Home » Tools of the Trade » Paper Lust: Jill Bliss Mini Journal Boxed Set

Paper Lust: Jill Bliss Mini Journal Boxed Set

I enjoy boxed sets, series and themes because there’s comfort in order. And because my OCD is sated when matched items are lined up on a shelf. But I also find themes profoundly inspiring because they encourage brainstorming and boost idea generation, essentially making you smarter.

While discussing seasonal journaling the other day with one of my fellow writers, my thoughts flew to the Jill Bliss mini journal boxed set I’d been aching for. Suddenly, I had an excuse to buy this beautiful set of four deliciously flowered little journals, wrapped in a scrumptious hard case that looks fabulous on the shelf even before you start writing.

Jill Bliss mini Journal Set - box binding view
Binding view of the boxed set

The four journals in the set are begging to be turned into a themed series of some stripe. I’m thinking seasons – one for each. Even the colors lend themselves to this natural division.

If you’ve got a boxed set of four journals like this, what elements of your life could you capture in detail? Four trips? Four kids? Four choose-your-own-adventure endings to a situation? Four intense days of introspection?

Boosting your smarts with themes works in other areas besides journaling, too. Try this next time you’re seized by a great idea for a project. Can you dream up a few more along the same vein? Perhaps one for each holiday? How about one for each month? Each family member? Each state? Your thoughts eagerly branch out in new directions when you give them a path to follow.

Themes encourage lateral brainstorming, too. I do this with website post ideas. A post on journaling to prepare for a challenging event, for example, easily blossoms into a series: prepare for a career change, a wedding, a birth, a move, a death, a vacation with the in-laws.

The brain seeks patterns. Use this to your advantage and you’ll always have a pool of bright ideas to choose from.

My new journal boxed set fairly glows with inspiration. The possibilities are endless. How would you use them?


  1. Perhaps someone else has had this experience, but the nicer the journal, the less free I feel in writing in it. Currently, “I’m keeping it simple, Smarty”–on a yellow legal pad! Anything goes, even writing sideways against the lines.

    • Penny – I’ve totally found that to be the case for me! When presented with some beautifully bound blank book, I fear I’m going to sully it up with my pedestrian ramblings. The stakes are way too high. Plus my handwriting isn’t neat enough to do justice to the paper. I’m also a big fan of legal pads and always have a stack handy, though mine are purple. 🙂

  2. I have found it actually easier to journal when I have something pretty to look at. I especially love colored paper, but the world has yet to create the perfect journal of colored paper for me. I don’t like the large blocks of colored paper in most journals that use this. Rather, I would like to have this rainbow available to me every day: one sheet purple, the next green, the next yellow, the next blue, the next pink. Then the sequence starts all over again on a purple page! (If you ever come across such an amazing journal, do keep me in mind!)

    Right now, I am using a leather-bound book with wooden covers. It has a brown ribbon bookmark and a small elastic band that wraps around the toggle on front to keep it closed. The pages are gilded at the edges, and I feel like I’m publishing an amazing piece of art when I write in this book. However, I have also used numerous other journals from composition books to small, spiral-bound notebooks to a fat, pocket-sized journal with Frodo Baggins’ photo from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring framed on the front of it.

    Currently, I have 28 journals (the leather-bound wooden one I just described being #28), two of which are loose-leaf because the journals fell apart. Very few of these journals are filled. In fact, I only know of one off the top of my head, #27. And that was because I made a personal vow to finish it off. I purchased a new journal during a time when I had lost this journal, but the pages from that new journal were quickly transferred when #27 had been found then torn from the replacement journal. That replacement journal is quivering with excitement in the storage box of my journals. It may become #29 in maybe a year or so when I finish #28.

    However, your entry on Blueline notebooks now has me dying to go and look for them. Considering that I paid $22 for #28, $7 a piece is an excellent bargain for a journal! Hopefully I can find them in a case like you have (perhaps you can tell me where you find them like that?), and I will definitely try them out. Also, your love for Pilot Precise V7 pens had me giggling a little. I have bought so many of those pens, and I love them to death! However, I have a small love affair with pens. I think I have about 50 lying around my room right now ranging from simple ballpoint pens to Pilot Precise V7 and V5 pens.

    Pens and I are very tight. I will use a specific kind of pen for a very long time, almost religiously. Then I will grow tired of how it writes. Just like that, I switch to a different kind. For a long time, I loved the way the Pilot Precise V7 pens wrote, and I do still frequently write with those. However, right now I am enjoying the feel of ballpoint pens. In fact, I just received a new one from Create Write Now!, and I am just absolutely loving it. My hand still smells like lavender from just touching the pen!

    • Natasha – thanks for your comment! I love hobnobbing with other dedicated journal writers. And when people say things like “Pens and I are very tight,” I realize I’ve got plenty of company as a stationery/writing instrument freak! Before Pilot V7 precise I was quite faithful to the Bic Comfort-grip ballpoint, which I still use for everything but journaling now. The ink dries much faster than the V7, so it’s good for every day writing. I think I moved on to a more liquid ink because after an hour my hand would start to hurt with a ballpoint. In any case, have you every considered taking a class in bookbinding? It sounds like that might be a perfect match for you. You could create your own perfect journal for yourself, with rotating colors, AND repair your older ones that have fallen apart. I also have a few that have separated from their bindings (although not the Blueline ones – mostly Mead neatbooks). Depending on where you’re located, you might find a book binding or book repair class at the local college, art store, or similar. There’s also quite a few great video tutorials online – check out YouTube. As for ordering Bluelines, here’s a link to buy them on Amazon, with free shipping if you buy four: Blueline Notebooks. I’m actually on my last one right now and will need to stock up. I’m always afraid they’ll stop making them and I’ll be SOL. Thanks again for taking the time to comment and happy writing!!