New Journal? What to Put on the First Page.

New journals are exciting–the possibility, the fresh approach, the hope you will be as filled with opportunity as the journal is filled with pages. And then that clutch of fear: the. first. page.

Suddenly the possibility, joy, newness, excitement is filled with panic. Your inner perfectionist starts up on full volume. “Well, once you ruin the first page, the whole journal is ruined,” or, “Sure, go ahead and make a fool of yourself on page one.” It goes downhill from there.

No worries. Here are five suggestions of what to put on that first page. Even your inner perfectionist will love these. (Oh, and send the IP off to some area of the house that needs attention–the tub will do nicely. Or the laundry. A busy perfectionist is a quiet perfectionist.)

1. Write your name in the journal. Along with an email address so people can reach you if you lose it. Some people offer a reward. Some use phone numbers. I think an email address is enough. I don’t plan on losing mine.

2. Write the starting date and a dash to be filled in later. When you are done with the journal, you can add the second date. Notice I didn’t say “when the journal is full” — being done and being full are two different things.

Raw Art arrows

Raw Art arrows

3. Put in a simple design. I start my journals with the design at the right. For me, it signifies the many directions my journey may lead, but it’s all in the journal.Ā  It’s hard to mess up a simple design.

4. Write a meaningful quote on that empty page. It doesn’t have to be famous, just meaningful. A friend of mine copies a paragraph from Pride and Prejudice on the first page. She figures it will not interest sensation seekers, and by the time she’s old, she’ll have a stack of journals and half of Pride and Prejudice copied. Jane Austen would have loved it.

5. Leave it blank. Once the journal is half full, it’s easier to go back and fill it in.

See five more (and different) things you can do with that first page.

—Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach. Visit her two websites: QuinnCreative is her business site, and Raw-Art-Journals is for people who can’t draw but want to keep an art journal. (c) 2009 All right reserved.

17 thoughts on “New Journal? What to Put on the First Page.

  1. Thanks for the ideas.I’ve never been much of a journal writer,but am growing into it.It’s wonderful,it’s like having a new friend,this aspect of developing my relationship to myself šŸ™‚

  2. Pingback: Blog | QuinnCreative

  3. I am just deciding how to start my journal; I have a small folder where I keep inspirational bits and pieces for later. My journal is from April 1 but have not started yet as want the beginning to be correct, not forced but inspiring. I am looking for prompts for ideas to write each time but hope eventually this will come naturally from the world and space around me. This is a quote I have on a new years wall hanging I made. It can be adapted my for first page, I think – “We will open the book, its pages are blank, we are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Years Day.” What do you think? I figure the Opportunity is the chance for expression and self-development.

    • In my view (and it’s just mine), any start is better than waiting for the perfect start. I put the same graphic on each first page and start. I write about my day or ideas I’ve had. I’m not fussy. If I am stuck for a start (I rarely am, I’ve been doing this since the earth cooled), I’d pick up a dictionary, open it randomly, put my finger on a word, and write about that word. Its fun and easy.

  4. Pingback: Your Journal’s First Page: Five More Ideas | QuinnCreative

  5. I like to go through a new journal, and mark every page in some way. Usually with a little scrap of collage, or a stamp, or, my favorite, a spash of acrylic ink. That way you never have to face a blank page.
    I love your work, thank you

  6. Hello Quinn!
    I’m so excited to discover you via Twitter. I related to your story about being inspired to sketch by the watercolorist in the cafe. I discovered the lovely Geninne’s Art Blog and was immediately inspired. Well, I’m not that naturally talented but I’m also not inclined to give up easily either. I discovered you not too long afterward and I’m very inspired! I love this sketch of yours and also your description of how you do it in your FAQ. I recently saw the work of at the Oakland Museum in CA and connected to her use of symbols and writing in her work. It reminded me of what you speak about. Glad you’re out there in the world and I look forward to delving into your site much deeper. Thanks! Leah

    • Welcome Leah! I visited Squeak’s site and found that she does a lot of absract work that is both playful and thoughtful. Thanks for mentioning it! I also saw some of your bookwork and loved the pamphlet bound book–it’s just great! I love your graphic design sense. Welcome here!

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