Having a new notebook is a fantastic feeling, until you come to write on the first page. An empty notebook has so much potential, what will you fill the pages with.
Of course, the first page is no different to any other page in the book, but for some reason it can feel daunting. If you feel blocked to start using a notebook, here are some ideas to get started.
Ideas for the first page of a new notebook
- Copy in a headline from today’s news (get it from a newspaper or website)
- Write a list of wishes
- Leave it blank (I often do this as the first page of a journal is often bound differently so is less comfortable to write on)
- Write a list of things you are grateful for
- Stick in a photograph or picture of yourself
- Explain the notebook theme and why you chose it
- Complete a questionnaire about yourself e.g. weight, height, where you live
- Explain the people who you may mention in the book e.g. family tree, groups by association like work, list any abbreviations you use to refer to people such as initials
- Add your contact details (just in case you leave it somewhere)
- Write a prayer, mediation or affirmation, something that describes your current spiritual outlook
- Leave it blank so you can add a review or synopsis of the notebook once you’ve filled it
- Stick in a year summary calendar (potentially useful if you use a blank notebook instead of a dated one)
- Stick in a favourite picture
- Keep a store of useful information e.g. frequently used telephone numbers
- Write a summary of your goals or your mission statement
- Explain how you got the notebook e.g. gift from friend, bought on holiday
- Keep a list e.g. books read, countries visited
- Write a greeting to the book, possibly including an agreement about when, where and how you’ll use it
- Explain the notebooks purpose e.g. dream journal, to capture ideas while travelling
- Write a summary of your current situation e.g. where you live, job, relationships
- Write your feelings about the notebook and what you hope it will contain
- Copy in a favourite poem or lyric
- Write in a favourite quote
- More ideas for the first page of a journal, inspired by the comments on this post
BONUS: If you’re writing a specific pandemic journal you could start with
- a description of Covid-19
- when and how you first heard about the virus
- a map showing how it has spread around the world
- why you want to keep a pandemic journal
- a history of how the pandemic started
Ideas if you don’t like your first page
What if you write the wrong thing? What if your writing is messy? What if you decide you want to use the notebook for a different purpose? These all feel valid when you’re sitting in front of notebook, but when you really think about it, it is just a notebook. There are lots of things you can do if you decide you don’t like what you did on the first page.
- tear the page out (but first think about if you really want to remove it)
- cover the page with a picture so you can’t see what is underneath
- stick the page to the preceeding page
- annotate the page with a description of why you no longer like it
- decorate the page e.g. coloured patterns, stickers
- write a new first page and stick it over the top
Your ideas for the first page of a journal
Thank you to everyone who has written a comment sharing what you do on the first page. There are many great ideas that I haven’t considered and I love the variety; some are written as inspiration at the start of the journal, others are factual and others provide a comparison of yourself over time.
So if you are feeling daunted, here are more ideas on what to do with the first page:
- List of goals or the things you are aiming to achieve – from emilytealady
- List of quotes
- List of writing prompts
- Write a paragraph explaining the purpose of the journal
- Favourite quote
- Summary of your life so far
- Quote lyrics to a song that relates to the journal
- Create a collage to visualise your intention for the journal – from Christina
- Date started and finished the journal – from Emma
- Write something personal and tear out the page – from AH
- Sign the page each time you write in the journal
- Add a picture of yourself, friends and family
- Write about your feelings about yourself, the things you love and the key people in your life
- Dedicate the book to your self-discovery process – from Nancy Andres
- Introduce yourself.
At the moment, I don’t see the first page as any different to the rest of the journal. Although I usually make an effort to write neater. However, I do like the idea of writing something at the start of every journal so you can compare how you’ve changed and developed over time.
What do you do on the first page of a journal? Do you do anything special? Have you done this consistently over time? Have you every wanted to remove or redo a first page?
Frequently asked questions
What is so important about the first page?
Truthfully there is nothing important about the first page, it is just the same as any other page in the journal. However, it is a page that you could see often when you open the book so you might want to do something you’ll enjoy seeing. Or it can be a useful reference place if there are things you’d like to track over several books.
Do I need to do something special on the first page?
No. Your journal is your journal and you do what you want on the first page and every other page. One way of getting around seeing the first page each time you open the book is to use a bookmark to take you to the next blank page.
Do I need to do the same thing in every notebook?
No. Again, these are your books and you do what every you want. You could do something similar in the front of each book you use for the same intention, for example if you have a gardening journal start each book with a picture of your garden now. Or you can do something different in each journal, this gives you the opportunity to decide which you enjoy the most and to adapt as you grow. Or can do nothing and just start writing.