What to Write in a Notebook?

by anna

February 24, 2023


Is there anything more delightful than a fresh coffee and a brand-new notebook? 

When you open the cover and crack the spine, that first white page holds such promise. But what to write?

Some of the most creative minds in history, like Leonardo Da Vinci and Frida Kahlo, kept notebooks that were a mix of every thought that crossed their minds, from designs for perpetual motion machines to dreams, poems and musings.

However, a certain power and depth of focus can come from dedicating a notebook to a particular topic. That way, you can scroll back through the pages, and watch how your ideas in a single realm evolved.

So, don't forget to date your entries: then you can trace how far you've come!

Here are two ideas for dedicated notebooks of great power:

1. Dreams

The psychologist Dr J B Peterson says,

'We experience much of our positive emotion in relation to goals. We are not happy, technically speaking, unless we see ourselves progressing.'

However, for most people, it can be difficult to understand what's worth progressing towards. A dedicated notebook is a perfect place to start a dialogue with yourself. Write ideas for the future - hopes and dreams.

Most people don't know what their passion is or who they want to become, but to find those answers you have to ask yourself difficult questions and try things out. A notebook is a place to start that journey.

Write a Bucket List. Sketch an imaginary day in your future. Write the story of whom you definitely don't want to become, and then ask yourself, 'What would be the opposite?' Write down what you value. Write what you'd like to happen with your:

i). Relationships
ii). Finances
iii). Career
iv). Hobbies

Begin your blank notebook with questions and imagine how interesting it will be to look back on that notebook years from now, when it's filled with answers and inspirations for the person you've become.

2. Stories

Prolific storyteller, Matthew Dicks, recommends writers record one brief, true story from each day of their life. He calls it 'Homework for Life.' Before bed, simply sketch out a few words in your notebook to chronicle a simple story from your day.

'Homework for Life is a strategy that I originally began using to generate more story topics for the stage, but as I began to use the strategy daily, it changed my life. It made everything about my life so much more vivid. It’s a strategy I teach to my storytelling classes often, and I’ve had people tell me that it has replaced therapy and meditation for them. It truly changes lives. Powerful.'

The simple act of looking for a moment from your day that you could turn into an anecdote doesn't just make you a more interesting conversationalist. It also forces you to see the small moments of your life with fresh eyes. It brightens your world with meaning.

These are two of my favourite subjects, but so much can go in a notebook!

What do you write in yours?

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