Empty Notebook?: 30 Ideas to Fill Up Your Blank Journals and Notebooks

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?

5. Lists

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.

6. Sketchbook

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.

9. Scrapbook

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.

18. Affirmations

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!

21. Recipes

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. Β 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.


  1. Karen says:

    Ohhhh this is so me. I am the travel writer, planner and note taker. And just like you I can’t pass a nice notebook without it finding it’s way back home with me. And though I have plenty in the cupboard I am always happy to find the next pretty notebook which will be just right for x, y or Z. Great post, thank you for sharing.

    1. Briana says:

      I’ve been cleaning out my second bedroom and I’ve been finding so many. Still can’t pass up buying new ones though. We’ll have to start our own support group lol

  2. What an incredibly thoughtful and well-rounded list of ideas!! Thank you so much for posting, this is so helpful!!

    1. Briana says:

      Thank you for reading!

  3. Katrina says:

    These are great ideas! Lord knows I have plenty of empty or almost empty notebooks sitting around.

    1. Briana says:

      Thanks for reading!

  4. I am seriously a notebook hoarder. I have dozens of them. I’m always on the lookout for special notebooks but then it’s usually months before I put anything in them because I want to make sure I use them for the perfect thing. No sense wasting a beautiful notebook on something that isn’t exactly right for it. I love these ideas! Definitely going to be using some of them πŸ™‚ Great post!

    1. Briana says:

      HAHA very true! Thank you for reading!

  5. Grace says:

    I recently drafted a blog post on this, this just gave me some extra ideas. Thanks.

    1. Briana says:

      Glad I could help! πŸ™‚

  6. Lissa says:

    These are great tips! I buy journals all the time but alas they lay empty!

    1. Briana says:

      Thank you for reading!

  7. Sally says:

    Omg the love notes one is such a good idea! Thank you so much!

    1. Briana says:

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  8. Krissy says:

    I love all of these ideas! I find writing in a journal to be so therapuetic and I’m always looking for more ways to utilize all the journals I buy, (and, I buy A LOT, lol). Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    1. Briana says:

      Thank you for reading!

  9. Samantha says:

    I love this idea! I think this is a great tool for self care and really essential to feeding your creativity. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Briana says:

      Glad you liked it! Thank you for reading!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Great post! It’s great to see another notebook hoarder. I have close to 20 plus unused notebooks. I do have 40 plus used ones those so I’m making progress.
    Great suggestions here. I will have to use some of these. A movie review notebook is a great idea too. I should really do that. Thanks!

    1. Briana says:

      Thank you for reading!

  11. Heather says:

    This is a wonderful list of ideas! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Briana says:

      Thank you for reading!

  12. Erin says:

    I love this list! I’m notorious for picking up notebooks all the time because I love the covers. But I hadn’t thought of half of these to use them up! Such great ideas – thank you for sharing!

    1. Briana says:

      Thank you for reading!

  13. Tiana says:

    Ha I do the same. I hoard notebooks and have like 50. Will I stop even when I don’t need them or give them away? Nope haha

  14. I seem to accumulate journals from Networking Events so I rarely if ever, purchase one. #trafficjamweekend

  15. Justnicole says:

    I am like a magpie with journals, I love them! Some brilliant tips ❀

  16. These are all great tips and I am definitely going to be sharing with others! #TrafficJamWeekend

  17. Kimberly says:

    I too am a sucker for a brand new notebook with blank pages just screaming for me to write on them. But then I don’t know what I should include. This post gives me some awesome ideas that I had not thought of. Thank you for sharing this on Traffic Jam Weekend, Briana! It is my fave feature for this week’s party going live on Thursday at 5:00 pm CST.

  18. I confess – I’m an empty notebook hoarder. I am reforming in 2020. This list will be very helpful with my fresh start.

  19. this is such a creative idea!

  20. Sarah says:

    Amazing list. I feel like this can be utilized in so many ways. Thank you so much for sharing. Suddenly I feel inspired. Great blog!

  21. Bobbie says:

    I, too, am a journal hoarder! Wayyyy too many of the pages are blank and this lists gives me so many ideas to pick them back up. Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. Louise says:

    Brianna, this is quite the list. Lots of fabulous ideas. I love everything you write.

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