Book Journaling 101: Getting Started

Hello everyone! Hopefully by you being interested in this post, your interested in starting a reading journal, or looking for more inspiration on one you may have already created. I hope today’s post will help you find some help in either getting started, or maybe learning some little tips & tricks you might need. This is the first post in a series of posts I’m doing just for book journaling, which I am super excited about. Today’s post is basically just getting the absolute basics and deciding the purpose for your new journal. Let’s just get started and dive right in!

So Step One: Decide What Your Journal’s Purpose Is

Before even start buying any materials, you need to know the purpose your reading journal will provide for you. There are many different ways you can use a reading journal. Some of them can include:

  • Note taking while reading or after reading
  • Keeping track of books read
  • List of books taken out by a library and when their due date is
  • Reading Trackers (habit trackers, type of books read, etc.)
  • Reading calendars (marking what days you’ve read, maybe what days you’ve posted on your blog?)

There are so many possibilities, but try and get an idea on what you may want to include in your journal to make the next step a little easier…

Step Two: Research Possible Layouts

So, before starting my journal, I looked up how some other people set up their own reading journals. I really focused my ‘research’ on Pinterest and Youtube. Youtube for instructional videos, Pinterest for layout ideas. Definitely check out those two places, as well as maybe Instagram for ideas on how you may want to lay out your reading journal. (Layout ideas post will come out at a later time).

Step Three: Materials

This step is kind of a big one, and one that’s pretty long. I will have a seperate post on all of the materials I use, but for now I’ll kind of help you with the basics. Starting with journals, then kind of basic utensils to start off with.

So, Journals: I use a very different method of a ‘journal’ but we will get to that. I actually started off my first reading journal using a Five Star 5-Subject Notebook that you can find at Walmart, Target, basically anywhere that sells school supplies or Office Supplies. Staples, you get it. Honestly, It worked pretty decently for me. BUT, I accidentally had mine damaged. Brought it to the pool while I was babysitting, one cannonball later it was destroyed. I have explained many options before settling on the one I have now which I love, but let’s go through the options.

Lined/Ruled Paper Notebooks:

Pros: easy to take notes, choice of wide ruled or college (narrowed) ruled, cheaper option

Cons: limits creativity, pens are likely to bleed through, tough for illustrations.

Dotted/Grid Papered Notebooks:

Pros: easier to create clean looking layouts, dotted and gridded pages are usually thin (not as noticeable lines), pens may not bleed through as easily

Cons: your writing while taking notes may be slanted, since there is no significant writing guidelines.


Pros: nicely organized layouts pre-done, accurate calendars, pre-written holidays, room for writing

Cons: Not as customizable as other options.

Binders: (also the option I chose and I LOVE):

Pros: easily customizable by using different types of papers, big enough to hold a whole years worth of information or even longer, easy to remove pages if a mess up does occur (and trust me, it does)

Cons: quite large in size, easy write in (although pages can be removed)

Utensils: Pencils, Highlighters, Black Sharpie Pen, Gel Pens, and Crayola Markers are some good things to start off with.

I hope you guys found these beginner tips pretty helpful. Next time, I’ll be showing you guys some layouts you should use in your own journals.

2 thoughts on “Book Journaling 101: Getting Started

  1. This is AWESOME! I’ve been toying with starting a reading journal! I may just have to for 2020! I created a spreadsheet this year, and so far I’m enjoying that! 🙂 It’s pretty in depth and automatically develops charts and stats for me which I’m obsessed with.

    Thanks for sharing these tips!

    Erica | Erica Robyn Reads

    Liked by 1 person

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