Writing Life/Productivity

Ways To Use Up Your Notebook Stash

Any writer worth their mettle has an odd array of notebooks purchased for one reason or another (and frequently a lack of one other than “it’s on sale” or “it looks nice”) and maybe a few pages get used for an initial purpose and then abandoned. But the notebook itself was a large enough price or is just too pretty looking to get rid of, plus that seems wasteful, so you end up with a stack of notebooks no longer completely bare of writing, but seemingly unworthy to be used for another purpose. And then the cycle continues.

They look so pretty! They feel so smooth! The blank pages call to you! But when you have a fair stack of empty or mostly empty notebooks, what can you do to put them to use?

  • Start a Morning Pages journal.
    Morning Pages are meant to be private and personal and messy. No one needs to see what you write in them, and you shouldn’t even feel obligated to go back and reread what you put in your Morning Pages. This has been my current use for my stack of unused notebooks and it’s been enormously helpful to me as a writer to see notebooks get filled with thoughts and brain dumps and stream of consciousness writing that helps me “unclog” my creativity at the start of the day.
  • Use it for a Bullet Journal.
    While a grid or dot journal is frequently the preferred choice for a BuJo, a lined journal works just as well when you’re keeping it simple and use it as a log of tasks and events and pieces of information you need to process. Pick a notebook with a fun cover and carry it around and make it your Bullet Journal to keep track of all the various things you encounter during the day.
  • Or a Diary!
    In a similar fashion, you can use up notebooks as good, old-fashioned diaries. What’s on your schedule today? What times are you accomplishing tasks? Who did you meet? Even if you don’t get creative with the contents of your diary, the process of writing down all the things you do in a methodical manner, or run-through at the end of the day, can be delightful when looking back and seeing all the things you were able to do and how productive you were. And you never know… some future historian may find your mundane details of extreme interest!
  • Keep a Tracker.
    There are so many things a person can find to track. Some of them are more helpful in the short term, but some might be useful for long term. Maybe you want to track certain habits, and each page can be a day’s worth of habits you’re tracking, or a week’s worth. Maybe you want to track the time you spend performing certain tasks so you know where your time is going. Maybe you want to track your food and water intake so you’re more aware of what you’re putting in your body.
  • Write a Memory Book.
    We all have stories to tell, and keeping them together could make a wonderful keepsake to pass on or have for yourself. Tell your favorite life events or use prompts from online to write down these stories, maybe add sketches or photos or ephemera from those events.
  • Start a spiritual practice.
    I see all the time people keeping a Bible study journal, a prayer journal, a meditation journal, a tarot journal… spirituality is a wonderful aspect of life to develop, and you can use one of your notebooks to help plan and track and remember your spiritual journey. What is your connection to the greater universe? Write it down!
  • Keep all your reviews.
    Do you like writing book reviews? Do you want to remember what food your ordered at a favorite restaurant? Do you feel very strongly about a movie franchise and want to keep your thoughts together? This is another great way to use up a notebook full of your thoughts and creativity.
  • Start an Everyday/Commonplace Notebook.
    We all find quotes we enjoy in the books and articles we read, and having a go-to place to have them can make it all the more satisfying to gather them together and review them at your leisure.

Take that stack of unused notebooks and start giving them purpose!

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