How to allow yourself to write in beautiful notebooks

posted in: Author tips | 6
Closed notebook with green cover

Do you have a pile of beautiful notebooks full of blank pages? Don’t be scared to fill the pages with your writing. Discover how to give yourself permission to make some marks on those gorgeous pages!

I thought it was just me.

Someone gives me a beautiful notebook for my birthday or Christmas because they know I love stationery (note spelling: ER because a stationER sells stationery).

Guess what happens next?

Yes, the notebook sits in a drawer or on a shelf, gathering dust, because:

  • It’s too beautiful for my scribbles
  • I’m waiting for the “perfect” use of such a gorgeous item of stationery

I’ve never told anyone this because:

  • I don’t want to seem ungrateful
  • I still love to look at, stroke, smell (too far?) nice notebooks
  • One day I will, oh yes I will, find the perfect use for them
  • I didn’t think it was a common affliction

It turns out the last reason couldn’t be more wrong.

The following Facebook post by author Dea Poirier says it all:

Screenshot of social media post by Dea Poirier: "If you buy a writer a nice notebook, I guarantee they will never use it and they will stare at it for ages wondering if they'll ever have an idea "good enough" for such a nice notebook."

A few authors commented that they had never had this problem and always dive right into a beautiful notebook, but they are in the minority (and do we really believe them?!). Most of the comments were very much in agreement. Some authors were recovering from this scenario and had found ways to get over themselves.

Solutions to hesitating to use beautiful notebooks

Here are some suggestions that the wonderful members of the Aspiring Writers United group offered. These are paraphrased as many people had similar, fantastic ideas:

  • Some people are scared of writing because of the fear of failure, but you have to just go with the flow and write down your ideas as they come to you. You never know what will come out of it!
  • Assign each notebook its own topic for your work-in-progress notes and research (plot ideas, characters, settings, language etc). As each book will then have its own value, you don’t need to stress about “spoiling” your beautiful notebooks with your creative writing.
  • Designate one of your beautiful notebooks for a specific book idea that you will start once you’ve finished your work in progress. You may not use it for months, but it’s a great reminder that you’ve got another book idea ready to go.
  • Use the beautiful notebooks for self-care, e.g. affirmations, yoga postures.
  • Leave the first page blank until the day when you have an idea worthy enough for the first page. Then you can write whatever you want on the other pages!
  • Remember that beautiful notebooks aren’t rationed. No matter how many you use, there will always be more.

And if, after all that, you still can’t bring yourself to “soil” those beautiful pages, do what a few group members suggested: buy a bunch of cheap spiral notebooks that you don’t mind messing up. Your ink will soon be flowing.

Buy a bunch of cheap spiral notebooks that you don't mind messing up. Your ink will soon be flowing. (From 'How to allow yourself to write in beautiful notebooks') Share on X

So, now that you’ll be using up all those beautiful notebooks you’ve been stashing for years (one Aspiring Writers United group member has a blank notebook that they were given 40 years ago…we have a winner!), let’s look at getting some more!

Beautiful notebooks to buy for yourself or as gifts

Why not torture a fellow author, or a writer member of your family or friendship group and buy them a beautiful notebook? You know how to make sure it will be used now!

Beautiful notebooks you might need to get over yourself to use

Beautiful notebooks

Functional but still attractive notebooks

Functional but attractive notebooks

Ugly notebooks that your writing can only improve

Boring notebooks

Ugly notebooks on Amazon UK

Ugly notebooks on

Tell me about you

Do you have a stash of beautiful notebooks, just waiting (gathering dust) for that perfect idea or story? Or can you not wait for your next beautiful notebook, so that you can dive straight in? If the latter, what’s your secret? Share all in the comments!

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6 Responses

  1. Paola Messner

    Oh this really resonates!! I’m too embarrassed to say how many unused beautiful notebooks I have on my shelves. It’s a lot. 🙁

    I like the idea though of using several and giving each one its own topic. Think I’ll give that a go….


    • Debbie Emmitt

      Hi Paola, yes, I like that idea too. One for the list of New Year’s Resolutions!

  2. Mikael

    Hey Debbie! This title got me so good since a friend just gifted me a GORGEOUS notebook and I literally just have it standing face out on my bookshelf just to look at it. I’ve had such notebooks before, but yes, giving them a specific purpose helps me – like what kind of vibe suits the look of the notebook. Like… I have a notebook for affirmations and positive thoughts and intentions I want to set. A notebook for “good ideas”, just getting them out. A dream journal. Etc… Such a fun article! <3

    • Debbie Emmitt

      Hi Mikael, thanks for your comments! This article was crying out to be written when I realised I wasn’t the only one who struggled to use my gorgeous notebooks! I love your idea of using them for affirmations and positive thoughts. Enjoy using yours!

  3. Mimi

    Yes! I have loads of beautiful notebook – both gifts and ones I bought myself. What to do! I do like your idea of designating them for special topics, like one for novel ideas, one for recipes etc.
    Going to try this today, wish me luck!
    Now to find the perfect pen for each notebook…

    • Debbie Emmitt

      Hi Mimi, I’m glad you found my tip useful. Good luck!

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