Maybe it’s just me, but I have an inclination to buy cute journals and notebooks when I have literally no use for them at the time; I’ve also inherited some from my sister after she did the same. But it’s been my mission to use up all of the empty notebooks and sketchbooks I have lying around. I’ve made a rule that I’m not allowed to buy any new ones until every single page is filled, and then I can splurge again. Until then, here are some ways to fill up empty notebooks you may have lying around.
I don’t like calling it a diary because it makes me self conscious, but journaling is something that has gone a long way in making me feel sane. It’s a place where I can not only rant about the bad but revel in the good without feeling like a total asshole. It gives me a place to recount my day, or week (depending on when I write in it). When a week feels like it’s gone completely to hell, sometimes writing in my journal can help me remember good things that happened. It also feels nice to just rant sometimes when the anxiety is raging. I recommend everyone have a journal anyway, but it is a great way to fill up space in an empty notebook.
- A Monthly Intentions Journal
This is an idea I borrowed from Gen Padalecki (check her out on Instagram @genpadalecki or her blog, Now and Gen). Basically, you pick a couple of things you want to achieve each month and put the list on a nicely decorated page. Not only is it a to-do list of things you actually like, but it’s also a craft. This was the first month that I tried it, and I’m using an old sketchbook from my “I’m good at art” phase. It gives me a reason to make time for things that I love when I don’t always have time. On my list this month is to read for half an hour every day (whether school permits or not), and to finish crafting my Christmas presents.
- Song Book
This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as a songwriter, having everything compiled into one place is much more convenient for traveling or performances. You could also use it for poetry or writing stories, but for me, there’s something that makes me extra creative when writing with a pencil and paper. That’s not to knock the iPhone notes app, because inspiration has struck me while using that as well, but handwriting makes the personal process of songwriting even more so. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next Taylor Swift, so give it a shot!
- Gratitude Journal
Gratitude journals have become very popular recently, but I don’t have the money to spend on a legit one. It’s easy to make with an empty notebook, though. Every day, I try to write three things that I was grateful for. It’s not always easy and sometimes it’s like pulling teeth, but little things need appreciation too. I started doing this during quarantine because, after being locked inside for so long, I began to lose touch with what I was lucky to have. The gratitude journal allows me to connect with what I am lucky to have and experience, even if it is while I’m stuck in my house.
- A Shared Custody Journal
This one’s a little wackier. My friend Katia, who I’ve lived close to my entire life, has been one of the only people I’ve seen during quarantine. We sit on her sidewalk in campfire chairs about ten feet apart and just talk about life and the new shows we’re watching. One day, we started talking about how we wanted to take all these trips together once quarantine was over—as you do as broke, lonely college students. We started a journal that we trade every week, and with each trade, someone adds something new. So, we start with a place, then the next person adds something to do there, and after the second switch, maybe it’s somewhere to eat. After we’ve exhausted whatever place we chose, we’ll choose a new location and do the same. It’s fun because you can pick a huge city, or you can pick a small, funky town in the middle of nowhere. I know a ton of small towns in the U.S. now, and that’s knowledge that I probably never would have had without this journal.
These are just a few ideas for what to do with all of the empty journals that are probably shoved into random crevices of your room. Try a few, and create some weird uses of your own before spending money on that have-to-have journal from Barnes and Noble.