A message from your heart can instantly make your gift of a journal even more special, but you don't have to stop there. Add personality to the gift with a notable quote about the writing process, add the date for context and include a little custom artwork or a photo. Although the journal itself might be the gift, the recipient will equally appreciate the work you put into inscribing the book.
Share Your Thoughts
If you're an avid journal writer, use your inscription to explain how the practice of keeping a journal has benefited you. Recounting a personal experience can reinforce the importance of writing. For example, write, "I hope this journal helps you remember all the details of your upcoming backpacking trip. I often read my journal from when I was your age and enjoy recalling the memories." You could also write how keeping a journal has helped you work on self-reflection, conflict resolution or chronicle your thoughts throughout the years.
Turn to the Experts
If you're having trouble finding the right words for your journal inscription, turn to a famous quote about writing. Remind the journal recipient that writing is a lifelong journey with the Ernest Hemingway quote, "We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master." Or, give the journal recipient food for thought with the William Zinsser quote, "Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it."
Document the Date and Occasion
The typical approach when you inscribe a book is to write your message on the inside cover or title page; for a journal with no title page, use the inside cover. Write the message in ink pen or, for a special touch, buy a calligraphy pen and learn how to write your characters with pizzazz. Always sign your name, date the inscription and, if applicable, add a note such as, "For your college graduation" or "In anticipation of your backpacking trip." Doing so not only helps the recipient remember who gave him the journal, but also helps the recipient remember the occasion.
Add Some Artwork
If you have an artistic side, put a little effort into making an inscription that truly stands out. For a journal for a close friend or family member, make a small collage of memorable photos and write your inscription around the artwork. Alternatively, sketch an image that corresponds with your message -- for example, a funny stick-figure picture of your friend backpacking and writing in the journal. Or, glue an envelope inside the journal and fill it with a couple dozen small scraps of paper with writing ideas -- such as favorite childhood memory, best live concert and favorite holiday -- to help the recipient get through periods of writer's block.
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Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.