Journals or blank books can be used for more than just a personal diary. I love buying beautiful journals and notebooks, but I end up with more than I actually use for journaling. I have discovered many different uses for my journals, both for myself and as gifts. Of course, I still love them just for old-fashioned writing down of my thoughts. However, in this age of social media, I fear that the practice of writing in a journal may disappear. I hope not. It is so much more meaningful to write your personal thoughts down in a permanent place instead of on your ever-changing Facebook wall. Here are some other ideas for blank journals, aside from the traditional daily diary.
You do not have to be an artist to keep an art journal. An art journal is simply a journal that includes pictures along with, or in place of, your written notes. It is a combination of sketchbook, diary, and scrapbook. It is creatively liberating to keep an art journal with no rules. Paste in ticket stubs from a movie, write your thoughts, draw a picture, clip in even mundane mementos like your grocery receipts. Think about how interesting it would be, years from now, looking back on a journal of your life will all of these artifacts included. It would also be something great to share with your children. I love these sketchbooks by Sarah Griffin. They have large, blank pages and are hardbound, so they are durable and elegant.
2. Gift Art Journal
Make an art journal for someone else! Get a blank book or journal, and fill it with pictures, sketches, words, and mementos about someone you love. You could make it about a specific event, such as a journal for your daughter about her first season of soccer, or about an entire time period such as your first year of marriage to your spouse. This is a thoughtful gift that your loved ones will appreciate and cherish. This blank page notebook by MoMA is a classy choice for this gift and even comes with a hidden pencil!
I use my iPad and my iPhone for just about everything. However, I still like to have a “hard copy” of my important information. A fun way to keep everything in one place is to make yourself a tabbed book. Get a notebook or journal, and some sticky notes or page flags. Divide the book up into sections using the tabs. Your tabs can include things like online passwords and usernames, phone numbers (what if your phone dies and you lose your contacts!), to-do list, emergency info, important dates, and whatever else you need to keep track of. I like this spiral journal by Kate Spade for this purpose.
For a group journal, you have everyone close to the recipient contribute to the journal. For example, if you are giving a gift to a retiring coworker, you would have everyone in the office write a page about that person. They could write a memory, write advice, draw or paste in a picture, or whatever they want to share with that person. It is also a great gift for a family member. For example, I made one for my mother in which I had my nephews answer questions about “Grandma D.” The questions were things like “What is your favorite place to go with Grandma?” I wrote down their answers, and they drew pictures. It makes a lovely keepsake gift. I like these spirals by PAPAYA! for this project. The spiral binding makes it easy to paste things in without making the book too bulky. The pages are also different colors and patterns inside, which adds some interest to the pages. They also have matching sticky notes that you can use to embellish the pages.
I used a blank journal to plan my wedding. I could have used my iPad for everything, but I wanted a keepsake. You can use pretty page flags or sticky notes as dividers to create sections for possible vendors, venues, dresses, and more. You can paste in pictures from wedding magazines and dress catalogs. This Anna Griffin Pink Journal is perfect, and matching sticky notes are available. This is a lovely gift idea for a bride-to-be or shower.
There is no need to carry around a bulky travel guide for each destination. Instead, create your own personal travel planner and journal. Again, use tabs or sticky notes to make sections. Make one section for general information you need for each trip such as a packing list, emergency information, copies of your passport, etc. The next section can be for itineraries and reservation information. Another section can be for lists of things to do, restaurants you want to try, maps, and people to contact. The last section can be where you write down your memories of the trip and paste in pictures. This owl journal is perfect, and matching page flags are also available.
Why take notes in a boring spiral when you can use a fabulous journal? This set of four journals by Anna Griffin are a unique way to store your knowledge. You can use one for each subject, or use all four for different aspects of one subject. Learning a new language? Use one for vocabulary lists, one for practicing writing sentences, one for writing down conversations, and another to write grammar rules. Learning how to cook? Use a journal for ideas, techniques, and recipes. Taking a history class? Use one for lecture notes, one for notes from your textbook, and another for your research. Using a journal will also give you a nice keepsake of your educational journey.
8. Love Notes Journal
Another lovely idea is to use a blank journal for you and your significant other to write to each other. You could leave it in a common place in your home, and write in it daily, or whenever you feel like it. Sometimes it is easier to say things in writing than aloud, so this is a way to communicate in a different way. You will also end up with a nice record of your thoughts and feelings. This green Kate Spade journal that says, “A Penny for your Thoughts” on the cover is perfect for this endeavor.
Instead of giving someone a blank journal, give them a journal in which you have added questions and prompts for them to write about. Make sure, of course, that the recipient is interested in writing a journal. You wouldn’t want it to seem like you are giving them an assignment! You could give a journal to your mother, for example, in which you write a question on each page. The questions could be about her memories from childhood, her opinions, or really anything you might like to know. She has then created, with your help, a mini auto-biography that could be kept and handed down to the next generation. A nice, hard-bound journal like this black and white one by Anna Griffin is a good choice for this.
10. Bucket List
Don’t keep your list of all of the things you want to do with your life on scraps of paper! Your life goals and dreams deserve to be kept in a beautiful place. This Kate Spade journal that says “Eat Cake for Breakfast” on the front seems made just for this type of journal. It has attached colored ribbons to use as bookmarks. List one item from your list on each page. When you complete an item, write on that page about the experience and list the date. This is a tribute to your accomplishments that you can keep forever.
What ideas do you have for a blank book or journal? Let us know in the comments. Of course, all of these journals are available on UrbanGirl.com.