How to Start a Writer's Notebook

How to start a writer's notebook and some ideas to help you start filling it.
How to start a writer's notebook and some ideas to help you start filling it. | Source

I have a notebook obsession. I love those diaries with the cute little locks, I love leather bound journals, I love Moleskines, I love compositions. I have so many notebooks. Then everyone found out I love notebooks so they started giving me journals as birthday presents.

What's a girl to do with so many notebooks?

I like to give each notebook a purpose so I can most inefficiently use them all at once. That's right, inefficiently. That means I use the first couple pages and then forget it exists. Then I have to carefully tear those pages out so I can use it for another purpose but then it's not new anymore and it makes me a little sad.

What is a Writer's Notebook?

A writer's notebook is where a writer keeps inspirational things in case they get stuck. Keeping stuff in a notebook means you aren't going to get sucked into the abyss of Facebook or Reddit or Pinterest or any of the other black holes on the internet.

Or when the internet goes down so you have nothing to do but write but you find all of your prompts on twitter. This way it's all written down when you need it.

Step 1: Grab a Notebook, or Journal, or DIary

A few of my many notebooks.
A few of my many notebooks.

Step 2: Put stuff that you love in it.

Seriously, anything that you love or that inspires you goes in here. Don't just put it in because it's cute or fun to look at, put it in because it makes you think, and gets your brain moving.

I'm a writer so my mind is drawn to the more writerly inspirations. But this works for anybody in any field.

This is just a few of the things you could include in your journal.

  • Lists
  • Ideas
  • Dreams
  • Memories
  • Stories
  • Occurrences
  • Quotes
  • Song Lyrics
  • Poems
  • Inspirations
  • Doodles
  • Pictures
  • Lies
  • Overheard Conversations

Where to Start

I recommend starting with a list of "100 Things that Make You Happy (Besides Money)." This is a really great first list because it makes you happy. Then whenever you look in your writer's notebook you are reminded of all of the things and people that you like.

When you get a little stuck about what to write about just pick something off the list and write about why you like it so much. Coffee and Cats are on my list. I could write a bunch of stuff about why I like them.

You want to do this exercise all in one sitting. It really lets you dig deep about things that create happiness. It lets you see patterns in your own thinking.

You're not ranking how happy certain things make you. You're just listing them. If you forget to list baking until the very end and you're a baker it's no big deal.

Create a Wall of Encouragement

Take your happiness page a step further by creating a Wall of Encouragement. Dedicate a page to all of the people who have helped you along your creative journey. Is it your aunt who messages you on facebook, a particular teacher, a coworker.

If there's any specific compliments that you remember write them down. If you're ever doubting your ability you just have to look at this page and all of the people who support you.

More on Lists

Lists are a great way to organize your thoughts and get things out of your head. Here are some great lists to include and work on when you don't feel like working on anything else.

  • Things That Make Me Happy
  • Mental Images From My Childhood
  • Jobs I’ve Had
  • What My Summers Have Consisted Of
  • Sports, Hobbies, Activities, and Clubs
  • Trips, Journeys, and Adventures
  • Secret Places Only I Know About
  • Things I Believe In
  • Lessons I Have Learned
  • Things That Make Me Laugh
  • Things That Make Me Cry
  • Ways I Can Help Others
  • My Accomplishments
  • Places I Would Like to Visit
  • Things I Carry With Me at All Times
  • Things I Would Like to Carry With Me at All Times
  • Expectations I Have For Myself
  • Things I Do Well
  • Things I Love/Hate About My Family
  • Beautiful Things
  • Good Book I have Read
  • Fun Things to Do
  • Special People In My Life
  • My Skills
  • Hopes for the Future
  • Things I’m Afraid Of
  • Things to Do Before I Die

What are Your Favorite Things to Include in Your Journal?

Let me know in the comments.

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Comments 7 comments

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

Some great ideas, here. Inspiration for "what to write next" is found in so many places...overheard conversations...LOL I like that one... I've "filled in the gaps" in my head so many times from snatches I've overheard in the grocery store. ;-) Next time, maybe I should set it to paper.

Oh--a fun thing to do with overheard bits--is to combine several from various sources, and try to make them work as a sentence or a story. ;-) We used to do that as an exercise in the comedy improv troupe I used to belong to.

Another trick I learned years back, for days when you're blocked, depressed, or just feeling uninspired, is to keep a "me" book. (This could easily go in such a journal as you suggest.) In it, are written out all the compliments people have ever paid you, that made you feel "job well done," or just gave you a nice glow. Record the date, who said it, and about what. Read it over when you're bummed out about something.

Loved the ideas! Voted up, interesting, useful and shared.

Akarime31 profile image

Akarime31 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Love this hub! I've had a journal since I was in high school but I haven't finished filling it up yet. I like putting poems, quotes, and pictures that inspire me.

LetitiaFT profile image

LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

This is wonderful. I see another Julia Cameron in the making here!

Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

Love the idea ... I 've always kept a notebook full of ideas as inspiration can strike anywhere. Your handy hints like making a list, using 'if I were' scenarios and writing a 'wall of encouragement' are interesting and innovative. Thanks for sharing, no chance - I think there's every chance that your creativity will take you to high places! BW.

Teresa Coppens profile image

Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

This is a really simple but useful idea for writers of all genres. You have inspired me to start one for myself!

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

This is a lovely idea and way to keep your private thoughts. I find that writing adds to my peace of mind. When you put something down on paper you no longer have to think about it..Lovely journal. Voted UP.

rachel santheep 13 days ago

Thanks,this is a very good article, it helps me a lot

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