I’m Laura, and I have a serious stationery addiction.
This is a condition that runs in my family – my Dad is obsessed with pens (seriously, he has boxes and boxes full of them, and my Mum gets annoyed because he always wants to buy more) – and it means I unfortunately cannot enter a shop where they sell any kind of stationery without buying something.
Hence the immense collection of notebooks I found rammed into every drawer of my desk when I was packing up to move back in December. Literally, they were everywhere, in every colour and style imaginable, and the worst thing is, half of them hadn’t even been written in!
So I had to have a think about how I was going to use all these
So here’s 15 ways to use notebooks:
One of the most obvious ways you could use a blank notebook is as a journal: a record of the things you’ve been doing on a daily basis. I’ve had stints of journalling throughout my life, but have unfortunately never been able to stick with it. But I know a lot of people like having that record, and it’s often said to be very beneficial at working through your own thoughts and feelings (I often feel like giving it another go!).
Bullet journalling has become really popular in recent years, and I really love the idea of it! A bullet journal is basically a kind of planner that you set up entirely to your own
I’ve been meaning to try bullet journalling for myself for quite some time, and I already have a notebook earmarked for it, along with a selection of colourful pens
Another way you could use a blank notebook is to try and clear your mind, or find some inspiration when you’re struggling. ‘Morning pages’ is an idea from Julia Cameron’s famous book The Artist’s Way which involves writing three pages of writing every morning. You’re not allowed to think too much or stop, and it doesn’t have to be about anything
Similarly, freewriting is where you just sit and write with minimal thinking, and is a great way to just get into writing if you’re finding it hard to get started. It’s also a good way to work through specific things, such as if you were struggling to get into the mind of a character you’re writing in a bigger work, you could free write about them to try and get their voice down, or learn more about them
Experimenting with writing prompts.
Another good exercise if you’re struggling for writing inspiration is writing prompts, and by hand in a notebook is probably the best way of experimenting with them. You can find loads of great writing prompts online and on Pinterest, so why not pick one and sit down with your notebook and see if it gets the creative juices flowing
If you have a small notebook that you can easily carry around with you, you could use it as an ideas notebook. I know if I think of an idea for a story or blog post and don’t write it down within ten minutes I’ll probably forget it. So making a note of them somewhere is essential.
Plus on days when you’re feeling
Plotting novels/stories etc.
When I’m working on a bigger project like a novel, I always plot it out by hand in a notebook. I find it much easier to look at my plan in a notebook rather than searching back through computer files looking for character profiles and my outline, and it’s a great way of using a notebook.
I find this especially useful when I’m writing fantasy with a lot of world-building, as I can essentially use my project notebook as a story-bible, where I write down all the rules of my world so I can keep things consistent as I’m writing
Most people these days seem to automatically start writing on their computers rather than by hand, and for the most part, I’m right there with them. But occasionally when I’ve been struggling to get into a project I’ve decided to mix it up and start writing a rough draft by hand, and it can be so refreshing! Especially with short stories, this is a great way of getting a rough draft down quickly, plus you can automatically edit it as you go along when you type it up
Another great way to use a notebook is for lists! It could be your basic shopping lists, to-do lists etc. Or you could even keep lists of things like TV shows you loved, books you want to read, etc., that you can keep on adding to as you go along.
If you’re a blogger you could then turn these into blog posts, because everyone loves a list post
I have a beautiful, sparkly silver Paperchase notebook that I recently started using for recipes, and it’s been really useful!
When I cook I usually find recipes online, but my boyfriend and I are so picky we generally have to make adjustments to it, so that it doesn’t include things we don’t like. So if I make something that we like, I then write out the recipes with our adjustments into my recipe notebook so I can make it again and won’t forget how I did it. So far the highlights include a delicious Potato Curry Soup (sounds weird, but it’s yummy!) and my own version of a Chilli Con Carne (with all the veg blended up so I get the nutrients, but not the gross texture…I told you I was picky!).
Writing poetry isn’t for everyone, myself included, but sometimes I like to experiment with different things just for fun or when I’m struggling with other types of writing, just as a palette cleanser of sorts. A notebook is probably a much better place to experiment with poetry than a computer screen, so it’s definitely an interesting way to use up any blank old notebooks you have lying around
You could also use a notebook to keep a log of your favourite quotes. If you keep it by you whilst you’re reading you could add to it as you find them, and then on days when you perhaps need a little inspiration or encouragement, you could flip back through your quotes notebook
Book review notes/journal.
A great way book bloggers and readers can use notebooks is to keep notes about books they’re reading, or as a reading journal. I keep meaning to start a reading journal myself, as it would make writing my reviews much easier, and whilst my blog is
If you don’t want the trouble of setting out a whole bullet journal, you could use a notebook simply for goal tracking. So, for example, if you’re a writer who wants to write so many words a day you could use a notebook to log your daily word count. Or if you’re trying to lose weight or eat healthier you could write down what you’ve eaten that day and your weight progress etc.
If you’re working on a big project that requires a lot of research you could use a notebook to help you keep track of it.
You could also use notebooks for a more artistic reason, and fill it full of doodles and/or art! Doodling is said to be therapeutic, and art journaling is a good way to experiment with different art styles and mediums, so if you have a spare notebook you could see if it works for you!
So do you have a lot of blank notebooks lying around? What do you use your notebooks for?