One of the biggest hurdles facing first-time grimoire makers is the blank page. There’s nothing quite like that pristine, white page staring up at you to make you feel more than a little nervous about potentially screwing up your beautiful new book. Or perhaps you can’t even decide what kind of book to buy in the first place!
There are so many decisions to make about what information to include, how to organize your book, what medium to use, and how you want your finished grimoire to look that a lot of witches will either put off starting their grimoire altogether or start grimoire after grimoire because they keep scrapping their earlier attempts.
Today we’re going to be talking about how you can make these vital decisions so you can actually start your grimoire and stop daydreaming about it! We’re officially giving white page syndrome the boot.
What Kind Of Book Should You Use?
The type of book you use is going to depend on what you want out of a grimoire. Write out a list of what you want and need or answer these questions to get a better idea of what sort of book you’ll want to get.
1. Do you want it to be beautiful?
Define what a beautiful grimoire looks like to you. This is a very important part of choosing a grimoire. If you don’t love it, you won’t use it! Do you like leather-bound books? Books with clean black covers? Colorful books? Books that have leaves and pressed flowers collaged all over the cover? Decide what you want your book to look like and aim to buy or make a grimoire that suits your tastes (and yes, it’s entirely possible to MAKE your own book for a grimoire! We’ll talk about that in the next installment of the grimoire series…)
2. Will it be portable or stay at home?
You won’t want to lug a huge textbook-sized tome with you back and forth to circles and group events every time you go but likewise, if you have a lot of material to cover in your book you’ll be quite annoyed when you run out of space. The function of the book is the most important part here. If you need a book that is both portable and able to contain all the information you might want to put in it, then consider splitting your grimoire into several books, each with a set purpose. For example, you could have one book for spells, one for reference information, and one for recipes and potions. This would allow you to transport only the book you need while giving you ample room to work.
You might also consider going digital. This won’t appeal to every witch, but for those who travel a lot, are minimalist, or simply prefer to have access to all of their material whenever they choose, a digital grimoire can be perfect. Plenty of excellent programs exist to make structuring and organizing a digital grimoire easy. My favorite is Evernote but OneNote and Dropbox also make creating a digital grimoire a snap.
3. Do the pages need to be removable or rearrangeable?
If you’re not sure how you want to organize your grimoire, then start with something that you can arrange and rearrange at will. Binders are my go-to when I’m not sure how to organize a book. I use a leather binder for my main grimoire because it suits my aesthetic tastes while also giving me lots of flexibility (which is good since I’m perpetually changing my mind about things). This is another instance in which a digital grimoire might suit your needs.
4. Do you have a specific medium that you want to use?
If so, you may need to use specific paper to suit your materials. I like to use multimedia or watercolor paper for my grimoire since I use paints, pressed leaves, and ink pen drawing in my grimoire. If you’re just looking for pages to write on, you might not need anything that heavy. Another important consideration with paper is whether you’ll want lined or blank sheets of paper. Lined paper can be a bit of a disappointment if you plan to illustrate your book, so choose carefully.
5. Is there a chance your grimoire will have ingredients or recipes spilled on it?
You might not be too pleased if you spill a hot potion on your $200 Italian leather-bound tome. If you’re prone to spills or plan to use this grimoire as a sort of spell/recipe book, then make sure the book can stand up to rigorous use and that you won’t be heartbroken if things get a little messy.
6. What is your budget like?
While it’s nice to daydream about gorgeous, expensive books to fill with magical learning, it may not be practical for you. Figure out what your budget is and stick to it. You might even consider saving up a bit of money if you have something specific that you want, but keep in mind that putting things off indefinitely gets you no closer to having a grimoire. It’s better to start a grimoire that’s a little less impressive than it is to have no grimoire at all!
What Medium Will You Use?
We touched on this previously when talking about paper, but it bears a little more consideration. The type of medium you wish to use is incredibly important. First, what mediums are you comfortable with? Deciding you want a watercolor illustrated grimoire won’t get you far if you’ve never painted with watercolors.
Take stock of the mediums you’re comfortable with. You don’t have to be an expert, but it shouldn’t feel like a daunting task to pick up your grimoire materials and try to make a page that looks nice. Think outside of the box here. Illustrations in watercolor, ink, or fine art markers might look lovely, but if you enjoy collaging, calligraphy, photography, or scrapbooking, those can also create a beautiful and unique grimoire.
My favorite grimoire inspiration comes not from other grimoires but from travel and art journals. Don’t be afraid to get creative and let your imagination guide you toward something that perhaps looks a little less traditional, if that’s what you like. Just be sure to get the correct materials to support your preferred medium.
How Much Use Will Your Grimoire Get?
This will dictate not only the book you get but also how much work goes into each page. If you’re expecting this book being used all the time, getting potions and spell ingredients spilled on the pages, having the corners bent, and traveling with you places, it might be prudent to create a book that is more of a nice recipe book than a work of stunning art. I don’t know about you, but I don’t fancy the idea of getting tea all over pages that I spent hours perfecting. This doesn’t mean that you have to have an ugly grimoire, though! Make it beautiful, by all means, but don’t spend a crazy amount of time getting every detail right, and don’t use water-soluble mediums like watercolor paints if you expect heavier use of your grimoire that might create spills.
How Will You Organize Your Grimoire?
Organizing your grimoire can be tricky and it depends on the sort of grimoire you’re creating. Some grimoires, like the journal style, are simple. They’re created chronologically, so all you have to do is turn to the next blank page. Others, like books of herbal information, spell books, and mashup grimoires, can be more of a challenge. What sections will you need to create? How many pages should you allot for each section?
If you’re just getting started and don’t know how you want to organize your grimoire, perhaps go for something like a binder so you can rearrange the pages as much as you need. If you don’t like the idea of using a binder, I would suggest creating a mock-up of your grimoire. You can do this digitally or by hand, just create a simple layout plan of all the information you want to include in your grimoire, how many pages it will take up and how you’ll organize the information contained within. This way, when you create pages, you’ll have a good idea of how to proceed.
Note: If you use a mockup, always allow for extra pages in each section! Inevitably, some information will take up more pages than you expect and if your estimations are spot on, this also leaves you with extra space to include information you find in the future.
Get Your Materials & Start Creating!
You should have a pretty good idea of what you’ll need to get to create your grimoire. The best advice I can give you now is to JUST GET STARTED! Don’t put off starting your grimoire until some far distant future. Even if you’re not ready to create your super fancy, gorgeously illustrated heirloom grimoire, you can still get started chronicling your witchcraft journey in a more functional use grimoire. If nothing else, you can get a simple notebook and keep a journal-style grimoire just to keep track of information. It may not be beautiful or well organized, but at least you’ve got everything written down so that when you ARE ready to start your big project grimoire, you’ll have tons of spells, rituals, recipes, and other stuff to fill it with!
If you want more help starting your grimoire journey, my Crafting Your Own Grimoire class was made for you. We cover all of the different types of grimoires you can create, what to put in your grimoire, and much more. You can get this class and every other class at The Traveling Witch Academy for just $7/month!
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Check out the rest of the Grimoires For Beginners series!
Grimoires For Beginners Pt. 2: You Are Here!