Last Page of Your Journal

You already know what to put on the  first page of that new journal. No more staring at blank pages for you!  Once you get past the middle, you can decide how to end your journal.

How do you  end a journal so you don’t have to continue a thought, a project, or a story into another journal?

Step-cut of last three pages. The page that binds the signature to the book is left untouched to keep it strong.

Step-cut of last three pages. The page that binds the signature to the book is left untouched to keep it strong.

Create a table of contents of favorite pages.  I like to come to the end of a project or idea flow in my journals. I don’t mind having a few blank pages in the back. Over time, I’ll fill those blank pages with dates of pages I keep looking up or those with favorite quotes or poems.  I don’t number my journal pages, but I date each page, so sometimes I write the start and end date at the end of the journal. It becomes a useful index to the contents.

Decorate the end pages. If there are a few blank pages left, I also cut steps into them. I trim the last page about an inch from the end, the next one two inches, and the third one three or four inches in from the book edge. Using a craft knife, I cut a wavy line and create a three-page landscape. Remember to put a cutting mat under the page you are cutting.

Tinting the page edges gives it a nice finish. I use a water color wash to keep the color pale. You could tear the pages straight down or give them a deckled-edge look. I like the curved look better.

dont-throwmeUse stickers or postcards. Daniel Smith, the art supply house, puts a sticker on small or lightweight packages in larger deliveries. The sticker is bright orange, about 4 x 6 inches and says “Don’t throw me away.” It strikes a chord, so I often use one on the final page of a journal. It seems about right. You might be done with it, but there is lots of meaning to be made.

Add a photo of yourself, your children, your pets.  That way, when you look back over them in the years to come, you’ll have an evolving view of what you looked like. Adding a photo of your house shows how it changes over the years. A photo of the kitchen is always fun with advancing technologies changing what our appliances look like.

The last page of a journal doesn’t have to be an ending. For a powerful last page, flip back to the beginning, and read the first post or two. End the book with a recognition of how far you’ve come.

–Quinn McDonald keeps journals. She’s also the author of The Inner Hero Creative Art Journal, and keeps loose leaf journals.

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6 thoughts on “Last Page of Your Journal

  1. Yep….nature gets better of us all. My basement also flooded in Spain,my life of photos and diaries among the casualty. I spent hours peeling photos off each other and ripping shreds of paper out of diaries,drying them in sun weighed down with stones….only to leave the salvaged bits to hope when I fled here.
    Sometimes it feels good to have let go of it all,others I miss my old life . It won’t be any time soon that I will be in a position to sort it out and most of the time I don’t think about it,but it’s lost memories.

    Time moves so fast ,least of my concerns at the moment. Trying to hold onto enjoying the kids childhood ,it’s whizzing past,new challenges everyday,it’s NOW I need to concentrate on because that will be a distant memory before to long!

    • Someday, I want to sit down with you and hear about that time in your life. When we lose our journals, we are not losing our memories, just the tangible capture of them. And yes, I will forget details, but the benefits I reaped from learning in that time period is mine to keep. You are smart to hang onto what is in the now.

  2. Can I make a suggestion? That at some point you put all your journals in a time capsule. Perhaps donate to a museum in the future once your families want to let them go. You will be an icon of the past in the future. Your visions of the world around you…nature,realtionships,food,appliances,the deep and meaningful to the amusing…and all accompanied by beautiful art of material available in our day…now ,the age we are existing in….your words reach many and change how they think each morning,how powerful will they be when people of the future are trying to fathom the amount of change we are living through as a generation today? When everything will be even more virtual than it is now.
    I think you are a legend.
    I am not fearful of death and I hope you are not either! I mean in the next twenty / thirty years not next week to put it into action!
    Happy Monday!x

    • First of all, thanks for a kind and loving idea. I’m not afraid of death, as none of us came to stay. But the last sentence made me laugh. There aren’t that many journals. Some years ago, I stored them in the basement, and we had a flood–several in fact. The people who came to put in drains and a sump pump told me how many people lost precious things stored in a basement. They said the attic was a better place to store things. So, up they went into the attic, where, in 2002, the roofers accidentally set out house on fire and I lost the rest. The ones I have that are worth keeping are in a plastic bin in the studio. The blog will probably be the longest track of my life on earth.

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