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Most people initially use their GoodNotes journal as a notebook for keeping track of notes, tasks, appointments, and random thoughts. It is organizational tool at its core, but because the app is so versatile it can also become a creative outlet for you. 

In this post, I’ll share some creative journaling inspiration – a few ideas for using your digital journal (in GoodNotes or whatever annotation app you choose) as a daily creative outlet and memory keeper in addition to keeping you well organized!

Creative Journaling in your GoodNotes Journal - a bit of inspiration for turning your digital journal or planner into a creative memory keeper. #digitaljournaling #digitalplanning #digitalcreative
Shown in this image: Digital Junk Journal

A Creative Journal in GoodNotes

Quite a few creative digital journalers and planners use their notebooks as an art journal in addition to keeping track of their daily tasks. They look forward to creating beautiful weekly or monthly spreads to track appointments and play with pretty lettering or quirky hand drawn fonts.

If you enjoy drawing or practicing handwriting, consider using your GoodNotes journal as a daily creative outlet. In addition to keeping track of your day, you can spend a few minutes here and there to add a little drawing or a photo that you took during the day. Or you can go a little further and add some digital embellishments like stickers and washi to create pages that are as useful as they are beautiful.

A few things to add to your daily journaling pages that can transform your GoodNotes journal:

  • Your own hand lettering – experiment with adjusting the brush settings or practicing your lettering with sheets you’ve uploaded into your app
  • Adding new fonts to your iPad/tablet (many are available free for personal use)
  • Digital stickers or washi tape (on Etsy)
  • Digital scrapbooking embellishments (look for packs that include a small file size or reduce the size when you import these so that they don’t slow down your app)
  • Adding photos from your camera roll

You can even turn your digital journal into a scrapbook of sorts that not only captures what you need to do, but also provides a stunning record of what you’ve done. Keep it for yourself or share it with your loved ones down the road. No matter what you decide to do, your GoodNotes journal will become a way to capture cherished memories for years to come. 

GoodNotes Journal Page: People who keep journals have life twice. Quote by J. West

Making time for Creative Journaling & Memory Keeping

If you use your GoodNotes journal or planner consistently, working in a bit of creative time won’t be too difficult. Everything you need to be creative is on-hand right there in your app, files, and photo gallery.

This is one of the many reasons I love creating in my GoodNotes journal. There’s less hauling involved. You don’t have to haul out your crafting supplies, brushes, pens, or fancy paper to get creative. Everything is at your fingertips.

On the other hand, if you are not yet in the habit of opening your app on a daily basis, it might be good to set aside a little time each day. It takes just seconds to open the app and start creating. The ten mintues or so you take for yourself can now be entirely dedicated to creativity – and there’s no clean up required when you finish!

Journal Templates for GoodNotes

Now, you might be looking at the list above with anticipation and excitement. However, if paging through digital stickers or shopping for embellishments is not high on your list of priorities, that’s okay. Creating unique layouts and fancy digital scrapbook pages isn’t for everyone. You may be interested in a more open-and-go approach to creativity.

One alternative is using a GoodNotes journal template. Digital templates are a great way to make your plans and save your memories. They are already beautiful and creative, all you have to do is add your own notes and photos.

One of our most popular journals is a digital “junk” journal created for use with GoodNotes and other annotation apps. You can see a few pages below and in the first image on this post as well. The vintage-style includes pretty elements like pressed flowers and a variety of papers with thirty-one designs. Perfect for daily journaling! Find the digital junk journal in our shop or on Etsy.

A few things to add to your GoodNotes journal…

Sometimes it seems like life is passing us by and it’s hard to look back and remember all the amazing little things that have happened to us. Taking time to save little memories of the day is a great way to save and remember these moments that might otherwise be forgotten. With a few little tweaks, your digital journal can become a beautiful memory keeper.

We already discussed the how and why to turn your GoodNotes journal into a creative memory keeper. Here are a few ideas about what to put in it during your digital creative time.


Without paying any special attention to recording memorable events, your digital planner or journal acts as a memory keeper for you. Even without any special entries, your GoodNotes journal is a great tool for looking back. Specifically, seeing your past notes about ordering bulbs will remind you of the early days of growing your first tulips, or the “Wash the bedspread” task may remind you that this was the day your washer broke and you ended up taking six load of laundry to the laundry mat two towns away.

A lot of these memories can be recalled from the lists of to-do’s we make in the mornings. Add to these by taking a little time at the end of the day to reflect or a photo of a special moment – or a completely mundane one that sums up most days. Next, jot down a paragraph or a few thoughts. Reflect on the positive and negative aspects of your day. This is your space to keep your private thoughts. They don’t all have to be beautiful ones.

Brain Dumps

Sometimes we get so busy, our minds so cluttered that we need a place to let everything out. A place to clear some space. Your journal can be that for you. Use your GoodNotes journal as a brain dump to release the mental clutter. Let out anything that has been nagging at your or spinning around in your head all day.

Sometimes during a good brain dump session, you might come up with a great idea. Or maybe you wrote down something you’d thought about doing but haven’t gotten around to. It might be helpful to go back and highlight thoughts that might be helpful later on.

GoodNotes Journal page: Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell. Quote L M Alcott

Little Things You Want To Remember 

Before you head to bed at night, add a little note, or even just a bullet or two about memorable things that happened today that you want to remember. Write down something funny that someone said or little accomplishments you made – the little things that tend to be forgotten. You can add a picture or doodle about your day, too. It will be fun to look back and read about these memorable events of days past. 

Add a Gratitude Section to your GoodNotes Journal

Next up, practicing gratitude is something we should all be doing regularly. Nevertheless, writing down a few or even one thing that you’re grateful for on a rough day can be a challenge. As an alternative to a daily gratitude box or note, try a gratitude section of your journal. You can dedicate one of the open tabs or use a notes page of your GoodNotes journal or digital planner. On good days, fill that page with as many things you’re grateful for that you can think of! Add photos, make lists, draw pictures. Later, when practicing gratitude is a challenge, instead of forcing yourself to write something new, look into your gratitude section and be reminded of better days in the past and hopeful for better days to come.

Add a Special Memory Page 

Last but not least, add dedicated memory pages to your journal. These can be themed pages – like whenever you eat dinner out, snap a photo & add it to your “night life” page. When you head to the park with your kids, grab a shot and put it in your “park days” or “nature explorers” page.

Themed memory pages are so much fun. They start with just one or two little memories, but as the year goes by, you will have a lot of good times to look back on. Think of these as mini scrapbooks. How you design them is entirely up to you!

Get Creative in Your GoodNotes Journal!

Remember this is your journal and there’s no right or wrong way to use it. Get creative! Figure out a way that makes sense for you. As an added bonus this focus on recording little memories will help you to live in the moment and appreciate the fun and interesting little things that happen every day. 

Finally, for some fun inspiration, follow us on Instagram. We share digital inspiration and tips to help you make the most of your GoodNotes journal!

Check out the digital journals and embellishments created for GoodNotes and other PDF annotation apps in our shop!

or visit the DiJoShop on Etsy

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