10+ Ways to Fill a Notebook {Notebook Tours}

Hello, dears!

I hope you’re all staying healthy and having a good quarantine. πŸ™‚ Today I thought it would be fun to collect most of my notebooks currently in use and give you guys a mini tour of them. Just in case you’re bored and need creative ideas of what to do, for instance. πŸ˜‰

If you’ve ever wondered how to fill an empty notebook, sketchbook, or journal, keep reading! Here are over ten ideas that I use and enjoy myself.

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1. The “Everything” Notebook

Take away all the pressure of making something beautiful and just MAKE something. Throw all your ideas at these pages – sketch ideas, random thoughts, paint splatters, pen tests… 

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This is becoming one of my favorite notebooks to use because there’s absolutely no pressure attached. This “brainstorm notebook” is meant to be scrappy and messy and unfinished, not a beautiful, finished sketchbook to post to Instagram. It doesn’t have especially thick or luxurious pages, and that’s what you want. Choose a notebook that isn’t “precious,” or maybe an old one that still has some blank pages. Decorate it with stickers that make you happy, and create without limits.

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2. A Collection of Quotes

Keep a pretty notebook or journal handy to record your favorite quotes or lyrics. 

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This one is pretty classic, but I really like having a quote book – especially when I don’t have to for school πŸ˜› I keep mine on my desk so I have it have it ready when I read or listen to music or sermons. That way I can refer to this book when I need a quote to letter (or include in a letter).

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3. Letter-Writing Notebook

Have a dedicated notebook for writing letters in so your “stationery” will be consistent and easy to grab, plus more portable than loose-leaf pages. 

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This notebook I was gifted is perfect for writing letters since it has lined, perforated pages, and a pocket in the beginning to hold the letter I’m replying to. I really like how it keeps my letter-writing more contained and easy to grab!

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4. Short Story Notebook

Write concepts, first drafts, or whole short stories all in one notebook.

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Sometimes a short story idea strikes me and I want to write it down, but I don’t really feel like opening my computer and staring at a Word doc. My thoughts often flow better on paper, you know? So I’ve started writing a few short stories in this pretty, lined notebook. I may transpose them to my blog eventually. πŸ™‚

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5. Long Story Notebook

Planning a full-length story or novel? Keep all your notes, outlines, character sketches, and research in one book. Or write the whole first draft on paper!

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I’m using this one for a story idea I’ve had for literally five years, but I’m not sure if I’ll actually go all the way through with it. πŸ˜› I like the idea of having a first draft, at least, as a physical copy. Since this notebook is hardcover and has a ton of pages, I thought it would be perfect for writing a whole book in!

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6. Bullet Journal

Keep your life organized with one notebook for all your to-do lists, schedules, and goals.

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I’m sure you’ve probably heard of bullet journaling by now, but if not, check out my bujo posts (like this one) for more inspiration. I use mine to organize my life and schedule with habit trackers, to-do lists, calendars, and goals.

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7. Poem Notebook

Fill a notebook with your own poems or songwriting. Somehow writing on paper makes the creativity flow better.

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(Get the elephant sticker here on my shop. πŸ˜‰ ) If you’ve followed my blog for a little while, you probably know that I love writing poetry and have self-published two poetry books, Spark and Unfurling. I almost always write my poems on paper first. The pen gliding across the paper is inspiring in itself. ❀

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8. Prayer Journal

Write down your own prayers or prayers for others. It helps focus your mind and allows you to look back on God’s grace and faithfulness.

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I don’t write in this one a lot since I have a simpler “prayer journal” section in my bullet journal, but I use this notebook when I want to talk about some bigger issue, when I have something I’m thankful for or struggling with that I’ve been thinking about for a while and want to get out of my head. I love praying on paper; I can think so much more clearly.

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9. Bible Journal

Take notes on your Bible readings or write/letter your favorite verse from that passage or chapter.

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I’ve been doing this for I think about three years now? Whenever I read the next chapter, I letter my favorite verse in this book. I’ve completed quite a few notebooks so far and I love being able to look back and see all the beautiful verses I’ve read! Sometimes my lettering is interesting or elaborate, and sometimes it’s pretty messy or simple. Click here to see a sample of my Bible journaling.

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10. Line-a-day Book

Somewhere between a diary and a gratitude journal, this book lets you look back on the highlights and lowlights of your days across the span of five years.

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I was also gifted this one, and think it’s such a neat idea! It has space to write down the highlight or short summary of your day every day for five years, so you can compare what you did across time and how you’re growing. I love this gorgeous, pre-made book, but if you don’t have one you could make your own by getting a big notebook and leaving space for five entries on each page.

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11. Watercolor Sketchbook

If you’re interested in watercolor, I highly recommend using a media-specific sketchbook for your paintings instead of a mixed-media one.

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These last two are technically sketchooks and not notebooks, but I wanted to include them because – well, I use them a lot! This first notebook is from Arteza and has thick paper specifically made for watercolor and wet media (my favorite).

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12. Illo Sketchbook

A versatile and fun-to-use sketchbook with a unique shape and luxurious design.

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I love the unusual format and luxurious design of this sketchbook! I’ve decorated the cover and turned it into kind of a “portfolio” of pieces that (at least in theory) I will be proud of. I kinda use the everything notebook for trash sketches, my watercolor sketchbook for most art, and this for my favorite concepts, or sometimes just nice, dry media art that wouldn’t work as well on the watercolor paper.

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So there’s a tour of the notebooks I use today! I actually have more than this – for instance: two sketchbooks I use for the two respective art classes I teach – but I figured twelve ideas was enough for one post. πŸ˜› I hope you enjoyed this and found some inspiration for your own notebooks! If you liked this post, here’s an image to pin for future reference. πŸ™‚

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What different notebooks do YOU have? Which of these notebook ideas were your favorite? 

Thanks so much for reading, dears, and have a lovely day!

***Allison***

P. S. Photos taken with my Nikon D3400 and a 35mm lens. Edited with picmonkey.com.

95 thoughts on “10+ Ways to Fill a Notebook {Notebook Tours}

  1. Ohh! These are all wonderful ideas! I shall have to try some out! πŸ˜€ Where did you get the first notebook? πŸ™‚ Awesome post!

    -Laura ❀ πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, thank you! Let’s see, I got the first notebook (you mean the everything notebook?) at Christmas from my parents. πŸ™‚ It’s really nice! And yay, I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this! It’s always hard to find a way to use a perfectly good notebookβ€”but this list is great! I actually have many of the same types, and it’s nice to have them organized in such a tidy way. I also have the exact olive/floral notebook! It was gifted to me, and I love how aesthetic it is. Great post! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the “quotebook” and letter-writing notebook ideas. The only notebooks I ever remember filling out all of the way are my old journals. I do lots of sporadic story and poem writing, but most of it is on loose paper which I gather into a folder. Now I’m gonna have to get more notebooks! XD

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love it! These are all great ideas. I’ve seen the one line a day journal. Looks fun! I might have to try it. Also, what art supply did you use for the Illo illustrations on the left? Posca pens? It looks interesting! You do such beautiful work ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, dear! YES, I really like the line-a-day journal, especially if you don’t record your days any other way currently. Let’s see… yes, so for one picture (the purple girl πŸ˜› ), I used gouache, and for the sunset and tree picture I used Posca pens. Illo paper is PERFECT for Posca pens, so that’s mainly where I use them. And thank you so much again – I appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Allison, this is impressive! I have been journaling for over two years now without missing a day – and have found it to be relaxing and eye-opening in certain situations. I also have a sketchbook, a to-do list notebook and a rough book to jot down thoughts/notes through the day. I love that you have organized and compartmentalized your interests so well. And good to know that you are such a skilled artist πŸ™‚ have a good and safe weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well thanks! And my, that’s impressive too! I love journaling as well. Those are great notebooks to have! Also thank you for the kind words. ❀ I hope you stay safe and well this weekend too!

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  6. These are great ideas, Allison! I have so many notebooks that are empty, it’s not even funny. πŸ˜€ I like pretty notebooks and buy them at random if the price is reasonable! I did not know what I wanted to use them for, so I may try these ideas! Currently, I have a prayer journal and I recently started a Bible journal. It helps me to get my thoughts out during my quiet time! After reading your post, I think I want to start a Collection of Quotes journal and a Letter Writing journal (pen-paling is so much fun!). I think this will be a fun note-booking journey!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahh, thanks! HAHA, I know the feeling! I literally got like ten notebooks last Christmas alone. O.o But it’s great! Well yay, I’m glad this was helpful! Prayer and Bible journals are both wonderful and helpful thinigs to have. *nods* That made me smile. Thank you for the comment, dear!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yay! Notebooks, some of my favorite things!!!! Many of those fit all the ones I have ;). I think perhaps the only ones I don’t have so far are the letter-writing one (sadly I don’t write that many letters :/ ), the bullet journal, and the Illo sketchbook (I do have countless sketchbooks, just not that kind). This was a great post! :DDD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAY IT’S ELLIE. I’m not sure which Ellie this is but I believe I know you. XD So anyway, that’s great! (*sniff about not writing letters*) Ooh, bujos are great for planning stuff. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, my friend! Thanks for commenting. πŸ™‚

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  8. Oh I love these! I’m so glad to have stumbled upon your page πŸ’š. I have a Bible journey and a beautiful handmade leather-bound journal (Christmas gift) that I write daily thoughts. I have another hodgepodge journal with travel routes/memories. But I love love love all your journal idea! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love your handwriting, it s soo pretty! I don’t know if you have this trait, but like each time I get a pretty notebook, I kinda don’t want to use it, I feel a bit stingy! Due to this I have plenty of notebooks idling in my cupboard!:) I should really start putting them to use.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww, well thanks. YES, I totally know what you’re talking about – I feel the same way! Like I’m too afraid to mess up its beauty. πŸ˜› But eventually I decided I would enjoy them more if I used them, even if I make a few mistakes, than if I hide them somewhere I never see, collecting dust. πŸ˜‰

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  10. Love these ideas! I have a small obsession with notebooks. I have a prayer journal, a journal journal, a short stories of growing up notebook, a notebook with random information about my currant WIPs, an unsent letters notebook, an art notebook, and I probably have more. Most of these I am not using currently because I had to box them up and put them in storage while living overseas. I really want to start a quotes notebook because I read so much.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I forgot, I also keep a thanksgiving journal, which I highly recommend. I started it years ago and I don’t always write in it, but I often pull it out when I’m having a particularly rough day or season of life. It really does make a difference. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh that’s such a lovely idea! ❀ I don't have a dedicated thanksgiving journal, but I do have a page in my bullet journal where I write down one thing I'm grateful for every day. And yes, I absolutely love it.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Such great ideas!! I LOVE collecting notebooks, of all kinds, and I love putting ink to paper whether it’s doodling or writing. My only hangup is that I don’t do it often enough so that when I do get the urge (or find the time), I get intimidated and kind of freeze, then end up doing nothing. But this totally inspires me to just DO it! I know it will get better over time πŸ™‚

    What type of paint/pen did you use for the cover of #12, the Illo sketchbook? It looks like paint but, maybe chalk? I love it!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank youuu! Ha ha, SAME. Aww, that’s too bad – I know the feeling, though. In that case, I recommend starting with an “everything” notebook that you’re not afraid to mess up, and if you do mess up, you can call it a practice run, throw it away, and start over. πŸ™‚ EXACTLY! Honestly, I encourage you to keep your mistakes because it’s really neat to look back at old journals and see how far you’ve come!
      I used acrylic paint for the sketchbook cover; it worked really well. Thank you so much!

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  12. Just the rough one usually but not now. Now I have started writing a journal. I have always meant to do it and now in my older years under lockdown due to coronavirus I thought it may be a good time to start. Some of my writing friends are also doing it. We should have a good archive of this crisis between us.

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    1. Oh that is wonderful! I think it’s lovely that you are writing down your thoughts during this time because yes, what a strange, strange time this is. I hope you stay healthy, Elaine. ❀

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  13. Allison! THIS WAS AN AWESOME blog post! LOVED IT! πŸ˜€ My faves were the “everything” notebook, the “Bible” notebook, and the “watercolor” notebook! πŸ™‚ SO AWESOME! I am hoping to do some more watercolor paintings soon! I’ll send some pics your way! πŸ™‚ hehe! Thanks again!

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  14. I love the line-a-day notebook idea! I have something quite similar, called ‘Question a day’ and I can fill it over the course of 5 years. I’m on my 2nd year of writing in it now, and it’s fun to see how much (or little) I’ve changed πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I love all your journals! I think a quote journal is a great idea. I had never thought of that before. A prayer journal really helps me because it helps me stay on track. My mind tends to wander otherwise. πŸ˜›
    Your lettering and art are also beautiful!! You’re very talented! πŸ™‚
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love this! These are great ideas and I would love to create an “everything” notebook. πŸ™‚ I also think a quote notebook is lovely, and I’d like to try that someday (when I have a bit more time). This spring I actually started keeping a diary again. It has different sections, including daily reflections, prayer, Bible verses, goals and dreams, etc., and I really like the format. I also have a prayer notebook, which is quite useful, and also it is falling apart from so much use. Thanks for the inspiration, Allison! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yayyy! Yes, I QUITE enjoy that one. Oh, how lovely that you’re keeping a diary! That sounds amazing. And so does your prayer notebook! Thanks for sharing those ideas, and I’m so glad this post was helpful!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. See, the problem with me is that I hoard notebooks but they’re not empty – they’re half-used with useless stuff XD and then I realized that they’re useless and wish I had done something else with them but now because they’re half-used I can’t πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH DEAR. How tragic. *shakes head* But yeah, I know the feeling. Buuuut, you can either 1) make a tab to stick to the good part of the book so you can flip there and use it anyway, 2) tear or cut out the already used pages, 3) use that to your advantage for an everything notebook to fill with more useless but fun doodles and writing and not feel bad about it! πŸ˜› Heh heh.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. These journals and the artwork and lettering you shared with us were all so beautiful!! I loved the stickers and journals.
    I love journaling and I have about 2-5 notebooks plus my planner that I use.
    Thank you so much friend for this great post! πŸ˜€
    *hugs!!
    -kaelyn πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure friend and yes, it is!! πŸ˜€ And of course, sis!! You always have such great,creative, and well-written posts! πŸ˜€
        *hugs!
        -kaelyn πŸ˜›

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  19. Wow you are so amazing at painting … I stared at every painting/scrap of handwriting and thought “pro!”
    Great ideas, I love journaling! (and nice article and BEAUTIFUL photography!)
    ~Makaylajesalyn

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  20. I have 5 to 6 notebooks and in each one of them I have used first few pages, either for short notes, calculations, school work or comics. I can’t use all of them for an β€˜everything’ notebook. In one notebook, there were less used pages and so I cut them carefully and used the rest for a quote book. What to to with other books? I don’t want to keep cutting pages. How can I use them in the BEST creative way?

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    1. Ah okay, gotcha. So you have several notebooks still left and you want to cover up the used pages instead of cutting them out? Let’s see. Here are a few ideas…
      1. Make a collage/inspiration book by collecting your favorite artwork, photos, or aesthetic pictures from magazines. Add some pretty paper, washi tape, etc., and glue them on top of the already used pages, covering up the notes with something pretty. A fun idea would be to make each page a different theme (plants, food, the color purple, etc.).
      2. Depending on the thickness of your paper, you can paint over the notes with acrylic paint or gesso and then draw or paint over top. I think it looks neat to paint with a dark color, like navy blue, and then doodle or write on top with white gel pen.
      3. Make “blackout poems” by painting/coloring over all of the words except the ones you want to use to tell a story or write a poem. You can find lots of inspiration on Pinterest by searching “blackout poetry.”
      4. Similar to #1, you can create what’s called a “junk journal” by collecting photos, paper, tickets or pamphlets, and other pieces of your life into an interesting scrapbook of your life. I recommend Johanna Clough’s channel on YouTube for more inspiration on this.
      That’s all the ideas I have for now – I hope that helped! Have fun creating. πŸ™‚

      Like

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