Ways to Fill a Blank Journal and Overcome "Journaling Fear"

This post contains affiliate links.  I will earn a small commission if you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you.

First I'll say I love journals. I've loved them since I was a teenager.  Back then, for me a journal was simply a place to write about what was going on in my life and save the occasional postcard or ticket stub.

Apparently, I was never at home back then.  Also, my friends and I walked everywhere. I don't remember most of the things I wrote about, so I'm glad the memories were written down.  Adolescent girls can be really dramatic.

Here's a line from the journal I kept when I was 15, after a trip to the mall with my friends. "We shopped around a while and kept going into the bathrooms to change our nail polish."  (How much nail polish did we buy??)

The memories of my teachers, friends, my immature behavior and silly quarrels -- all there.

Diary journals are wonderful, but notebooks can be used for so many other things too.  They can be lists, planners (bullet journals), and even pieces of art.

(I have more ideas for ways to fill your notebooks at the end of the post!)

This is the journal from my sophomore year of high school.

I also want my journals to be visual and fun,with hand lettering and colorful elements. (But, they don't have to be!  A journal can be simple or elaborate -- no rules!)

I love washi tape and stickers. I'm always trying to think of creative things to do in a journal and ways to use my journals.  My resolution this year is to actually do these things.

Ways to fill a blank journal ~ anartfulmom.com
Yes, those are llamas on the bottom right. 

In the recent past, I've had glorious intentions and have purchased multiple journals, but, sadly, most of them are still blank.

Why are they blank?  Because the pages aren't removable, and I'm afraid I'll make a "mistake."  Fear of journaling!  Silly, I know.  My plan for the new year is to use those journals, and quit worrying about "mistakes."   I've determined they will get used.

I found this Tul discbound notebook recently though. This one is the junior size (5 1/2 x 8 1/2,) but it also comes in a letter size.  It's different from my other journals, because the pages are removable.  I can remove pages or move them around.  Now we're talking!  The cover is leather, and it's so nice.  

The Tul notebook comes with lined paper, but there are several different kinds of refills available. Or you can pick up the Tul Discbound hole punch and use any kind of paper you want.  My paper preference is the HP Premium 32 paper, because it's super smooth (safe for my brush pens), acid free, and heavyweight. It's my go-to paper for brush lettering practice, journaling, etc.

There are many things to fill a notebook with!

Here are some ways to fill your blank journal:

Gratitude journal


Sketches and doodles



Lettering practice

Book log


Prayer Journal

Home decor journal



My plan is to overcome my fear of journaling and quit being a journal hoarder.

How do you use your journals?

Linking to:

Creatively Crafty at Try It, Like It

Home Matters at Life with Lorelai

SITS Saturday Sharefest

Sew It, Cook It, Craft It at Sew Historically

Thursday Favorite Things

Handmade Monday at Sum of Their Stories

Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy

Inspire Me Monday at Mostly Blogging


  1. I am a total journaling nerd, and I love this post. I kept a gratitude journal for 6 years, and am now transitioning into a "list journal." I think of topics I want to explore; e.g. What Does Love Look Like? or How Do You Define Satisfaction?" and just add to the lists as I think of things. It's kind of fun.

    1. Thanks Michele! I love the idea of a list journal. It sounds like so much fun and will be so much fun to look back on. My son does this a lot. He has so many wonderful lists! Thanks for visiting today!

  2. Pam, I only just saw this now. Yes, you've got to use those journals! Journaling is too good to miss out on because of fear. Have you kept up with it since?

    1. Hi Carin! I am trying to get into the journaling groove! I love having a journal with removable pages now!

  3. I've never taken to the beautiful journals that I see in stores. I write seriously, but I don't want anything that asks to look perfect--or even passable--once I'm done with it. I make a mess--notes, rewrite, rewrites of rewrites, endless crossing out.

    1. I understand, Ellen! My day to day planning notes are scribbles, and I do my serious writing on the computer. As a pen/stationery/artist/journal nerd, though, I am drawn to pretty journals for memories, quotes, lettering, etc. My perfectionist tendencies need to go though!


If this post has helped you, please share it! I also appreciate comments---They make my day! All comments are moderated by me, so they may not appear immediately.

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this site.

Thank you!

Back to Top