Have to admit that I’m a sucker for blank journals and have an entire cabinet full of them, just waiting to be used!
Even though I already have more than enough journals to last a lifetime, I keep buying more. A pretty cover will catch my eye and then winds up going home with me.
I simply cannot resist a gorgeous cover!
But some of them are so pretty that I’m almost afraid to use them. So I put them in aside, saving them for a special occasion.
What special occasion? Who knows. Sort of like when you don’t use your “good” dishes, put out the fancy soap, burn the decorative candle, or wear that expensive outfit.
It’s understandable. A blank page can be so incredibly intimidating! What if you make a mistake? It’s ruined!
Let’s use those good dishes! Wear that expensive outfit! Wash our hands with the fancy rose-shaped soap! Burn that intricately carved decorative candle! And most important of all, use those blank notebooks!
So to try and take some of the pressure off, here are a few ideas on how to use those beautiful, blank journals:
Start a Diary
When I was a child, I’d occasionally receive a diary for my birthday. One of those little books with a lock and key and Diary stamped on the front cover. I’d dutifully fill it out for a few weeks, then get bored and toss it aside.
Now that I’m older, I’ve found that I love keeping a personal journal!
I started in college, using one of my old binders and regular loose leaf paper. Now I use a pretty lined journal, and try to write something every day.
It’s a great way to organize my thoughts and work out any issues, plus record memories.
Recording your dreams is another great use of your journal!
Keep a pen and your journal right next to the bed so you can record as much detail as possible when you first wake up.
If you keep a consistent record, you might be able to see patterns in your dreams.
And your recall will improve the more often you write down the details of your dream. Like exercising a muscle, your recall will become stronger.
I’d recommend getting a book of dream interpretations if you really want to explore what your dreams may mean.
Related Post: Bullet Journal Dream Logs (plus templates)
In a world full of negativity, a gratitude journal is a great way to remind yourself of all of the good in your life.
Some people recommend writing in the morning while others prefer filling out their journal at the end of the day.
Ultimately, it’s up to you.
I’ve started a gratitude journal and try to write down at least three things every day. Yes, some days are harder than others, but after awhile you’ll find yourself able to always look on the bright side of life!
Every vacation, I take a blank journal, a pen, and a glue stick with me (I usually rubber band the pen to my journal for easy access).
At the end of every day, I’ll record the highlights of our trip. If I have any ticket stubs, postcards, or receipts, I’ll glue those in as well.
This makes a great keepsake and an easy way to reminisce about past trips. The ultimate souvenir!
I love to collect quotes!
I started keeping them on my desktop on virtual post it notes, but soon had too many and started writing them down.
Some people have beautiful handwriting and practice their lettering with quotes, but I just write them down so I remember them.
It’s nice to thumb through the book every now and again for inspiration and to enjoy some awesome quotations!
If you enjoy reading, then you might want to start a reading log.
It can be as simple as the title, author, and date-read to more detailed, with a synopsis, notes, favorite passages, and maybe even a review of the book.
You can organize your log chronologically, alphabetically by author’s name, or by genre. The are so many possibilities!
An affirmation journal can take several different forms, depending on which advice you follow.
My notebook is filled with the same positive affirmations that I write down every day. Some people speak them out loud in front of a mirror, but I’m more comfortable putting them to paper.
There’s an option of using prompts to fill out your affirmation journal, or you could describe your ideal life, writing things down as if they’ve already happened.
Whichever method you choose, you’ll be able to make positive changes in your mindset!
Habit trackers are a great way to help you develop (and keep) a new habit!
You can track waking up by a certain time every morning, making your bed, drinking your daily allowance of water, washing your hair, practicing a new skill, exercising, walking the dog, and anything else you can imagine.
I use my habit tracker to keep track of my daily reading, writing in my journal, studying, working on my blog, the various online courses I take, exercise, dog training, and a few other items.
There are self-care trackers, relationship trackers, no spend trackers to help you save money, mood trackers, or you can mix it up and track them all!
Book of Lists
As a devoted list maker, this one is right up my alley!
I love lists!
You can list anything you like: favorite movies, things that make you happy, your dream vacations, playlists for working out, what you would buy if you won the lottery, restaurants you want to try, etc.
So many possibilities!
A Timed Journal
If you’re worried about how to fill all those blank pages in your notebook, then take some of the pressure off by setting a strict time limit.
Set a timer, then start writing. It can be five, ten, fifteen, or however many minutes you like, but once the timer goes off, you stop.
Knowing that you only have a certain amount of time really seems to help. Try it just once and you might find yourself hooked!
Starting a bullet journal is a great way to use one of your blank journals!
Simply put, it’s a way to keep track of tasks, to do lists, and future plans. Created by Ryder Carroll to help you live a productive and meaningful life, you can find more details at his official Bullet Journal site.
Your bullet journal can be as simple or as elaborate as you make it. My bullet journal is pretty basic but I’ve seen some that are simply beautiful, with gorgeous brush lettering and lovely drawings!
The skies the limit!
Morning pages were originally developed by Julia Cameron, described in her groundbreaking book The Artist’s Way.
You write three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, first thing in the morning.
Don’t think, just write.
It’s not easy at first, but after a few days the words start to flow and the three pages fill up quickly.
Pen Pal Log
I’ve had a pen pal since grade school, when one of my teachers had us all write a letter to a schoolchild in another state. For whatever reason, I picked New Mexico. We were pen pals though high school, then lost touch after graduation.
Over the years, I’ve had several pen pals from all over the world. Unfortunately, because I have so many pen pals, I can’t remember what I’ve written to which pal.
To avoid repeating myself or forgetting important details, I started a pen pal log in one of my blank notebooks.
I keep track of the main points from each letter, their birthday, names of family members, pets, anniversary, etc.
It’s a great way to keep track of everything!
An empty journal is a great place for all of your million dollar ideas!
Mine is a hodge podge of brainstorming for upcoming projects, ideas for possible blog posts, snippets of rhymes, names I like, random lists, doodles, and anything else that pops into my head.
Whenever inspiration strikes, you need a place to write it down!
A few years back, I went on a haiku kick. Not sure how or why I started, but it sure was fun!
Naturally, I needed another blank journal so I could write them all down.
If you’re not into haiku, then you could try your hand at poetry.
It gets easier with practice, promise!
There seem to be handwriting challenges floating around constantly, but I haven’t joined one yet. One of these days, as I don’t really like my handwriting.
Some of the challenges give you prompts while others have you write certain words. I’m leaning towards the less restrictive prompt challenges.
You could even take things up a notch and practice brush lettering or calligraphy!
Birthday Bucket Lists
Everyone seems to be doing birthday bucket lists these days!
You know, the “30 Before 30” or “50 Before 50” bucket lists floating around.
You simply list 30 things you want to do before you turn 30, like going sky diving or getting a tattoo or dying your hair purple.
A birthday bucket list.
Related Post: Birthday Bucket Lists (for your bullet journal)
Memory journals are a lovely idea if you aren’t into scrapbooking or writing a diary.
You can start a memory journal for yourself, your partner, a friend, for or about your children, or for anyone in your life.
It’s a way to record special memories, any way you choose.
Whether it’s a funny conversation, a song that came on the radio and reminded you of someone, how you spent your birthday, holiday memories, or a family gathering, it’s nice to record memories to look back on whenever you want.
One Sentence Diary
The easiest way to journal!
You simply write one sentence in your journal, every day, no exceptions.
Some people dedicate one page per date and keep filling out the journal year after year, while others fill up the pages as they go.
Up to you if you want to stick to a certain topic, write down the most important memory from the day, or just record random thoughts.
Several years ago, my husband and I started tracking our expenses. While I have a hard time sticking to a budget, it’s easy to write down every expense.
And for me, sometimes it made me think twice about buying something I didn’t really need because I knew I’d have to write it down later.
You can set your journal up to track expenses on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. We track them monthly, with columns for recurring expenses as well as miscellaneous (that’s usually the biggest column).
We originally started tracking expenses because we were saving up for our dream vacation, but kept the habit because it’s nice to see where our money goes each month.
Surprisingly, the totals in each category are pretty consistent every month.
Book Summary Notes
If you read a lot of self-help books, you may want to start a notebook with key ideas you want to remember.
I’ve been on a non-fiction kick this year and have read several self-help books. Since most of them are from the library, I needed a place to write down important take-aways from each book.
Good thing I have plenty of blank journals to choose from!
To Do Lists
Everyone has a to do list, so why not keep them all in one place instead of scattered all over the house, on different scraps of paper?
I’ve tried several different variations of a list in my notebook and have settled on a Master List. It’s like a running list of things that gets added to as needed. Although it does seem like I add more things than I cross off!
It’s easier for me to have just one list instead of daily lists where I have to keep transferring tasks that didn’t get done to a new day. I do keep it limited to one page though, as I don’t like flipping back and forth.
Experiment with what works best for your to do list and I’m sure it will make getting things done easier!
A blank journal is a great way to keep track of your goals.
You can write down your daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly goals, leaving plenty of room to track the specifics.
I follow a 90 day plan so list my yearly goals in the front of my goal journal. I have a 3 month recap of what I need to accomplish during that time on the next few pages.
Because I like to keep things flexible, I then break things down on a weekly basis and skip daily goals.
I check off the goals I’ve accomplished and highlight any that didn’t get done. At the end of each month, I can see what worked and what didn’t and make adjustments as needed.
Keeping a food log is a great way to help keep your diet on track.
You simply write down every single thing you eat, every day. You can also track if you have any digestive problems, your mood, your weight, in as much or as little detail as desired.
A food log is a good tool to use with an Elimination Diet in identifying food intolerances, sensitivities, or allergies.
While I’ve never kept a mood tracker, they’re a good way to discover any patterns you might not have noticed.
Maybe you have mood swings every month, or are always down during the winter?
Keeping track of your mood can help narrow down possible causes or triggers. If you know what to expect, you can come up with a self-care strategy to help you manage your moods.
I keep a small notebook to record the date, miles, calories burned, and time for when I ride the exercise bike.
It’s nice to track how I’m able to ride longer, burn more calories, and log more miles than when I first started. Of course, it stinks when I slack off and miss a few days and my results go down.
Keeping a fitness tracker is a good motivational tool for me because I want my results to keep getting better and better!
I’ve signed up for several different online classes over the years and am still working my way through the coursework.
In order to get my money’s worth, I take notes. Lots and lots of notes.
Currently, I have three notebooks going for my various courses (Dare To Conquer, the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit, and a third for miscellaneous classes).
The first thing I do is set up Index Pages at the front of the blank book, then I number the pages. Tedious, but necessary so I can find things later.
And yes, I do go back and review my notes periodically!
I know. I know. You’re not supposed to write your passwords down.
But I have so many different passwords for so many different sites that I had to start a password notebook.
And since I have so many different journals and notebooks lying around, I’ll take my chances that no one will just happen to pick up the right book.
Tracking your time is supposed to be a great productivity tool.
After a week or two of writing down every task throughout the day, you’ll be able to see where you waste time and which parts of the day are your most productive.
I’ve tried to keep a time tracker but just can’t keep up. Plus I’m easily distracted, so sad to say that time tracking is a big fail for me.
I love journal prompts!
There are several journal prompt collections on Pinterest, but one of my favorites is the 52 Lists Project. I bought the book for my brother one year, but cheated and wrote down all the prompts before I gave it to him.
Shhhh, don’t tell!
Hopefully you’ve found a few ideas you’re excited to try to fill those blank journals!
While not an exhaustive list, these should definitely set you on the right track.
Do you have another way to fill up your notebooks? Would love to hear your ideas, as I still have plenty of blank journals sitting around, waiting for me to fill them.