I have two problems:
- I love new notebooks and journals
- I run out of ideas for what to put in them as soon as I open to the first page
After some time brainstorming, I decided to make this list of ways to fill notebooks and journals so that way I never have this problem again. If you have the same problems as me, then this list should help you out too.
1. Write Down Some Inspiring Quotes + Why They Inspire You
You can’t write in a vacuum, and so you should always have some inspiration saved up for when you need it. One of the ways to do so is by writing down some of the quotes that inspire you.
These could be quotes about writing, quotes about art, or even quotes about day to day life.
You should also write down why specific quotes inspire you. This will help you remember what you were feeling when you first read that quote, which will give it even more meaning.
2. Draw or Doodle the Things You Want to Write About
Who says notebooks and journals have to be purely for writing? Drawing and doodling the things you want to write about can be just as effective, especially if you’re have difficulty capturing the words that represent what you see in your head.
Pictures and illustrations also have stories behind them, so why not get inspired by your own drawings and doodles?
If you’re not much of an artist, but you’ve seen pictures and illustrations that inspire you and give you story ideas, try making a few scribbly sketches to represent them. Just seeing those sketches should help your mind remember what inspired you.
3. Find a Writing Prompt and Write a Story Based on it
I love writing prompts! Whenever I’m stuck for a story idea (be it some scene dialogue or an entire novel’s concept), a writing prompt always helps me out.
To practice your writing skills, why not find a writing prompt and write a story based off of it. It doesn’t have to be a long story, it could just be a couple of pages if you prefer. It doesn’t even have to be a completed story, it could just be a scene between two unnamed characters!
The point of this exercise is to get you to practice your writing skills.
Don’t have any writing prompts? I have tons saved on my Pinterest account. Google can also be your friend here. Or you can check out #11.
4. Make a List of Your Favorite Words
Some words are beautiful and captivating, some words sing and dance. Which words do that is up to personal preference, although there does seem to be a pattern. For example, the common hatred of the word moist.
I don’t really understand the hatred for the word moist, since the first thing I think of when I hear that word is a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, but a lot of people have negative connotations associated with the word moist.
In fact, moist is one of my favorite words, because it so strongly reminds me of pastries and sweets, to the point where I can literally taste cake when hearing that word.
Make a list of your favorite words, and you might be surprised at some of the ones that come up. Maybe one of your favorite words is one that most people dislike?
5. Write a Poem
Even if you’re not a poet, or don’t read a lot of poetry, writing the occasional poem is a fun activity!
Put on some calming music, grab your favorite pen or pencil, and start writing about the themes that come to your mind. It doesn’t have to be profound or moving, a sweet and simple poem can be just as effective as one that has deeper meanings.
Most importantly, have fun with it! Don’t try to make it too perfect, unless that makes it even more entertaining for you. Just have fun getting lost in the words and sounds.
6. Make a List of Little Moments You Enjoy
When writing, I often like to throw in the little moments, feelings, and things that I enjoy. After all, some common writing advice is to write what you love.
So why not make a list of all those little moments, feelings, and things that you enjoy, so that you can later incorporate them into stories and scenes? It’ll also put you in a very positive mental state, and it’s a great way to relax.
Here are a few of my favorite moments, feelings, and things:
- The smell of smoke just after blowing out a scented candle
- The loss of lucidity as I fall asleep
- Seeing bumblebees weighing down flowers that are as big them
- The sounds of a cat purring
7. Write Down Any and All Ideas That You Have
I’ll probably be saying this until the day I die, but you should always write down the ideas that you have. Human minds are terrible at remembering things, and when we’re trying to actively remember ideas and tasks, we forget about what we’re doing in the present.
So grab a pen or pencil, and a notebook or journal, and keep them near you at all times. You never know when an idea might strike, so be ready for it.
8. Create a Story Based Around a Dream You Had
Unless you can somehow remember your dreams for hours after having them, the stories you write about your dreams will probably be rather strange, and for two reasons:
- Rationalizing dreams is difficult and takes a lot of time
- In order to write a story based off of your dreams, you’ll have to write them while you remember them, i.e. not too long after first waking up
Writing while half asleep and not entirely lucid always creates interesting results, so I would recommend trying it out sometime.
9. Write Down What Inspires You and Motivates You
In my opinion, writers (and many artists) are fueled by two things, inspiration and motivation. Maybe also caffeine, tea, or chocolate, depending on who you ask.
Writer’s block comes from a lack of inspiration and/or motivation, and so writing what inspires you and motivates you is a great way to prevent writer’s block. And you know what they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
If you’re not sure what inspires you, read this: How to Find Writing Inspiration
10. Fill it With Stickers and Pictures
Again, who says that notebooks and journals have to be filled with purely writing? Making a little gallery of stickers and pictures is loads of fun, especially if done on the first page.
Why on the first page, or first few pages? Because often those are the most intimidating parts of a notebook. Few things feel as bad as opening up a brand new notebook, only to feel as if the first page ruins the rest of the book because it isn’t perfect.
Filling the first page with stickers or pictures is a great way to prevent this feeling of imperfection, which will make it easier to fill in the rest of the notebook or journal.
As an added bonus, it’s always really fun to open something up and see a bunch of cute stickers or beautiful photos.
11. Compile a List of Writing Prompts
While you can find hundreds of thousands of writing prompts online, what are you going to do if the power’s out or the internet’s down? What will you do when you need inspiration and ideas, but you can’t access them because they’re online or on your computer?
You’ll look at the handy list of writing prompts that you wrote down, of course!
Having a list of writing prompts written down can also inspire you more, since they’re on a physical object that you can touch and manipulate, instead of just on a screen.
Keeping a physical list will also make those writing prompts easier to find, since you won’t have to go scrolling through a board that has hundreds of other writing prompts just to find that specific one that you half remember.
12. Keep Track of Your Writing Goals and Schedules
Goals are amazing and schedules help us to achieve those goals. But what good are goals and schedules if you can’t remember them? Writing down your goals, aspirations, and schedules will help you remember them in the future.
On top of that, writing down your goals and schedules also makes them feel all the more real, which will help motivate you to follow them through.
13. Find and Write Down Valuable Writing Advice
We could all use some advice, since none of us knows absolutely everything about writing and the world around us. So keep track of some important writing advice in your journal or notebook, especially if it’s something that you forget a lot of the time.
Keeping all of the writing advice you find useful in one place will also make it easier for you to reference those words of wisdom in the future.
What are some of your favorite ways to fill a notebook or journal? Let me know in the comments.
If you enjoyed this post, or found it helpful, please leave a like or share it on social media. It helps me out a lot.
I blog about creative writing on Wednesdays, so check back next week for some new content!