afterwards, you may choose to transcribe your audio into text. You can keep both — an audio journal and a written journal — or use each one for different purposes.

For some inspiration, here are some famous examples of audio journals;

  1. Iolene Catalano – shared her life story from a microphone as she lay dying of HIV in a hospital. She left behind her audio journal, All the Way Broken (1995), which chronicled her story of going through orphanages, mental instituions, and reform schools.
  2. Laura Rothenberg – recorded her lifelong struggle with cystic fibrosis — a incurable disease that causes damage to vital organs. The audio journal was titled “My So-Called Lungs” and she died at the age of 22.

When to keep an audio journal

Journaling — written or audio recording — helps you articulate and free your mind. Unfortunately, a pen and a paper are not always available for you to write, articulate, or capture what is on your mind. Especially, when you are commuting, out for a walk, or don’t prefer writing it out.

For example, I found myself unable to summarize my daily reflections at the end of my day job. The shaky and crowded commute on the train did not give me the chance to sit down and write in my journal. Therefore, I decided to record my thoughts while on the train from work to home.

Different types of audio journals

The type of audio journals to keep depend on you — what areas of life are you actively trying to improve? Identify those areas of life and then use the audio journal as a tool to help you make progress in improve those areas of life.

If your professional career is a priority, then you might find it interesting that journalist keep an audio journal to get good at story telling, fiction writers use audio journaling to get over the writers block, and the same idea is for workout enthusiast, dancers, and many more professions.

  • Audio journal for professional reflections. Keep an audio journal to reflect regularly on your career progression. I find it useful to audio journal on the commute back from work to home. The time and space on the train allows me to record my thoughts down and unwind the mind to relax in the evening.
  • Audio journal for easing the mind. I also record an audio journal entry when writing alone is not enough to put my mind at ease. For example, when some relative passes away or I find myself constantly worrying about nothing.
  • Audio journal for personal reflections. This audio journal serves as an accountability buddy with whom I talk about how I have performed against my goals. It gives me a realistic self-evaluation so I can course-correct.

I encourage you to experiment with different types of audio journals. For example, if you are a fiction writer, you should try narrating your stories. Or if you are an elderly, keep an audio journal of life’s reflections. Regardless, keeping an audio journal has many benefits.

6 Benefits of keeping an Audio Journal

I have come to realize the benefits of keeping an audio journal. Here are the main benefits of keeping an audio journal — relevant for anyone from writers to students to adults.

1. Audio journaling can be easier.

If you struggled to make time to reflect regularly, an audio journal can make it easier for you to simply press record and speak your mind. Unlike a written journal — which has its own benefits — you don’t have to be seated with a pen and a paper. Plus, these days most of us have our phones with us all the time, making it easier for us to use it for audio journaling.

2. Audio journal captures more emotion and mood with voice.

Audio journaling allows you to record your voice and any background noise — capture a more rich snapshot of your journal entry. When revisiting your audio journals this can be an important data-point for reflection. Did you sound excited? Sick? Happy? What was the background noise if any? If you like to transcribe your audio journals, you still have the original recording for reference.

3. Ability to “think out loud” and brainstorm with an audio journal

Articulating with an audio journal allows your brain to think more freely and faster — which has benefits for some forms of thinking. For example, if you are practising for a presentation, writing an article, or trying to reflect on a life event — audio journaling might just give you the boost you need to get it out.

4. Audio journaling can be faster than writing.

Some people find it faster to type or record as compared to writing with a pen. Writing things out — even if slow — has its own benefit, however, audio journaling helps speed that up for the journal keeper.

5. Audio journal helps develop good habits with your phone or recorder.

Yes, in today’s times of mindless browsing on digital devices, this is a valuable habit. Using your phone or recorder for audio journaling helps you develop good habits with your digital devices. That is, when feeling down or wanting to articulate, you take the step do something about it.

6. Audio journal is good companion for your written journal.

I have found an audio journal to be helpful in broadly reflecting on a topic, such as a new job. Afterwards, for more specific plans as to how I want to succeed at this job, I turn to a written journal for tasks and outcomes (aka planning).

Best tools or apps for keeping an audio journal

You can use an audio recorder device (the ones journalists use) or use your smart phone.

The free applications that work best for recording an audio journal are already on your smart phone. For iPhone, the default “Voice Memos” app allows you to record your audio from any apple device. On Android, use the default “Audio Recorder” app. It allows you to record and also transcribe.

For more tools or apps for keeping an audio journal, please see 6 Free Recording Apps for Audio Journaling.


I hope these tips help you in your quest to keeping an audio journal. Are there any tips and tricks that you would like to share with me? I would love to hear about them in the comments below.

14 comments On The Ultimate Guide for Keeping an Audio Journal

  • this is a great site. Does anyone know if there is an app that can transcribe the Audio to txt?

    • Ken, there are many apps that can help transcribe your audio to text. On your computer, you can use voice dictation (mac) or cortana (windows). On your mobile device, you can use google assistant. Drop me an email if you need more help.

  • Just what I need

  • Do these save to the cloud ?i don’t want to use too much space on my phone

  • What is the best type of recorder out there for this? I don’t want to take up space on my phone

  • Jawwad,

    How do you use google assistant to keep an audio journal and convert it to text? Thanks!

  • The voice recording apps are great for recording your thoughts.

  • Most voice recording apps have the option to share the clip. They then have multiple options where to share. It’s your choice, Google drive …etc.

  • Beautiful article . Thank you for sharing . How can I use google assistance to help me convert audio recordings to text

    • Ekta, there are two ways you can take audio notes.

      1. Record the audio with an app – more details about this step are in the above article
      2. Dictate the audio with an app – to do this, open up your favourite note taking app. Then, from the keyboard, select the option to dictate your notes.

      Let me know if you have more questions and welcome to journaling habit!

  • Hi Jawwad, thanks for your great article. Do you know if there are any diary apps that lets you dictate audio and then automatically converts it into text in the diary app. So I dont have to first do it in a voice recording app and then save it on a proper place. I would like that part to be automatic.
    Best regards,
    Johan

    • Hi, Johan, for apps that let you dictate audio and then convert into text, I recommend starting with your phone’s default recording app. This is because these apps are safer and don’t sell or process your data (as much as other apps).
      For Android phones, I suggest starting with the “Voice Recorder” which comes pre-installed onto the phone. On most latest phones, it has the ability to skip silences, transcribe the audio and convert it to text for export. 
      For Apple phones, I suggest starting with its “Voice Memo” app. It does NOT have the ability to transcribe. If you find yourself wanting to transcribe your audio, I suggest any top free app from the app store.

      Shortly, I plan to have a top-10 list of apps for audio journaling.

  • This is an awesome article! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

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