How to Use A Notebook

• How to Use a Notebook • // The Magical Canopy

okay, i know. you’re probably thinking right now, “what, roxanne?! who doesn’t know how to use a simple notebook??” but before you get up-in-arms against me for undermining your notebook-using skills, hear me out!

today’s post is more than just telling you how to start writing in a notebook (because, duh, who doesn’t know that’s how notebooks work?? i mean, other than hoarding ’em…) it’s about having the courage to start on a new notebook despite obsessions with clean pages (so relatable to yours truly), and using your notebook in ways far more creative than just a journal or planner.

1. Get over the “Blank Page Syndrome”

as a slight sufferer of OCD, i remember hoarding things (not just notebooks) since young. i somehow enjoy looking at clean notebook pages and often worry about “ruining it’s pristine condition” by writing in it. admittedly, i’d rather have plain un-used notebooks wasting away in my storage boxes that risk “dirtying” those pages.

i recently read about this sort of “Blank Page Syndrome”, and i realized that i could get over it by skipping the first page or two, and keeping the notebook seemingly clean.

these days, i only write a few words on the first page, a bit like a “cover page” to describe the contents of the book. i think this really helps you to get over the fear of using up a nice blank book! you always have to start somewhere. i would also recommend writing with a pencil on the first few pages, as this eradicates that concern of messing up something and ruining the whole book.

my brain seems to like it better this way, and i get the best of both worlds; using a notebook without obsessing over messing up the clean pages.

2. Writing, Doodling, Recording

now that you’ve gotten over the fear of starting on a new, blank notebook, it’s time to start filling it with content! i thought i’d elaborate on these three main categories to share a few ways you can fill up your notebook.


• How to Use a Notebook • // The Magical Canopy

• planner for school/work or blogging

• writing down stories or ideas that come to mind

• to-do and goals lists

diary or journaling your thoughts


visual diaries are great for notebooks with un-lined pages

• typography or hand-lettering practice

• How to Use a Notebook • // The Magical Canopy

• sketching/doodling on the go

• How to Use a Notebook • // The Magical Canopy

• scrapbooking or a travel journal with photos 


• gratitude journal

• exercise/food tracker

• wishlist, shopping list and expenses tracker

• taking notes in school/work

and those are just a few ways to use a notebook conventionally!

3. From Cover to Print

but notebook usage doesn’t just stop there! even when you’ve filled your notebook with to-do lists, doodles or photos, there are still other creative ways to use them and maximise their lifespan.

my favourite is to cut out the cover and use them as prints in frames or on my vision board! notebooks with hard, illustrated covers work best for this, of course.

4. Accordian Card or Book

this next idea can be done on both used and empty notebooks. (if you’re crafting with a used notebook, tear out the pages first.)

• How to Use a Notebook • // The Magical Canopy

Cut out your text/shape and paste it onto a strip of paper.

• How to Use a Notebook • // The Magical Canopy

With the book not fully opened, paste the one end of the paper strip onto each page.

by pasting paper between the covers of the notebook (or between two pages), you create a slight amount of tension between the two surfaces. when the notebook is opened, the content between the two pages will pop out!

i think this project is perfect for cards too, especially if your notebook has a really cute cover.

5. Letting Go

• How to Use a Notebook • // The Magical Canopy

Just some pretty notebooks from Typo that I’m obsessed with!

we all know that feeling. when the notebook’s really been used to the maximum, or you just really don’t need that book of old writings hanging around your room anymore. even with the sentimental values, sometimes, we really just have to “let it go”. (no Frozen reference intended!!)

i can be extremely reluctant when it comes to giving up my old stuff, especially when it comes to notebooks. i’ve found that rationalizing it for myself helps though! other than that, you can also tear out certain important pages for safe-keeping, or even scan/photograph it for digital “archiving”.

all in all, if you’ve really used the notebook to best of your ability and it’s potential, (as cheesy as it sounds), the memories of using that notebook will always stay in your heart, long after it’s pages are yellowed or even crushed in the bin.

xx, roxanne

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11 thoughts on “How to Use A Notebook

  1. onlyreveen says:

    My mom just gifted me a couple cool notebooks and I was absolutely lost! Thanks for the cool ideas and tips .


  2. wordsfromjules says:

    I have dealt with this struggle throughout all of my school years, and continues to be a constant battle. Like when you walk through the journal aisle at a store and you want to buy them all, but then you remember the 5 blank notebooks at home that you haven’t gotten the guts to use. Or the ones you started to use but then stopped and don’t know how to continue using it because you don’t want to change its purpose… Is it an OCD thing? I don’t know. But I’m so glad I’m not alone! Thanks for this post!


  3. turtrox says:

    Thank you, Karen! I’m glad to have helped. I’m still working on that ridiculous fear of ruining my notebooks, so it’s nice to have someone to relate to. I hope you feel braver now!
    xx, Roxanne

    Liked by 1 person

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