Raise your hand if you have more than five empty notebooks languishing somewhere in your house.
Okay, now keep your hand up if you have 10 empty notebooks. 15?? 20? 25??? 5000??
You can put your hands down now (full disclosure, I never saw if your hands were up or down for obvious reasons).
Any decent person has at least 3 empty notebooks in their custody at any given time. For those of you who don’t have 3 empty notebooks, well, we still love you (for the most part…. most of the time).
Ahem. This post is for the decent people who find themselves with an abundance of empty notebooks.
Bullet Journal (aka: The Ultimate Journal).
This is an amazing journal to keep because you can use it in so many ways. A bullet journal can be your day planner, your calendar, your money tracker, your book tracker, and where you keep track of your favorite names (wait, you don’t compulsively collect the names you like???) all in one. That is why this is The Ultimate Journal. It can hold as much or as little as you want.
The devotions journal is another essential. This is where you can write down all your notes from your quiet time 1) to help process what you’re learning 2) to write down tangible application (aka: action you will take in light of your time in devotions) and 3) to revisit them later.
Favorite Quotes Journal.
Quotes are easy to like but difficult to keep track of if you don’t have a central place to keep them. Hence the favorite quotes journal. Find a quote you like, flip to a fresh page in this journal, and jot it down.
Cultivating a thankful heart goes a long way when it comes to discontentment, anxiety, and even depression, and one way to work towards being more intentionally grateful is to keep a journal filled with things you’re thankful for. Try to come up with a couple new things to put in this journal every morning, and it will slowly change your attitude.
Morning pages are supposed to be done right after you wake up in the morning. You tumble out of bed, grab a pen, and start scrawling. You’re supposed to write anything and everything that comes into your mind in an attempt to help you have greater focus throughout the day. Once you’ve scratched out three pages of stream-of-conscious thought, you set the pen down and begin your day. Personally, morning pages aren’t all that helpful for me, but they help Abbiee a lot, and so you should think about trying them out for a week.
When reading a book (especially nonfiction), it can be very helpful to journal as you go to help process all the information that you’re taking in, and a journal dedicated to such a practice is perfect.
This one’s good for people who like to be fit. If you bite it, you write it.
Writing Exercise Notebook.
No, not exercise like crunches or anything like that (I just wanted to clarify for those of us who are triggered by exercise). The writing exercises I’m talking about are free writing, answering a prompt, trying to rework a sentence, or any other writing related task given from a writing workbook/book on the craft. Instead of loose leaf pages floating around and piling up in awkward places, consolidate all your writing exercises to a single notebook.
This is for those of us who are learning a foreign language. If you don’t already keep a language journal, I don’t know how you survive. For me, keeping a language journal while taking Spanish helped me keep track of new rules, write down vocab to make into flashcards for later, conjugate verbs, etc.. So if you’re learning a new language, consider starting a language journal.
A discipleship journal is a tracker of sorts for people who are discipling other people. After the disciple-maker meets with the disciple, say for lunch, the disciple-maker jots down a few things: thoughts on the meeting in general, specific things to pray for the disciple, good questions to ask the disciple at the next casual meeting, and so on and so forth. If you’re serious about discipleship, you may want to think about starting a discipleship journal.
Okay, this is not a log really, but “Blog Log” sounds better than “Blog Journal” or “Blog Notebook” (guys, how it sounds is half the importance of the whole idea). Everything blog related goes in this notebook: long hand drafts of posts, ideas for future posts, schedule for posts, etc.. Of course, because I’m obsessed only mildly with this blog, I’ve had a blog log for quite some time.
Mind maps. I’m not sure if it’s one word or two, and they’re tricky things that I have yet to master BUT I’VE READ THAT THEY’RE SO HELPFUL. So go look them up and think about using one of your notebooks for mindmapping. (This point = perfect precision.)
If you have poetry skills–and maybe even if you don’t–put them to use in this journal.
Doodle Practice Notebook.
So you doodle professionally (be honest, it’s most likely for your bullet journal). Why not keep all your doodles (aka: bullet journal practice) in one place?
Mutual Love Note.
This is such a cute one for married couples! You exchange love notes in a journal that you swap back and forth, and it makes what’s called a Mutual Love Note.
Anything related to your novel goes in here: outline, character sketches, snippets of dialogue, etc.. If it pertains to your novel, it goes in here. This is helpful so that you aren’t digging around your desk for that scrap of napkin you wrote that piece of backstory on because it all goes in the novel notebook.
In the event that you are a slightly insane yet very swanky almost-human (aka: an author), you can choose to write your novel out by hand. With a pen. In a notebook. By hand. With a pen. By hand. Your whole novel. With a pen. In a notebook. By hand. I may be repeating things because I’m in awe of people who do this; namely you, Nadine Brandes.
Flash Fiction Journal.
Personally, I like to write out the first drafts of my flash fictions by hand. Keeping all these rough (very rough) draft flash fictions in a journal helps me know where to find them and somehow makes me feel like a genius (true story, kids, and it’s got nothing to do with the fact that my flash fiction journal is a blue notebook that has “Brilliant Ideas” emblazoned on the cover).
I wasn’t sure what to call this one. It’s the very base idea of a journal, the most fundamental kind that has ever been kept–a diary, a vault for memories made of paper and ink. You track history and emotion and upheaval and the daily grind in this bad boy. It is, perhaps, the first kind of journal.
Well, I’m going to abruptly and awkwardly end this post now with a misshapen bookend.
What do you usually use notebooks for? Do you have any empty ones lying around? Do you think you’ll use any of the ideas listed above?
P.S. – the amazing Kara Swanson is still accepting applications to the launch team for The Girl Who Could See!!! Go sign up and spread the word with me!
P.P.S. – who here noticed that I skipped #19?
P.P.P.S. – who here now feels like the title of this post is a misleading lie in light of the previous post script? And don’t raise your hand because we already went over the whole hand-raising thing not working at the beginning of this post.