3 Tips for Starting a New Notebook (Author Toolbox)

I don’t know about you, but every time I go into a store that sells notebooks, I find myself picking up each one and flipping through it. Even if I don’t intend to buy one, I imagine what could be written on those pages.

Writer’s Notebook number 8!!! It is time. Finally. Anyone else get excited about starting a new notebook?

Last time, we walked through memory lane with the Evolution of my Writers Notebooks. I had just finished notebook 7 at that time, so it’s definitely time to start a new one.

A writer’s notebook is a blank book waiting for a chance to hold your imagination within its pages. It can come in many different styles and can serve many different purposes.

The Wonderful World of Writer’s Notebooks

With this post, I’ll walk you through three tips that I use starting a new notebook. Why? How many empty notebooks do you have at home? Let’s get started…

Tip 1: Choose a notebook you like.

I don’t know about you, but every time I go into a store that sells notebooks, I find myself picking up each one and flipping through it. Even if I don’t intend to buy one, I imagine what could be written on those pages.

Last year, I chose a notebook specifically for #NaNoWriMo! I chose it for the colors that reminded me of a dragon in flight since I was writing the first draft of my dragon story (sweet Dardo).

Wait… How many notebooks do I need? As many as you want! Or… one at a time… Whichever works best.

For this notebook, I chose the Pen + Gear Leatherette journal for the second time in a row. Why? I love the way the pages feel and how they’re set up. I also love the sturdiness of the notebook.

I tried to buy a different kind of notebook online, but it’s not the same when you don’t get to hold it in your hands and dream. The one I ordered was also much smaller than I thought it would be… Given, that’s my fault since I obviously did not check the dimensions.

Tip 2: Personalize your notebook.

This is by far one of my favorite parts of starting a new notebook! So many notebooks already have some kind of design on them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add to it.

“This is probably the most important step. This is the personalization step: make it yours. Why? You are more inclined to write in it if you feel a personal connection to it.”

The Wonderful World of Writer’s Notebooks

Personalizing (or decorating if you want to call it that) helps the notebook stand out and scream your name. I have two children, and when they repetitively yell my name, I find out what’s going on.

The same idea is true for a personalized notebook. It sits on the shelf (or desk or ottoman or counter or wherever) and yells at you until you find out what it wants.

Easy. It wants your ideas!

You could simply write your name on the front or a favorite quote. You could go all out and create an extravagant cover. Either way, personalizing your notebook is a great way to encourage more writing.

Tip 3: Write something on page one.

This has gone too far! Write something in this beautiful notebook? This notebook will all these perfectly empty pages? This notebook that doesn’t have any creases or folds? This notebook that…

YES! You’ve got this. If we don’t write something soon, then we’ll either forget we have the notebook or keep dreaming about how beautiful the pages are even though they’re empty.

What you write on page one depends on what the purpose is for your notebook. If it’s for one WIP, you might write your goals or deadlines on page one. If it’s a compilation of ideas, you might brain dump on page one.

Normally, I’ll create a “Love it/Loathe it” list or a “Heart Map” on the first page. This time, I decided to change it up and brain dump instead.

Page one of my new notebook.

No matter how you choose to fill page one, get something on that page!

At my first teaching job, we brought in an artist as a guest presenter. While I unfortunately do not remember his name, I do remember his lesson.

He brought practice canvases for each student and teacher. The first thing he said to do was to put a light mark or doodle somewhere on the page. Anywhere, mark on the blank canvas.

undefined “There,” he had said after creating a long line from the top to the bottom of his canvas. “It’s no longer perfect. Whatever you do to that canvas now can only make it better. There’s no need to be afraid of creativity.”

In my opinion, the same strategy works for writer’s notebooks. If we write on that first page, we destroy the perception that the notebook is perfect. Anything we add after that point only makes it better.

Why wouldn’t we want to make our notebooks better, fill them with our ideas? Mark that first page up!


Are my tips similar to yours? Do you have any I haven’t mentioned? What do you write on your first page? Share with us in the comments below.

Author Toolbox

This post is part of the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop (hosted by Raimey Gallant), which is dedicated to helping writers become stronger and more confident in their craft. Click here for more information, to continue hopping through other posts, or to join in!

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18 thoughts on “3 Tips for Starting a New Notebook (Author Toolbox)

  1. I drool over pretty notebooks. I’ve never thought about personalizing it to make me feel like I have a connection to it, but now I’m never not going to do that again. Love these tips! Will share. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a fun post! I love it. I once had a creative writing professor who told us that she always had trouble writing on the first page of a new notebook, so she would just skip it and start on page two. 😀 After reading this, I definitely want to go hunting for a new notebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve given away so many notebooks to teens and take the liberty to write on their first page. Things like: Here’s a place to say what no one will listen to, or For your deepest secrets and dreams. Just depends on the person. Sometimes we want to let it out and don’t want to say it aloud.

    Self-expression is a blessing. 😉

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My notebook experience is quite different from yours! My husband gifts me most of my notebooks, which makes them extra special. I use them as daily journals or scrap books and in some cases lesson books, when I attend webinars etc. online.

    I almost never write stories or posts in them that aren’t personal.

    Sadly, the Notes app on my phone is now used far more than my beautiful notebooks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love notebooks, and many of mine are gifts (that often go unused). I guess that’s why I personalize them…

      My Notes app is full of little notes, but I do all my planning with a pen because I love the feel of pen on paper. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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