What To Put on the 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?

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.

Three pages at the end of a journal, cut decoratively. Do not cut the last page that is glued onto the cover.

Three pages at the end of a journal, cut decoratively. Do not cut the last page that is glued onto the cover.

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.

Use stickers or postcards. Daniel Smith, the art supply house, puts a sticker dont-throwmeon 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 a journal and helps others do, too.

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8 thoughts on “What To Put on the Last Page of Your Journal

  1. I’m willing to buck the trend here.

    I love notebooks and journaling, but I get the heebie-jeebies starting that very first page at the front. Oddly, I have no problem writing on the shiny clean last page, so I always fill notebooks and journals back to front.

    I’m not sure that many people do this. Sometimes, I’ll get The Look in meetings when people notice this, but it works for me. I can enjoy the crisp, new pages at the front of the book for a long time. Plus, my handwriting on the left-hand pages doesn’t look all wobbly because my right hand is nicely supported by the previous pages.

    So I guess the question for me would be what I would put on the first page of my journal.

    Terrific post with food for thought! Thank you!

    • This idea is wonderful! You have solved your own problem and in an ingenious way that works for you. Writing from the back to the front of the book (the way Western culture thinks) is the “normal” way for those who write in Hebrew or traditional Chinese. But if you want some ideas of how to start a new journal, you can check out http://wp.me/p2H1i-3Gn (for a travel journal, but it can be handily adapted), or http://wp.me/p2H1i-Ez. Full disclosure: Both of them are previous blogs of mine.

  2. In my ‘Chronicles’ (a weekly art journal that I keep for the 6th year now) I always glue a photo of myself (sometimes with ‘my men’ – my son and my beloved) on the last page, taken on December 31 (or sometimes a day earlier.) I don’t dress up for it, I sometimes don’t wear make-up but I DO make that photo… every year again I find the photo awful… but looking back at all those last pages, I actually like the earlier photos (and the last one not so much.) I have this every year – so that must mean that in a few year, I will probably think that I look gorgeous on the photo taken last December.
    In other journals I often put a quote or songtext on the last page… a text that fits with the theme and atmosphere (is that the right word?) of the journal.

    • I like all of those ideas. My mother-in-law, a plainspoken New England woman, would look at me every time I didn’t want my photo taken, and say, “this is as young as you are going to get.” Looking back, well, she was right!

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