I, Briana, come to you, my readers with a confession: I’m a filthy empty journal hoarder. I see a pretty journal or notebook and I buy it without question. What I’m exactly going to use it for…Who knows? If you’re like me and you have a bunch of empty notebooks or journals stashed around your house, you could use some ideas on how to fill them up. So dear readers, I present to you 30 things you can fill a notebook with.
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1. Love Notes
When say, love notes, I don’t mean the ones from your partner (though you could definitely do that!). For me, love notes are anything that someone has written to you (or you can print it out) that says something about you that makes you feel good. I have “love notes” from friends, family, coworkers, and random people that I’ve never actually met in person.
2. Favorite Quotes
Who wouldn’t love to write down their favorite quotes? These quotes can be from anything and everything…books, tv shows, your mom, your great uncle Ben. If it’s memorable and you love it…fill your notebook with it.
3. Book Reviews
If you’re an avid reader, you may want to keep reviews on the books that you’ve read. You could write things down like the genre of the book, similar authors, how the book made you feel, or any number of things. I actually have a specific journal for this that was given to me by a friend. If you’d like one of your own, you can purchase it here.
4. Write Down Your Dreams
I have pretty vivid dreams and most of the time I rarely write them down other than texting my partner about how weird they usually are. Many people believe that dreams are windows into your soul, your wants, and your fears. If you’d like to be more in tune with yourself and do some self-discovery, why not write down some of your dreams?
Are you a Buzzfeed fanatic and love your listical content? Try making some of your own! Here a couple of ideas: a list of your favorite songs, a list of your favorite flowers, or a list of your favorite food.
If you’re even more creatively inclined, use one of those blank journals as a sketchbook. Try going to a park and sketching what you see or combine some of the ideas on this list and sketch out your thoughts instead of writing them.
7. Gratitude Journal
I love this notebook idea. I’m all about gratitude journaling and I’ve been doing it consistently for almost a year. Since I’ve been gratitude journaling, I’ve been realizing all of the small (and big) things that I’m happy to have in my life like my cat, space for a home office, and an abundance of empty journals.
8. Life Lessons
Along with my gratitude journaling, I also journal about what I have learned every day. These can range from the profound to silly facts that I didn’t know before. Each day can teach us something. I try to spread my learnings forward on my Instagram and on my monthly Gratitude and Lessons post.
8. Travel Plans or Ideas
If you’re an avid traveler or you aspire to be one, write down your travel plans or ideas in one of your notebooks. This isn’t something that I’ve done for a while, but sometimes I do write down some of the places that I’d like to visit.
This is a cute thing to do with a notebook if you like to collect things. As I mentioned in the first idea on this list, I like to collect love notes and put them into my journal. In this same journal, (my heartsong journal), I also put in other things like ticket stubs, pictures, and even an old bracelet.
10. Creative Writing
Channel your inner writer and try a bit of creative writing. A lot of my creative writing (when I have the time for it), comes from dreams that I’ve had or prompts that I’ve found online.
11. Mental Health Tracker
Tracking your mental health can be incredibly helpful in finding the things that work for you. For example, you could track taking your medication, coping skills, and supportive people.
12. Bullet Journal
Bullet journaling is the newest trend in the journaling world. I haven’t personally tried this but many of my friends who have absolutely rave about it. To learn more about bullet journaling, you can grab the official Bullet Journal Method book. It will teach you absolutely everything you need to know to get started.
14. Mind Mapping
Mind mapping is a visual way of organizing your thoughts. Think of it as a hierarchical list but more visual. I’ve only mind mapped a few times, mostly during graduate school, but it can be a helpful framework if you’re more visually included.
15. Old Fashioned Diary
This is how I first started with my blank journals all the way back in middle school. I would write down the things that happened during the day and how I felt about them. There was A LOT of boy drama. If you’ve never tried an old fashioned diary style of journaling, definitely try it! It can be fun to look back and see what was happening in your life.
16. Vision Journal
Vision boarding is pretty popular. I’m in the process of creating my own vision board. But, if you have a blank notebook, why not turn that into a vision journal? You could separate the journal into sections that represent areas of your life and get to vision boarding er–journaling. This is one of my favorite notebook ideas.
17. Habit Tracker
Tracking your habits can be super helpful if you’re trying to build out new habits and get rid of old ones such as drinking more water, stopping smoking, or exercising.
In addition to your vision boarding journal, you could add affirmations to each section of that vision journal.
19. Budget or Debt Tracker
Many people have changed their financial lives by using a good old paper and pen budget or debt tracker. If you’re trying to get your financial life right, try a budget or debt tracker for a few months and see how it goes (and let me know about it!).
20. Journaling Prompts
Journaling prompts are an awesome way of filling up an empty notebook. If you’re interested in journaling prompts about friendship, self-discovery, or some general journaling prompts, I’ve got a bunch for you!
If you love cooking and making your own recipes, turn that blank notebook into your very own recipe book. This is would be a particularly cute idea to fill a notebook with if you give it as a gift to someone that you love.
22. Hobby Journal
A hobby journal would be a great idea for you if you’re someone who has a hobby that may require you to take a lot of notes. Some hobbies that come to mind with this are gardening, collecting, or birdwatching.
23. Mini Paintings
I’m not a painter, but my sister is. If you’re inspired to paint, but don’t have any canvas, try using a blank notebook instead. You could also try out these colorsheets – I’ve never tried them but they look amazing.
24. General Planner
If you don’t want to buy a new yearly planner, convert an old notebook into a planner. This could work well with the bullet journaling idea that I mentioned previously (idea #12).
25. Movie Reviews
Along with being a big fan of reading, I’m also a huge fan of movies. If you’re like me, take a shot at writing down your thoughts on movies that you’ve written. Maybe you’ll even come up with some fun theories! (If you have any Marvel theories definitely slide into my Instagram DMs).
26. Notetaking for Courses
Learning and writing things down go hand in hand for me. I have notebooks for all of the different courses, programs, and classes that I’m currently taking. Though, if courses are similar, I tend to group them into one notebook, like one notebook for all of my blogging courses.
27. Goal Setting
I’ve been tracking my goals in one of my many journals for all of 2019. I find it easier to do goal setting by the month and to focus on one goal at a time. When I complete the goal for the day, I check it off. At the end of the month, I write down what I’ve learned about myself and the goal (even if I didn’t complete it).
28. Meal Planning
Meal planning is definitely not my forte (maybe I should be journaling about it). However, for many people writing down meals and planning for them can be extremely helpful for budgeting, eating all the food that you currently have, and for your health.
29. Spirituality Journal
If you’re wanting to delve deeper into your spirituality, try writing it out. If you’d like some prompts to help you in this area, check out this post for a bunch of journaling prompts for self-discovery, including spirituality.
30. Event Planning
One of the best ways to keep things organized is to write them done. If you’re planning a big event like a birthday party or wedding, try writing down all of the things that you need to remember in a dedicated journal.
So there you have it. 30 things to fill a notebook with. The possibilities are literally endless. You can mix and match multiple ideas into one notebook or if you’re an overachiever, have one notebook for every idea. Which idea is your favorite? Are you part of the empty notebook club? Let me know in the comments!
Briana Hollis is a licensed social worker and self-care coach. She earned her Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University in 2014 and her Master of Education from Tiffin University in 2019. She has spent the last 5 years working in crisis intervention. Her passion for serving others is the heart of this site. She started Learning To Be Free to assist others in bringing freedom to their lives.
Briana is also the author of The Self-Care Journal for Young Adults.