What do you do with a blank page?
If you’re reading this, chances are you know how daunting filling up a daily journal can be. Abbey, Sophie, and Nikki share a few ways you can fill your daily journal to the brim with all things that spark your creative energy.
Experiment and Enjoy
Abbey — I’ve kept so many journals over the years that each one is never the same. Maybe I’m just not a creature of habit, but it’s been fun being able to try what works at a specific period and moving onto the next.
When I started daily journaling in 2016, I was very much interested in adding photos ALL the time. As someone who treasures memories a lot, it was my way of documenting the fun times I spent with friends.
I also tend to overfill my pages, but that’s just me. (LOL!) It’s also because I can never stand empty spaces. But of course, over time, that habit changed.
I used to be such a neat freak that I liked everything straight—my stickers, tapes, words. But in later years I learned to let loose. This 5 Goals page I did for the #DreamJournaling2019Challenge was a personal favorite.
Abbey’s Advice: Balance is Key
When I work on spreads, I make sure to distribute my elements evenly—if one side is heavy with text and images, I make sure the opposite is minimal and simple. But depending on the prompt, I keep everything at a layout that works best for the eyes. Remember: it’s all about how you see it. From left to right, you want to make sure to strike a proper balance to keep everything in harmony.
You’d be surprised about my 2020 daily journal, because it’s as simple as it gets:
One thing’s constant, though: I do like writing a lot, so I’m keeping that. Who knows what my next experimental layout would look like? I’ll find out soon!
Create Your Media Highlight Reel
Sophie —The first few pages of my Hobonichi Day-Free has a monthly view. Since I already have a Hobonichi Weeks with a monthly view, I’ve decided that my Day-Free monthly view would be a media tracker. I’ll list down any movie, series, book, album, or anything else that I’ve listened to, watched, or obsessed over during the day and will write a little comment or give a personal rating.
I’ve seen a lot of people track the media they consume in a year, and found it fascinating (most especially as a CommArts graduate, haha!) Fingers crossed that I’ll keep this up!
Sophie’s Suggestion: Let Your Style Evolve
My daily journal comprises of a mix of mundane tasks and events―though it's hard to say just at the start of the year! Over the years, my journaling style evolved:
My 2018 Hobonichi was filled to the brim with text! I wanted to fill in every single blank space—by the end of the year, my Hobonichi was so heavy and could barely close!
My 2019 Hobonichi, on the other hand, is more simple. I used bullet points to highlight my day and used stickers and washi tape often to make up for the lack of text.
Filling up my daily pages started from "oh, let me try to fill out the entire page" to "the simpler the better.” Now, I’m happy to say that I found the balance between the two ideas. Since I now use a Hobonichi Day-Free, I have the freedom to fill it in any way that I want without dated pages restricting my entries.
These are what my first few entries look like. I split a page into days to fully maximize the page and fill them out as I please. This new format works for me (so far!) because I don’t feel the pressure to fill out the blanks anymore. It reminds me of how I fill out my Traveler’s Notebook or how I used to fill out a scrapbook.
Just looking at the first few spreads makes me excited to see how the rest of the pages will progress throughout the rest of the year!
Add A Splash of Paint
Nikki — My creative comfort zone is home to a paint brush and pan of watercolors. It makes sense that I’d gravitate toward the medium when journaling, too.
First, test if the paper you’re using can handle a little water. No need to bust your budget on a new watercolor sketchbook. I use a generic notebook I bought for cheap, there are slight issues but it gets the job done. What’s important is to find something comfortable to you.
Don’t feel like you have a master painter within you? Give it a try anyway! Bob Ross said, “Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.” What better place to try a new medium than your safe space—your journal?
My approach to painting in my journals is very different from my approach to a “finished artwork”. This is also why I don’t mind if my paper isn’t the best quality, I’m not focused on technique or complexity. In my journals I don’t mind if my paintings are haphazard, they were meant to be a spontaneous expression.
Sometimes I’ll dedicate an entire page to an idea. Other times, I incorporate it into the spread. I was inspired by the visuals of a concert I went to that I just had to include it in my journal:
So, pull up a Bob Ross tutorial for gentle affirmations in the background and finally pick up that paintbrush!
Nikki’s Nifty Tip: Follow Prompts
We all need a little help sometimes. Using a journal with a guided layout or following online challenge prompts can give you the boost of inspiration needed to get over blank page anxiety.
This is my Daykeeper Planner:
As you can see, it’s not much right now. I mainly use this feature to contain the spillover of whatever can’t fit in my weekly overview. In other words, I use it to track to-do’s, habits, and important tidbits of the busier days.
I’m hoping to make my entries more special and creative moving forward. Right now, I’m more focused on making a habit of logging into a journal everyday.
You can also combine both a guided layout and online challenge prompts. I took inspiration from several prompts in our #2020CreativeJournalingChallenge and combined it with the features of The Starting Point Journal. Included below are My 2020 [One-Word] Mantra and Personal/Career Goals for 2020:
Need a little help to fill up your daily journal? Join us in our 2020 Creative Journaling Challenge!