I am a great lover of notebooks. I have an entire drawer, plus a lot of desk space, dedicated to them. And I probably use a notebook a day.
I have written a diary since I was 8 years old and written stories since I was 6 years old so I was always buying and being gifted various notebooks of different shapes and sizes.
But I didn’t always use them for the same reasons.
I thought I would share some uses of notebooks, from the things I have used them for.
10 ways to use a notebook
As I said, I’ve had a diary since I was 8. At first, it was a tool to bitch about my sister, who I shared a room with and didn’t always get along with at that tender age. Of course, sharing a room meant that she knew about the diary and most likely read it. I read hers. Sorry, sis!
Each diary I used has varied until more recently. First off I used a crappy old, easily tearable, gift set diary with a hippo on it. Then I used a student planner kind of book from WH Smith which I used to take to school with me and let my friends read as I enjoyed the drama such a pathetic thing could incur – I was a bit of a dark soul child – then it became more personal and I wrote in prettier, neater looking books until finally settling upon Moleskine rip-off diaries from Sainsbury’s.
I don’t write every day – I am not that sort of person – but I like to imagine that one day my diaries will be important enough, for my ancestors or a historian – to look at and read and get an understanding of what life was like for a girl named Eleanor in the early 2000s and onwards.
Nearly all of my ‘friends’ (I use the term with difficulty) in secondary school were artists. My best friend – who really is my best friend – is an artist! And a wonderful one at that: you can visit her blog to see her artwork here! And I used to wish I were an artist too – just so I could hang out in the art rooms basically. But I wasn’t.
Art journaling – or mixed media journaling – is a form of art that is created using stamps and textures and paints etc. I was never any good at it but I used to really enjoy the art journalers on Youtube and attempting to do the same in my notebooks.
I loved Smash booking! Like most things, it appeared to peak and then swiftly decline but for a while about 2-3 years ago it was a large thing. You take the everyday things – receipts, train tickets, stamps, and cards and you ‘smash’ them i.e. glue stick them, into a journal. You could write notes about your day out with the tickets, or make a list of the things you bought with the receipt.
It was a standard, almost boring yet fun, account of life. I have several. One for each year of university – the fresher’s wristband, night out tickets, leaflets and various student ephemera and also others for holidays, trips and family.
An oldie but a goodie. Similar to diaries and smash books scrapbooks can be made in journals/notebooks too. I was never a fan of photo albums so much as I was of scrapbooks. They’re much more fun and creative – you can add ephemera also, quotes, and descriptions about things. A timeline of events of a holiday or an 18th birthday photo and stories collection.
To me, there are two types of dream journals. The first is a standard journal where you recount your latest dreams – like Stella Gibson off The Fall – or a dream journal of a collection of hopes and dreams. I have the latter.
In it, I have scrapbooked images out of magazines, books, and newspapers with hopes and dreams.
There is a writing page, a poetry page, a graduate page, a page about beauty etc. It is a creative physical account of my hopes and dreams which I occasionally dip in and out of.
I used to have a Wall of Weird in all of my university dorm rooms which held quotes, dreams, and images of things that inspired me or I loved, from my favourite chocolate bar wrapper to posts of possible futures! I’ve just moved these walls into a journal instead.
An easy one to realise. A planner made entirely to fit my personality and planning preferences. It is a great way to experiment and have fun, letting the creative juices flow. It is also a great way to get organised!
Notebooks are literally for notes. From To-Do lists, wish lists, brain dumps, and story ideas. I have a small yellow notebook by my bed ready for me to write in should I have a moment of writing genius, or I hear a quote or I think of something I need to do or buy in the morning! Very useful for catching those 2-second thoughts we all have.
For those more artistic people, notebooks are great for having around to doodle in! Whether you use it on a train, in a classroom, whilst waiting for a meeting or you’re bored at home. Sometimes all of us need that notebook that you can just go mad in and not give a damn if it doesn’t look pretty or aesthetically organised – no one has to see it!
As a writer, I have always had ideas floating about on little pieces of paper or in irregular notebooks. I finally bought one definitive ‘story notepad’ which holds quotes, story ideas, story changes, and character builds in one. It is great for forgetting about and picking up when the mood strikes me as it can really inspire me to write.
It is also great for taking out and about when you go on a day trip, in order to catch those idiosyncrasies and perfect one-liners you know you’ll forget before you get home!
One-Sentence a Day
You can buy £15 editions or make one yourself. A notebook is full of one-sentences describing your day. It doesn’t even have to be about your day, so long as you write one sentence a day.
I personally don’t have one as I don’t have the stamina or perseverance to complete one. I have my diary more for that anyway. But they are useful and also entirely fun! Particularly when you’ve written in them for months!
So there we have it! 10 different ways to use a notebook! There are plenty more but these are just 10 of the ways I have previously used a notebook before!
If you’ve got a bullet journal or a post on how you use your notebooks let me know! I’m a total sucker for stationery and writing!