Blank pages hold so much possibility and the feeling I get when I pick up a fresh blank notebook brings me a lot of happiness. If you are anything like me, you come across notebooks without even looking for them. You are drawn in by the beautifully illustrated cover (I am looking at you Rifle Paper Co.), the quaint size, the feel of the pages, and the special way it fits in your hands. Even though you have a pile of notebooks tucked away waiting to be used you know you need to take home just one more (and another, and another).
Truthfully, I feel okay with letting a notebook sit empty for months, sometimes years, before picking it up and starting in on the pages. I know there is a point and time when I will pick up that blank notebook and fill it up with doodles, writing, memories, and lists.
I thought it would be fun to brainstorm a list of ways to fill some of my own empty pages. If you are looking for fresh inspiration, below are 10 things you can do with a blank notebook:
1.Create an art journal
Drawing is one of my personal favorite ways to express myself. It is also often the most effective method of documenting what is going on in my life, things I experience, learn, etc. An art journal is simply a creative way to express emotions and experiment with a focus on self discovery. Typically, I do not share what is in my art journal because it has little to do with any finished work I make. Your art journal can be used daily, weekly, or whenever you have some quiet time. In my journal, I enjoy mixing media from pens to watercolors to colored pencils.
I recommend… a notebook with blank pages, mixed media/watercolor paper,no to little bleed through.
I just bought a Strathmore Visual Journal that so far is perfect for this.
2.Document your travels
When traveling you want to soak in all the sights, sounds, food, and memories of the places you visit. One way to document your travels in addition to pictures is to keep a blank notebook close by so you can scribble down things fresh in your mind. The things you write in your travel journal can be as simple as the names of the buildings you saw on your tour or can contain small tokens from the trip. Often, I purchase a postcard from a gift shop and write a memory or note on the back. Instead of mailing the postcard, I stick it in a journal using cute patterned washi tape. Business cards, receipts, ticket stubs are also great small things you can use to fill out your travel journal.
I recommend…a notebook with a soft cover, thin pages, in a size easy to carry around.
My favorite would be a Moleskine Cahier Journal which comes in various sizes and in packs of 3.
3.Fill with quotes
My books are full of sticky tabs and underlined passages of quotes I want to revisit again and again. Also, I come across quotes online or in person that stick with me for one reason or another. I think it is a fun idea to have a collection of quotes together in one place to flip through and draw upon later. Therefore, a blank notebook would make a perfect avenue of keeping record of these words.
I recommend… a notebook with lined pages that looks nice on your bookshelf (next to your equally beautiful copy of your favorite classic!)
4.Write about and keep track of the books you read
Book journaling may not be for everyone but if you are like me with a voracious appetite for reading then you will probably like this one. I approach book journaling very casually because I do not want it to feel like writing a literary analysis. I wrote enough of those in college and now very much enjoy the luxury of reading for pleasure or personal pursuit of knowledge. At times, I will copy down quotes from a book while other times I think about themes or ideas that resonated with me. Most regularly, I will include some sort of doodle or illustration while writing a few lines reflecting on the book itself. For the past year, I have kept a book journal and it is interesting to take a look back at my reading from that time particularly if I was to reread any of those books later.
I recommend…a notebook with blank unruled pages and medium/large in size to make space for writing out long quotes or reflections.
I am currently using a notebook from Rifle Paper Co.
5.Start a bullet journal
Bullet journaling is a very popular way to stay organized, track your habits, and be creative. I do not personally know much about the actual bullet journal system but a good place to start could be on the bullet journal website. Since January 2017, I have been using a modified version of a bullet journal and loving the freedom. Additionally, the bullet journal community that has popped up online is a great resource for inspiration. The best part has been being able to look back and check in on pages I created at the beginning of the year.
I recommend…a notebook with plenty of pages, regular/dot grid, hard cover that is durable.
There are many preferences and truthfully any notebook would work. I am a huge fan of Moleskine and their Classic Notebook in the large size, squared. This is one of my top favorite notebooks of all time.
6.Reflect on your gratitude
Take time out of your day to reflect on happy moments, blessings, and small pieces of joy. It is bound to have a positive affect on your mood and spending just 5-10 minutes of a quiet morning (like a lazy Sunday) to make list in your blank notebook of your gratitude is a beneficial habit. Afterwards, you get to have a notebook full of happy things!
I recommend…any notebook that is special to you and makes you happy.
7.Start planning out a new personal passion project
Ever had an idea just come to you for a project you wanted to start or a product you wanted to create? Another great use for a blank notebook in your stash is to use it as a starting place to plot out your next passion project. When I first started thinking about creating this blog, or even my H Bloom Biblio Bookstagram, I used a notebook to brainstorm ideas, keep track of research, sketch out a concept, and create actions items to really make my ideas a reality. The most important thing sometimes to just get started is to commit something to paper and get it out of your head.
I recommend…a notebook that is lined or square grids with lots of pages.
I received a Maker’s Notebook from a company I worked for and like how it can appeal to makers of all kind.
8.Keep a to do list
I can write a whole post about how awesome to do lists are (and maybe I will).While they can be just as effective written out on a post it, for someone who is in the habit of writing daily to do lists having a dedicated notebook to jot down and cross off items is very useful. Grab a spare notebook and write tasks you need to accomplish both short term and long term. The fun is in crossing them off the list, amiright?
I recommend…a notebook that is pocket size and portable.
9.Write love letters to yourself
We all struggle at times with confidence, self-worth, vulnerability, and fear. In my experience, part of practicing self-love in moments of doubt can be writing words of affirmation to myself. If this is hard for you to imagine ever doing, just give it a try. Writing out a few lines helps empower me and support myself in my thoughts and actions. Alternately, try writing a letter to another person, dog, cat, donut you appreciate and love in your life.
I recommend…a notebook that is lined and more like a traditional journal.
10.Collaborate with a friend
Does anyone else remember being in middle school and using a spiral notebook to pass notes between friends? Just me? Well, it made me consider one last way to fill a blank notebook. Collaboration helps a lot of people in their creative work (not me, I am an introvert guys). Share a notebook with a friend to collaborate on poetry, projects, doodles, or write funny messages.
I recommend…an old school spiral school notebook! Just kidding. This idea lends itself to just about anything, though.
What are some of the ways you fill your blank notebooks?