10 Ways to Use a Journal

10 Ways to Use a Journal

Katie Livermore

To all my writers, artists, readers, and poets galore; this post is for you. This is for that moment when you’re roped into the journal section and purchase yet another notebook. You might plan to “fill it up with a new idea you just thought of,” take it home and set it on the shelf, but then it sits there for weeks, that turn into months, and finally, a new layer of dust. If this sounds like you, I’m with you. I am you. So, let’s brush off the dust and put these journals to use!


  • Create a Scrapbook.

We all have little things we collect: movie tickets, notes passed in class, sticky notes left by sweet roommates, and polaroid pictures. Where better to keep them than in a cute scrapbook? It’ll always be ready to flip through in an organized manner for you to relive your fond memories.


  • Make it Your Dream Journal.

This idea could go one of two ways: It could be a journal where you write your lifelong dreams–as artists, we have a lot of these–or it could simply be a place to jot down your nightly dreams when you wake up in the morning. Any of these dreams are fun to look at when you lay them on the page, especially as you grow older and can look back at your progress and past thoughts.


  • Designate a Travel Journal.

This is by far my favorite–and most trustworthy–use of my journals. When I was about 13 years old, I went on a trip with my mom, aunt, and cousin. My aunt bought all four of us notebooks to write in, and I’ve carried them with me on every trip ever since. I love reliving past adventures, and it’s a great way to pass the time on flights, train rides, and road trips.


  • Transform Your Journal into a Planner.

If you love organizing but don’t love your life laid out for you–or the expenses–of a regular planner, transform one of your journals into a planner of your own creation. If you’re like me, it’s nearly impossible to find a planner that accommodates my life the way I like it to. 


  • Write a Sentence a Day.

Not everyone is up for this task, but if you’re a creature of habit this might be an option for you. Every day, challenge yourself to write a sentence. Sum up the events that happened, create your favorite poetic sentence, and scribble down what you’re grateful for.


  • Write Letters and Don’t Send Them.

This one reminds me of a To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before moment. Writing what you’d want to say to someone down in letter form is healing; while you’re not saying the words aloud, sometimes it’s vital to write down how we feel in order to realize what we’re feeling. Just be careful not to let it fall into the hands of your little sister…


  • Doodle-by-the-phone Notebook.

When I’m talking to someone on the phone, my hands instantly start sketching eyeballs and faces and little cursive letters on whatever paper I find nearby. If there’s a spot you usually take your calls, facetimes, or zoom meetings, have your Doodle-by-the-phone Notebook at the ready!


  • Learn-a-Language Book.

This is an option that actually proved very useful for me during my senior year of high school. It had been a long quarantine without Spanish, and I was about to enter my fifth-year Spanish class and had forgotten a lot. I took an old notebook and began reviewing, relearning the tenses and verbs and vocabulary words. You can make it pretty, colorful, or plain, but either way you’re learning!


  • Make a Morning Diary.

Mornings can be tough–especially Mondays. When you first wake up, scribble some thoughts on the page and go about your day. What are your goals? What fear do you hope to overcome? Review it before you go to bed.


  • Affirmations

As artists, we’re constantly chasing our dreams, and it can be tiring. Write kind notes to yourself, positive quotes, and other things you’ve accomplished so far; it’s important to recognize what we’ve accomplished on the way to our bigger dreams. 


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