“What on earth would I do with a journal?”

What on earth would I do with a journal? Oh to have a penny for every time I've heard that, when the topic of journaling comes up! Does it take an inflated ego and a lot of spare time to journal? In my humble opinion, no. One can take great joy in writing about the "every day"…little things that can make life special. In only a few minutes a day you can record day to day events, what you ate for lunch, what movie you saw, what book you're reading – looking back on it can be a very enjoyable and enlightening experience! I'm particularly referring to tangible journals, bound books that you record your thoughts and life events in.

So do you have a blank book lying around? Don't know what to do with it? Well, here are some ideas to put that blank book to good use... let's start with the most obvious one:

Daily Diary – Chronicle daily thoughts and events; they're such fun to look back on. Things may seem boring and uninteresting now, but it's neat to look back on what you've written in a few years time to see how much has changed (and how much as stayed the same). Keep it in your bag to jot down things as the inspiration moves you. But what if you're not a daily record keeper?...

Recipe Book – A special place to keep treasured family recipes and 'foodie goodness', for generations to come

Photo Journal – Paste in photos that inspire you and/or are important to you, and write about them.

Family History/Genealogy – Turn a journal into a treasured family heirloom, passed down from one generation to the next.

Gratitude journal – Every day, write about things for which you are grateful...even just one thing, daily. Gratitude journals are used by individuals who wish to focus their attention on the positive things in their lives.

Book Log – Write about the books you're reading; discuss plot lines, characters. Praise the good reads and have fun throwing figurative tomatoes at the literary catastrophes!

Baby Book – A place to record baby’s firsts. Makes a beautiful family keepsake.

Friend Journal – Do you have a far away sweetheart, friend or loved one? Why not add your notes to each other to a journal instead of on a piece of paper, and send it to your friend…have them fill out their pages, and send it back…and do so continuously until the book is completed. By the time you're finished, you have a lovely bound collection of your correspondence with each other. (I wish I would have thought of this when hubby and I were dating, long distance!)

Guestbook – A book where friends/family write their name along with some fun notes about their time visiting with you; or of course a wedding or anniversary guestbook too!

Sketchbook – Self explanatory. Many enjoy doing a "sketch a day"… a journal’s a great place for that!

Travel Journal – Whether it be a short jaunt, day trip, or world excursion, write about it and include photos, ticket stubs, maps, etc… you'll cherish the memories and experience for years to come!

Gardener’s Journal – Everyone enjoys the rewards of a good harvest, but the careful planning of the garden and the satisfaction of watching each plant progress, are special joys savored by the gardener alone! A garden journal would be a great place to record gardening triumphs and occasional setbacks.

Wine Journal – What vintage? Was it a good year? Red, white, rose? Desert wine? What was it best paired with? Write it all down in your wine journal!

Bird Watcher Journal – What sort of bird was that? Write it down in a journal.

Fitness Journal – Whether your training for the next marathon, charting weight loss and exercise, or keeping a food log, this is a great way to keep on track and chart your progress!

Taking Notes – Meetings, conventions, or kept in your case/purse to jot down just about anything

Dream Diary – To be kept on your nightstand as a place to track your 'interesting' dreams!

Poetry/Quote Book – A place to collect poems or quotes you enjoy, or write your own.

Other Ideas – Film/movie log, pregnancy journal, small scrapbook, calligraphy book, ship's log

-Beverly Wong-Kleinjan, bookbinder

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