24+ Creative Notebook Ideas to Fill Up a Blank Notebook

There is nothing quite like the feeling of a brand new notebook. I love flipping through blank journals, knowing soon enough those very notebooks will be filled with adventures, stories, photos, and memories. 

But have you ever found yourself stuck, wondering which things to write in a notebook that’s brand spanking new?

The best part of journaling is that it is such a highly personal experience. And because it’s so personal, you can fill up a blank notebook in a ton of creative ways.

Are you someone who likes to stick to flawless, cohesive themes? One dedicated journal for one theme? Or do you prefer to let your ideas and themes change by the day, putting all your journaling into the same journal?

Below you’ll find some of my favorite notebook ideas, whether you have just one notebook to fill, or are staring at a collection of so many blank notebooks to fill!

3 notebooks sit in the windshield of a van, filled with different creative notebook ideas for blank notebooks

How to Start a New Notebook

The first thing I like to do when I get a new notebook is write all of my information (name, email, phone number, etc) in it, usually on the first page or inside cover.

This way, if it ever gets lost it’ll hopefully find its way back to me. 

Next, I like to set intentions for the notebook.

I’ve had journals that were strictly used for fitness and health, others that were just for travel, as well as so many journals that I intended to be totally random. 

Regardless of what you’d like your blank notebooks to be used for, it’s time to start brainstorming.

Here we’ve laid out 24 notebook ideas you can fill your blank notebook with! 

24 Awesome Notebook Ideas for Your Empty Notebooks and Journals

Fill Your Empty Journals With Stories from Your Life

Sometimes I find myself often getting so lost in creating gorgeous bullet journaling spreads that I forget the fundamental reason I started journaling in the first place— to get my thoughts out.

Traditional journaling is incredibly therapeutic and is a great way to gather your thoughts and work through problems. 

I like to start my journaling spread with stickers that fit the mood of the stories I want to tell or things I want to talk about. Next I’ll grab all the other supplies I may need to create a spread I love.

By filling your journal with the stories of your life, you’ll have a great memory book by the time you’re finished it! Kind of like a memoir!

Creative Writing and Short Stories

Don’t feel like writing stories from your own life? Use one of your blank journals to write short stories that you make up!

A creative writing journal is a favorite notebook idea. It’s a great place to put your writing lists, try out writing challenges, and write your actual stories.

Create Doodle Reference Page

Flower doodles in a journal spread with cut and paste moon cycle images on the other side

I am not a great doodler. While I envy those who can quickly draw up a gorgeous photo, I also know that becoming a good drawer and doodler takes time I haven’t invested. 

To navigate this I will create a doodle reference page! This way, no matter where I am I have doodles I can reference and add to any spread. I like to find doodles by pursuing Pinterest and Google. When you find one you love, practice it with pencil then trace over it with pen. 

Whenever you find yourself wanting to add a cute doodle to a page, you will be able to flip back to your reference page, and know you can recreate it!

Make a Sticker Index

art journal style spread with different stickers and stamps and a cover that says "Book of Spells and Incantations"

One of my favorite purchases I’ve made for my bullet journaling supplies collection were a bunch of vintage stamps. As someone who travels frequently, I didn’t want to lug around a giant collection of journaling supplies.

Instead, I taped down a bunch of stickers and stamps so I could use them wherever I was. If you’d like the rundown of all the best stickers you can buy for your bullet journal— look no further than this article!

Habit Trackers

Are there habits and patterns in your life that you wish you could be better about? Maybe you want to keep your space cleaner, eat healthier, or even journal consistently. 

Creating a habit tracker is a great way to keep track of your progress and keep yourself accountable for achieving the things you wish to achieve. There are endless ways you can use your bullet journal to track your habits, and plenty of great ideas out there around the different habits you can track. 

Vision Boards

Vision board journal spread

Vision boarding is a wonderful way of manifesting the things you want through visualization. Not only that, but a vision journal is a super fun way of getting hyped up about the things you want. You can create a vision board for events you want to attend, vacations you wish to go on, or even the house you want to live in.

There is no limit to the kind of things you can manifest through your vision board. If you want to fill those blank pages with your vision board for the future, we have laid out everything you need to know about how to make a vision board

Budgets

Budgeting journal spread

It is always a great idea to stay on top of your finances. Maybe you’re saving for a vacation, some upgrades to your living space, or even a downpayment for a car or home. Regardless, it can take a little planning, and an empty notebook is a great place to do it.

Reference Pages

Tarot card journal spread

For so many people, taking notes and making reference pages stops upon graduation. It doesn’t have to though! It is always possible to teach an old dog new tricks, and you can always keep learning, 

I personally love collecting crystals and studying tarot for readings. Two of my favorite reference pages I have created were for these things. I created a spread I could use to assist me in all of my tarot readings with all of the different spreads I like to use.

I have also collected little information cards on some of the crystals I have collected too. This way I never have to search around for the information cards, and I don’t have to scramble through my phone photos to find the names. 

Make your life a little easier and make a reference page in your own journal, or dedicate an entire empty notebook to references you’ll use regularly.

Food Journal or Recipe Journal

Journal spread for meal planning and shopping

Meal planning can be really tough, especially when you’re hungry! Many of us have the goal of eating healthier and being more intentional about the foods we consume. If this is you, try meal planning in your bullet journal!

I like to create lists of different meals I’d like to make and the corresponding ingredients I need to buy to make them. This way, when it comes time to head to the grocery store, there is no guessing as to what to buy and make. 

Over time, you’ll basically transform an empty notebook into your own recipe book!

Check out exactly how you can meal plan and food journal like a pro!

Lists

Bucket list journal spread for North Eastern Washington state

List making is an art. You can make todo lists (and not-to-do lists!), grocery lists, lists of books you want to read, etc. Creating lists is a wonderful way to stay on track and keep yourself organized. 

Plenty of people love to make digital lists they can reference. I prefer making gorgeous lists on the blank pages of an empty notebook. This keeps me excited to keep referencing my lists and even more excited to check things off. 

If you’d like to figure out exactly how you can make cool lists in your bullet journal, here is a great guide.

Fitness Journal

If improving your fitness level is on your goal list this month/year, then filling up a blank notebook with all your fitness details is a great way to stay on track.

You can do a typical habit tracker spread to track how often you’re active, but can also track how much weight you can list, how far you walk or run in a day, how you feel when you’re active vs not, etc.

It’s a great way to stay motivated and notice patterns as you move along your fitness journey.

House and Home Planning

If you’re planning on some DIY projects, a house and home journal is one of those creative ideas for a notebook that will prove to be pretty useful, too.

Draw out floorplans of your house with measurements, and take it with you when you’re shopping so you’ll always know whether something will fit.

Use empty pages to create a mood board for decor, which you can reference when you’re out looking for special pieces.

Or use the notebook for garden ideas and planning!

Gratitude Journal

Gratitude journal spread

Gratitude is something that should be practiced all year round— not just at Thanksgiving. The best part is, you don’t even have to wait for someone to do a big favor for you, or to get the promotion you’ve been hoping for. 

In fact, finding gratitude for seemingly negative experiences is powerful. When something negative happens ask yourself what lessons you get to learn, or how you’ll get to grow as a person because of it. 

For a kickstart on how to add more gratitude to your life— here are 131 gratitude journaling prompts!

Mental Health Journal or Happiness Journal

If mental health is at the top of your priority list, a mental health journal is a great notebook idea! You can follow some of our ideas for mental health writing, but also create all sorts of mental health tracker spreads.

Brain Dump

Brain dump journal spread

Doing a brain dump is a great way to declutter your thoughts and ideas, and make room for new ones. To start a brain dump, the best thing to do is just let your thoughts flow from your brain and onto the page. 

Try to allow them to flow as freely as possible and don’t judge the thoughts too much as they come out. Brain dumping is a form of meditation and can bring lots of clarity of thought. 

There are so many times I will be racking my brain over problems or strong emotions, and as soon as I am able to release them to the world I feel endlessly better. There is so much power in being able to let go of thoughts and ideas. It can be incredibly healing and help you see problems in a new light. 

Here is a guide to exactly how to use a brain dump in your bullet journal. Similar but slightly different is a morning pages journal.

Marker Check

Marker test page on one side of a journal page, with a to do list on the other side

I’ll be the first to admit that I still get that giddy feeling when I get a new pack of markers, crayons or paint. I’m always so excited to see the colors and create new things. 

One of my favorite things to do with a new pack of ink is make a marker check! This is a fabulous way to explore your new supplies while also creating a super helpful reference guide. 

I am frequently referencing my marker check to be sure I am matching my ink colors to my stickers. 

Depending on how many markers you have, you might want to fill an entire empty notebook with your marker checks, or add it to a reference notebook.

Bucket List Spread

Summer bucket list journal spread

Creating a bucket list spread is another form of manifestation and ultimate bujo planning. Whatever you’d like to make a bucket list spread of, start brainstorming exactly what activities, places or events you’d like to include. 

I created my ultimate summer bucket list spread that included all of the places I wanted to go and things I wanted to see along the way. The best part is— I’ve now made it to almost all of the places on my list!

Don’t neglect the power of planning and manifestation.  

Travel Journal

A travel journal is one of the best creative notebook ideas, because you can do so many thinks with it. You can use it before you go on your trip to plan, keep track of your packing and to-dos, and make gorgeous spreads on your trip and after. At the end, you’ll have a memory journal filled with all the very best memories from your trip!

Business Journal

What “business journal” means to you will probably depend on what stage you’re at with your business. But this could mean somewhere to keep track of business ideas, or it could be more functional planning, like social media posting schedule or planning out new products and ideas.

Scrapbook or Junk Journal

Sometimes I just want to create something beautiful. Making a scrapbook style page is such a fun way to remember all of the fun things you did and feelings associated with it. 

I love to collect things like concert tickets, business cards, notes that people write to me, and other fun memories. Instead of just letting them sit in a folder or junk drawer, I like to make cute scrapbook-style or art journal pages to display them.

This is such a fun way to hold onto memories in a beautiful and functional way. 

Photo Collage

Journal spread with text that says Van Conversion Wishlist along with collage items depicting travel and van life

We live in a really great time where we pretty much always have a camera in our pockets. How many of your photos actually make it into print though?

Probably not many!

Printing photos feels like a lost art these days, but it doesn’t have to be. Start setting your intention to print photos of your adventures and create photo collages in your journal. To make your life even easier you can even just use a portable polaroid camera or inexpensive photo printer. 

Once you have your photos printed out you can start pasting them in gorgeous spreads. 

Take Notes

There are so many times I find myself listening to a podcast or reading a book and assuming i’ll remember all of the cool facts and snippets of information later on. 
When I finally go to tell someone about it… the information is gone. 

If this happens to you as well, start taking notes! It is such an easy way to cement information into your memory, and an easy way to collect facts and stories you can share with others later on. 

You can use empty notebooks for notes on all podcasts, books, or articles, or dedicate one notebook to all the episodes of your favorite pod, for example.

Dream Journal

You might incorporate dream journaling into your morning pages practice already, but if not, this is a fun idea to fill a notebook. Each morning as part of your morning routine, take some time to write down what you remember about your dreams from the prior evening.

Hobby Journal

A hobby journal is a fun way to track your progress with a new hobby, or even track your learning as you work through a new skill.

Learning French? Boom, you can focus it as a language journal filled with phrases, questions, and vocab you love or are working hard to remember (plus maybe some “trip to France” inspo?).

Consider music to be a main hobby? Boom, you can fill up an entire music journal with your favorite lyrics, songs, bands, concerts, etc.

The thing about a hobby journal is it can encompass all your hobbies, or be dedicated to one you’re really focused on at the moment.

So Many Notebooks, So Many Ideas: Final Thoughts on Filling an Empty Notebook

I’m a huge fan of the blank notebook, but definitely feel the overwhelm when it comes time to actually getting started using an oh-so-pretty journal you’ve saved for awhile.

I hope you found some fun notebook ideas in this post, and have come away with lots of ideas of what to do with the empty notebooks in your collection.

Lindsay Aman on InstagramLindsay Aman on Wordpress
Lindsay Aman
Lindsay Aman
Lindsay is a photographer and adventurer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is finishing up her 95 GMC conversion van build and then traveling the country with her Australian Shepard mix, Rooney. Lindsay graduated from the University of Utah in 2016 with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting. She is passionate about storytelling, journaling, and living life to the fullest.

Lindsay loves documenting her travels and adventures through photography, videography and bullet journaling.

She is an avid traveler and has been to 13 different countries- with many more to come! You can follow her adventures on her tiktok (@lindsayamanphotography), youtube (coming soon), instagram (@lindsayamanphotography ), and her website.