Posted by: nancyisanders | July 18, 2019

Writer’s Journal: The Format

Jane Austen for Kids official cover

Before I start writing in any of these handmade writer’s journal that I was creating after I landed the contract to write JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS, there is a little bit of prep I do. For starters, as I’ve learned from my earliest journal adventures, a Table of Contents is ESSENTIAL, and this requires me to number all the pages of my blank notebook.

Without a Table of Contents and without numbering all the pages, you’ll be lost rowing up a creek without a paddle. But with a Table of Contents and corresponding page numbers, any research note you need to find is always handy at your fingertips, even 2 years later when an editor e-mails to ask a research question that one of your readers contacted them with.

You might not be a crafty person and that’s okay. You may not want to decorate your writer’s journal with scrapbooking supplies or brochures/tickets from events and historic sites you attended during the writing process.

That’s okay. The key is to make your journal fit YOU.

I’m just sharing what works for me and hopefully you’ll figure out some great ideas to personalize your own journals.


I like to open my journal and get inspired. So I always leave 1-4 blank pages in the beginning of my journal before I start the Table of Contents. My favorite source of inspiration is quoting Scripture. In the photo above and below you can see some of the Scriptures I found during the writing process, or thoughts I had along my writing journey.


I also leave room for a title page before I start my Table of Contents (with more inspirational quotes!). As you can see in the photo above the title that is written in this notebook (which is the very first notebook I started working on) is the actual title of my book.

That means I didn’t write it in here until after about 2 years of working on this project. In other notebooks, I might write the working title but in this one I waited until the publisher picked the actual title. And that also goes along with these inspirational quotes and illustrations I decorate these with. I don’t add these in until the mood strikes me somewhere along my journey. This entire journal is a work-in-progress.

But first, I just leave 1-4 blank pages before I start my Table of Contents.



  1. Nancy,
    I love this idea. I’m starting a writing journal today!

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