I never really used art journals until 2007, a year after my first child was born. At the time, it was a way to try to bring art back in my life. An entire year had passed without me doing anything more creative than paint my baby's bedroom. I used it to sketch and practice, tape inspirational work, write (vent), and keep track of ideas I wanted to try but didn't have time to focus on immediately. I'm now on to my second journal. The biggest benefit for me is that I can use the journal to brainstorm projects before I get to them--especially since I have limited time. I will usually draw a box to represent the "canvas" and create the layout or a quick thumbnail sketch of what I want to do. I've included a page from my current journal, along with a current work in progress so that you can see how I use it.