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Several Uses for Blank Books

When you initially begin to keep a journal, it may take some time to figure out which materials work for you. This is especially true when trying to decide which type of notebook to use. Through trial and error, you will discover what size book you prefer and whether or not you like lined or unlined paper, spiral-bound books or traditionally bound books, and so on. Unfortunately, you may end up with a stockpile of notebooks that you really can't use. They are so pretty that you don't want to throw them away, yet the idea of having to write in them all and use them all up is overwhelming. What can you do with all of those books? Here are a few ideas:

  • Start a tv journal. We all have shows that we watch religiously. Why not do your own episode synopses and provide witty comments for posterity? If you also tape your favorite shows, this would make a great companion notebook.
  • Do you like to write notes to yourself on Post-It® notes or other scraps of paper? Instead of throwing them out when you are done with them, tape them into a notebook - instant scrapbook and daily chronicle.
  • Start a pet journal. Dig out all of your pictures of Fido and put them in here. Jot down funny anecdotes (even the ones that weren't necessarily funny at the time). Write a few paragraphs about how your pet came into your life. To make the journal useful, list vet, groomer, and kennel numbers on the inside cover.
  • Keep a restaurant journal. Every time you dine out, note the name of the restaurant, the date and time that you went, and the people you went with. Describe what you ate, and whether or not you liked it. Some restaurants have business cards that you can attach to your journal. You might want to add a copy of your receipt. You can reserve a few pages in the front or back of the journal to list restaurants that you want to try.
  • Keep a diary of moments spent with a particular person and give it to them when it's full.
  • With a long-distance friend, keep a sort of round robin journal instead of writing letters.
  • Log books read, movies seen (or plays, concerts, operas, etc.) or jot down titles to read/see. In my film journal, I track: the movie title, the date and place viewed, the actors' and actresses' names, the directors' name, the film's category, a summary of the plot, my own comments, and my favorite line from the movie. In my book journal, I note the title, author, and copyright date; whether the book is paperback or hardcover; the number of pages; the date I began it and the date I finished it; and, my thoughts about the book. Lately, I have also written down the call number of books when I get them from the library, as well as the name of the branch I borrowed it from. This makes it easier when I want to check the book out again.
  • Keep a money journal. This could begin with financial affirmations (if you're into that sort of thing) or financial goals.
  • Keep a master (lifetime) to-do list. When you cross an item off of the list, be sure to add the date you completed it. This book could provide material for your regular journal.
  • Keep a home improvement project diary. Include before and after pictures as well as swatches and paint samples.
  • Keep a "trousseau" list. Make a list of every nice thing that you want to someday own, including quantities and patterns, where applicable.
  • Make your own cookbook. Write down recipes gleaned from the internet or the library or other sources into one notebook instead of printing them onto loose sheets of paper.
  • Start a dream journal.
  • Keep a prayer journal*.
  • If you like to work with essential oils, your could keep an aromatherapy notebook*. The same idea applies if you create your own beauty recipes or if you work with different herbs.
  • Keep a pregnancy journal* either for yourself or a friend or family member.
  • Create the ultimate address book*. Along with the standard address and phone number information, include things like birthdays, favorite colors, and gift ideas. You can add a photograph of each person or draw a picture of them yourself.
  • Keep a rant book. Reserve one notebook for times when you just need to let 'er rip.
  • If you entertain a lot, consider reviving the tradition of the guest book. Let friends and family members write messages to you.
  • Dedicate one book to your favorite holiday. Only use it at that specific time of year. Record thoughts, menus, and traditions, as well as ideas for next year.
  • Use the book as a place to test out new art supplies. Since it's not your "real" journal, it won't matter if it's full of nothing but scribbles. You might want to make a few notes about brand name, color, nib size, etc. beside each scribble.

When all else fails, remember that there is no reason why you cannot use a pretty book for your grocery lists, class notes, meeting notes, or any other kinds of notes. Why use a boring old steno pad if you don't have to?

*Idea contributed by a Purple Ink member.

Got a book with a cover you can't stand? Make a reusable fabric book cover.
Better still, make your own journal.

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