Education is a Life, Preparation

Commonplace Book: Getting Started, by Jen N.

Editor’s note: This is a follow-up to Jen’s article about her Commonplace book. Read the original here.

I’ve had some logistical questions as to how to get started with a commonplace book. For those who were intrigued but have not one extra second to ask, here are the details:

Why don’t you combine this with your day planner?

You can do anything your heart desires.

My calendar (in bullet journal form) is a messy work in progress full of scratched-out notes with arrows moving appointments around, and I usually have spilled something on it by the end of the week. I want this to be something I go back and read for fun. I’ve even considered creating sections so that if I’m discouraged I can go read quotes that I felt would encourage me. Or a comical or an ironic section. I do have five pages of Ray Bradbury that I managed to keep together.

Do you really write every day?

Not every day. I do write 3-4 days a week.  YMMV-Your Mileage May Vary. I like to have some quiet time and that doesn’t happen every day. I give myself about twenty minutes to make a new entry.  I would write every day if I had the time and something worth writing.

What do you need to actually get started?

A notebook and something to write with. Really. That is all.  I had the extra time and money right now to go all fancy pants with this – but that is not the point. A spiral notebook and a pencil will do just as well.

Where do I get those gel pens?

I’m pretty sure that mine are from Target. I found this Fiskars Gel Pen 48-Piece Value Set
on Amazon. They look about the same.

What notebook do you use?

When I first started my book I went with my go-to favorite, a Moleskine Classic Notebook, 
I still use the Moleskine for my bullet journal. It is flexible, lightweight, and fits in my purse. Since I keep a journal as well as a commonplace book I wanted them to look differently.

It has nothing to do with the fact that I like buying notebooks. Why would you think that?

I went in search of a hardcover journal that was more heirloom quality. I love the idea of writing in a hardcover book, and I found exactly the right thing at Lee Valley:

The Everyman’s Journal It is 400 pages and has an index section in the front.

Where can I see more commonplace books? 

Here is a link to all the boards I could find on Pinterest.  There are some pretty inspiring examples listed there. Have fun tumbling down the rabbit hole!





Jen N. Jen has spent her time homeschooling her five children since 2001. She has read over 5,000 books aloud. A fan of all things geeky, she calls her children her horcruxes — each one has a talent for something she might have pursued herself. Jen and her husband have created a family of quirky, creative people that they are thrilled to launch out into the world. With the three oldest graduated, Jen now has time on her hands and has started a blog:


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