Create User-Friendly Journals and Workbooks | Dvorah Lansky | Skillshare

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Create User-Friendly Journals and Workbooks

teacher avatar Dvorah Lansky, Author & Course Creation Specialist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. Class Introduction

    • 2. The Differences Between Journals & Workbooks

    • 3. Decide on the Purpose of Your Publication

    • 4. Journal Examples

    • 5. Workbook Examples

    • 6. Types of Pages You Can Create

    • 7. Help Your Readers Capture Information

    • 8. Inside Peek of Journal Pages

    • 9. Action Steps

    • 10. Demo: Create Content in Canva

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About This Class

Create User-Friendly Journals & Workbooks for Your Audience

In this class we'll explore the difference between Journals and Workbooks, and you'll get tips on how to easily create publications for your audience.

  • A journal provides ways to capture activities and memories.
  • The pages or sets of pages typically repeat themselves.
  • They can be generic or they can be on specific topics such as: productivity, health, meditation, course creation, plumbing.
  • A workbook typically walks people through a process.
  • You can include some training in the workbook or it can be a companion to a book or course.
  • It can provide ways to record answers and results.

What we'll cover:

  • How to come up with an idea for a journal or workbook.
  • The differences between journals and workbooks.
  • Examples of journals and workbooks.
  • Ideas for types of pages you can include in your publications.
  • Action Steps.

You can check out close to 20 examples of D'vorah's Workbooks and Journals at

What Students Are Saying (From the Reviews of This Class)

"A great class that simply describes the differences between workbooks and journals. The class also introduces the student how to get started creating workbooks and journals using Canva. I highly recommend this class to anyone looking for a quick, yet thorough overview or introduction to workbooks and journals.” 
- William McPeck

Meet Your Teacher

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Dvorah Lansky

Author & Course Creation Specialist


Greetings! My name is D'vorah Lansky. I have a Master's Degree in Education and am the bestselling author of many books including; the Action Guides for Authors series of workbooks and journals and the Health and Happiness Journal series.

Since 2007 I've created 40+ online training program and have taught online marketing and course creation to thousands of authors, entrepreneurs and creatives, across the globe.

One of my passions is to help people share their brilliance with the world.

I look forward to connecting with you here on Skillshare and welcome you to explore my courses on Creative Course Creation Tips, Tools and Strategies.

I've you'd like, check out my website at:

And you can view my books, workboo... See full profile

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1. Class Introduction: Welcome to today's workshop. We are going to focus on creating a standalone journal or workbook or a companion journal or workbook for your course or book. And what we're going to be doing is talking about concepts. I'm gonna share with you some examples and show you a way that you can easily design your pages using a program such as Can va dot com. So here's what we'll cover. Today we're gonna talk about how to come up with an idea for a journal or workbook. The differences between journalism workbooks, examples of journals and workbooks, ideas for the types of pages that you can include in your publications because what you can do is create a template, and that template can then serve as an outline for an online course or for a book or for future journals or workbooks. Because once you create that first template, future ones aren't easier to create and then, as always, will have some action steps 2. The Differences Between Journals & Workbooks: So let's talk first about the difference between a journal and a workbook. So typically a journal, it can be blank pages or lying pages that are blank. It can be a writing prompt, something that triggers a thought or an idea. Or it can be on a specific topic. A journal can be much more than blank lines or blank pages. It can help people capture activities. Maybe it's will help them create new habits. Maybe you have a journal that will help people track their activity towards healthier living, maybe getting daily walk or dancing regularly, or in that type of journal, where you're encouraging them to dance regularly. They can have a page in the journal, where they list their favorite songs to dance to, and so a journal could be so much more than blank pages. The journal typically provides ways to capture activities and memories and the pages or sets of pages. Whether they're two pages or four pages, they typically repeat themselves. So if it's like a right hand page in the left hand page that go together and then you would just replicate those. Or maybe there are four pages in that set and then you replicate it and then you have your book. You have introductory content, you have marketing content. You have your title page, and there you have your journal and it could be that easy. And you could even create a branded cover because maybe you're gonna have other journals in the series, and you want them to have something that shows that there's that they're part of a Siri's. Because people like to collect books in a Siri's, they could be generic. Or they could be on specific topics such as productivity's e health, meditation, course creation, plumbing. I put plumbing as just something totally random. Just indicate that you could have a journal on anything. We have people who have journals where they make note of different types of corn or recipes or cars or anything that you can think of so anything that anybody has a hobby or an interest in, you could create a journal around, and if you like creating journals, you can create multiple journals. Once you create the structure of your first journal, you just swap it out for the different focus area. Now, workbook typically walks people through a process and each page is typically different. You can have training, or you can just have places for people to record content. But each page is typically different. As you walk, people step by step through a process which is perfect to become a companion to a course or a book. And just as an aside, a journal can also be a companion to a course or a book. You just need toe outline what you want people to record. For example, Today I or this week the lesson I studied in the course is and they talk about what they learned that day or that were, you know, by going through that lesson and then the action step I took or the action steps I took after going through that lesson. And then they have a way of recording their journey so you can use journals as part of course, content, however, workbooks how they differ. They typically walk people through step by step through a process that builds from one step to another. Now you can include some training in the workbook, or it can be a companion to the book or the course. So what I like to dio is jot down one paragraph, discussing a step and then giving action steps to go along with the paragraph that I just shared. And then that is a lesson that could be a lesson in your course. It could be just in written format. Or you can add an audio to where you read that paragraph and posted as a video that goes along with the written content. Workbooks are wonderful for providing ways for people to record answers and results because they're writing basically a manual, and if it's a bound book, they're more likely to keep it. And then they will have the answers so they'll know moving forward. They'll just flip open the book to go back to what they discovered, what they learned, and so it can be a resource guide to people moving forward. 3. Decide on the Purpose of Your Publication: So the first thing you want to do is you want to decide on the purpose of your journal or workbook. And I created a workbook page for you based on these next two slides. So what I'm gonna do is go through these slides first, and then I'm going to show you what I did to take this content and turn it into a page. So you want to give thought first to which type of journal or workbook would you like to create and then there places to check off? Do you want to create a standalone journal or workbook, a work book or journal to go along with your book or your course Now do you see here? What I want to point out is I could ask these questions without leaving those little lines for people to check. However, just by adding those little lines, it immediately makes people want to check rather than just think about it because you want people to record their results. The other thing I could have done is draw lines that people could write. But here this question called for a way for people to just check quickly. Check off their choices. And then there's a place here where they where they can check off. I'm leaning more towards creating a journal or a workbook, and then they can kind of narrow things down. Now, the other thing that you might want to put here is because they if you're teaching them, of course, and this is that the At the beginning of the course, you may wanna have another check section that says, not quite sure yet. So what I would do is let me just go into here and I'm just going to go down one line and I'm just gonna tab over until I get there and I'm gonna put not sure yet. And I'll just move this up a drop. And that way it covers everything because they may not know yet, and that makes it okay for them so that people don't feel pressured or panicked. You really want to equip people and have them feel very grounded and that wherever they are , that they're in the perfect place, and then here's a place where they can capture an idea. And I didn't put that at the top of the page, and I'm saying all of this out loud. So you Congar the sense of my thinking as I created these workbook pages, I could have put my initial idea for my publication. I could have put that up at the top, but I didn't on purpose because I wanted to trigger thoughts and get their wheels turning before asking them what they're thinking about their and I wrote here my initial idea. So this could be in an introductory content for a course, because maybe you haven't taught them about journals yet or talked about different ideas. However, people have a sense of what they might want to create. And so I just this way they're not locked into it, but they get to capture their ideas. 4. Journal Examples: So here's an example of one of my journals on my show, your journals and workbooks. So you have the cover. I created it. So it's a brand so that I have. I believe I have five or six in this brand, and they all look exactly the same. It just changes that center line of text. So it's as the busy authors course creation journal, and then it has an image, and then it has my logo, etcetera. So every time I create a new topic, the only thing I change is that center image below the word journal and the italics sized text where says course creation, I would just put in book marketing or virtual book tours or whatever the topic gets. One of the next pages is how to use this journal is a nice idea to have one page of instructions that walks people through how to use your publication, and that will help them because it might be obvious to you. But it might not be obvious to your readers, So you really want to equip people so there's a page on how to use the journal. So then, for future journals, I would just read this and make any changes as it applies to the topic of the new journal. Then I have two facing pages. This is Day One, and it's a 30 day journal. So the next two pages, it would say day to Day three with the Facing page has the date. So they get that capture, the day number and the date because they may skip a couple of days here and there, and it will be interesting for them to capture the date that they went through the process . And then I have four different writing prompts, and this is a five by eight size book, and they have four different writing prompts. And so for each book in the series, there are different props. Some of them cross over where there's some duplication, However, on on the busy Authors Productivity's journal, I talk about different things, and I talk about in a course creation journal, so those little writing prompts as you go to create your next journals. Those might change based on the topic, however, I have the layout. I have the images that image on the far right two pages. That image in the center is called a flourish, and you can get those at open clip art dot org's open clip art. C L I P A r t dot org's is a public domain site, and it just you get a high quality, get the highest quality image that they'll let you download, and then it becomes part of your book. So I have the formatting. The font on all I do is just swap out here and there. So subsequent journals could be created even more quick, really? So that's an example of a journal, and it has repeating pages, and it captures specific content based on the topic of the book. And again, it could be completely blank journal. Or it can be specific. I liked have specific journals because I feel it. It takes people on a journey through a process 5. Workbook Examples: So here's an example of one of my workbooks, and this goes along with a course. And so in the book, I don't say module. I say section. So in that page, in the center of the of the screen there it says, Section one. However, in the course content, it says Module one, it just wouldn't make sense in a published book to say Module One. So I just change the word to section. And then I talk about how many activities air going to be. And then I have a little circled out, you know, little rounded corner rectangle down at the bottom, where I talk about what's covered in this section, and then I have a two page spread on the left. 10 side is his activity Number two. It could say Step two or Day two is completely up to you, but it walks people through the process, and then it has the date again so they can see when they go through it. So that's where I have the paragraph. There's actually two paragraphs off text there that lets them know what they're going to focus on during this step and then at the bottom I have that on every page on every left hand spread page where they have where it is basically a way to record their accomplishments at the end of each day. So they have, like a little journal section, even though every single day is a different activity and a different worksheet to lead them through a process that builds one to another every single day. Half a continuity of that bottom left section is the exact same on every activity page, so you can see how easily it would be to replicate it. The hardest part in replicating a workbook is the worksheets on the right hand side, because they're not going to be the same format from topic to topic. You could if you strategically thought about it. You could. However, I find that the worksheet change based on what the activity is, and the activities don't go in the same sequence. If they are creating a course than if they are setting up a Pinterest account, for example, how on the left hand side you can see you could still have that same format of the activity number of the date. The title, a tricky part, is to keep. I wanted to keep the title, so it was all a one line. So I had to be creative. My wording that took a little bit of juggling. And then I wanted to have one little paragraph that talks about in today's action step and where they get, like, one sentence, what it's about. And then I'm just a a little instruction there about how to take action. So that would be an example of a workbook where every single activity is different and it leads them one to another. Yet they do have that journal section at the bottom left of what I accomplished today. 6. Types of Pages You Can Create: So here are some examples of types of pages and content that you can include in your journals and workbooks. So on the left hand side, what you have is, you can provide direction on specific topics. And then it's always nice to have a note section so people can record their ideas and their notes. And then on the right hand side, you can provide opportunities for people to write about and develop strategies. Now I want to show you things that make an attractive and successful work book or journal, and that is not a lot of text. You wanna have ways to trigger ideas, but you wanna have yummy ways for people to record their thoughts and check things off and dive into the page. So a couple of ways to accomplish that is, Do you notice that even though there's a way to capture text at the top, and then there are bullet points in the middle, they all have the three lines, so it has consistency. Do you notice how the spacing between each section is exactly the same? You have that consistency, and by doing that, you make it really easy for people to dive in and not feel overwhelmed. Let me just bring back up the page here. That's why in the left hand side, I typically have more text. So on the right hand side, it could be more open and let people kind of free flow and think and capture their ideas. So this is not like the sealed in cement or written in stone. This is just the format that I have found useful. What I enjoy when I'm going through a journal or workbook and having published now 15 journals and workbooks that I have found to be useful and based on my own needs, as well as the feedback that I've gotten from readers. So you can take all this with a grain of salt and then you develop your own style that makes sense to you. But I'm hoping that you're gonna find this helpful to help you in designing your workbooks in journals. 7. Help Your Readers Capture Information: So on the left hand side, I want to ship show you hear these air pages that are not in order in the book? I just picked two different pages in the book because I wanted to show you an example. So on the left hand section, I created these little rectangle boxes, and I gave them the I gave of the readers the assignment to go and do some research and then record their research, which I put three different sections so that they had several places where they can do some cross comparisons. And I thought that would be useful because in this course they're learning how to create a challenge experience. And so I wanted them to go and check out different challenge experiences so they can decide and pick and choose what they liked about a challenge experience so that they could use it as an idea, not the content but the concept and the format and the well. For example, maybe they liked it that there was a daily tip that got emailed each day. Or maybe they liked it that the there were live calls or whatever it was that they liked about the challenge. Or maybe they liked it that there waas images that each day had a little image that had a number on it. So it made it easy to go through the content well, this is a way for them to record it. And then on the right hand page, my first journal had no of books on the right hand side. No journals. It had a picture of my original book from 10 years ago, 11 years ago on the page. But then, as I created each subsequent journal, I was able to add more and more to the marketing page. So it's, you see, a lot of time books will have a marketing page where they share the links and how people can access the rest of their work. Now you'll notice in the rectangle at the top, you notice the branding is all the same. Those air all five by eight journals. And they have ways to record those four writing props, and I have a little training in the front and a little marketing in the back, and then the bottom books in the bottom rectangle those air all eight by 10 and those air workbooks and you'll see the bottom right, three to the right. They all have similar branding. It's a 30 day challenge, and all of those have courses to go with them. So what you do is you create subsequent journals. If you want to have them be part of a Siri's, find a way to tie them together in the title by having the title section, the name of the author section, maybe the color, the color of thing. Emily's. However you tie it together because so that people you don't want the colors to be. You don't want the covers to look exactly the same because people will think it's the same book. So you wanna have the format and then switch it up with images and different words. And so it looks like different books. But yet it looks like part of a Siri's because you'll sell more books that way because people will want other books in your Siri's. So you do have access to these slides so that you can refer back to them for ideas for when you create your own workbooks in journals 8. Inside Peek of Journal Pages: And then here are the journal pages. This is from the Book Marketing journal. I showed you an example of a different journal earlier. This one has different writing prompts tactics that are working results. I am experiencing what I did to market my book today. It doesn't say today cause I didn't have room and I wanted to be on one line. So I said what I did to market my book and then what I am grateful for and I really thought about OK on the topic of book marketing, what would be really useful? What would be the top four things that would be really useful for the users of this journal and let that guide you so that it really becomes a useful resource for your readers. And you can create just a book, just a journal, just a workbook, any of the two or you can create a set of three. So on the far right hand side, I have my book 21 ways to launch a successful virtual book tour. It's a step by step book. What I did is I based my workbook and my course on that book, but it's not it doesn't look. The branding isn't exactly the same because it is not a replication of the book I drew from the book, but it's not a replication, so that's why I didn't brand it with the exact same colors. However, the Journal in the middle, it's a little smaller, so I show there a little bit smaller and that has those journal pages like this where the book on the left is the workbook that goes along with the course, and then you can sell them as a set from your website or from or from, etc. I believe on Amazon. You can even sell books as a set. I'm not sure I know you can sell them as a set in kindle. However, you do not want to offer workbooks for journals as Kindle books. That is against Amazon's policies, because people can't print them off, and it would be frustrating for people. However, there may be a way to bundle books. I'm not sure that would be worth looking into. If you want to sell a set on Amazon, you can also cross reference in at the beginning and at the end of each book to cross reference your other publications. I'm hoping that this is gonna is I'm hoping that this is sparking ideas for you. So what you want to do is you want to create pages that set the stage. So on this left hand side, it says, set your intention. And so, at the beginning of the journal, I'm asking them what excites you most about dot, dot, dot Whatever your topic is, this happens to be a journal on virtual book tours. But they have a way to capture their enthusiasm, and I'm setting the stage and letting them know this is a topic to get excited about. So what do you excited about? So rather than just diving into teaching and doing and working, I want toe get people emotionally invested. So what on your topic can you do to get people emotionally invested in your topic area? And I think that will help them take ownership of the book that they just purchased, or the course that they're taking because they, they had to dive into their feelings and think about what am I excited about? And then then you can even have if you have a Facebook group or live calls. You can then discuss this in this again brings it to life even further. And then they're setting the stage in the second question, what would you like to accomplish in the next 30 days? You're giving them a specific focus 30 days this in help and then helping them develop a 30 day plan. What do you want to do in the next 30 days? So, in an activity that I talked to you about earlier, I had suggested that you give thought to What do you want to accomplish over the course of the next year? Then, once you have that thought in place, look at those goals. Look at that goal and decide what can I do in the next 90 days to help me reach my yearlong goal? So what you're doing is you're walking people through, like stepping stones, step by step through a journey, and then I have another question that will get them it, stirring up their emotions and helping them gain to have ownership over this process. And it says, What will it be like to reach and connect with more readers who are interested in your topic area and again. This is a book on virtual book tours, and so that is what the focus is of this journal, and so I'm just setting the stage for them. So it's kind of like I'm putting gas in the engine and helping them to start the motor. So having those type of introductory pages that gets people excited before they have to, like, pull up their shirt sleeves and grab their shovel and dig into the into the meat of the content and then on the right hand side, this is a great example of a journal page or or a workbook. Pages is that happens to be in a journal, and that is provide ways for people to track their activity and their results. So offer a virtual book tour. They're going to be visiting a lot of different blog's and a lot of different podcast. And so I created space between each section. So it's clear that each of these is a different experience where they can capture each of their tour stops and all of the things that they need to prepare for each tour Stop. So you see how having that big space between eight section makes it so. It's not crammed together and overwhelming, and yet it separates the content enough to make it easily accessible. So as you're creating your journal and workbook that you first want to get the ideas out and onto paper, then what you conduce Oh, is step away from the car. Go have some tease, you know, go away for the, you know, go away from the computer for the day, Come back the next day or the next work session and look at it from the viewpoint of your readers. Is it clear what I'm asking? Does something need to be defined? Is something missing? So I showed you on an earlier page. I felt like it was missing to say I'm not sure yet. So those are the types of things you want to look at and try to put on the hat of being one of your students to make it crystal clear so that you can enhance their journey and make things easy for them. 9. Action Steps: I want to provide you with some action steps. I would encourage you to do some brainstorming. Give thought to the type of journal or workbook that you'd like to create. Will it stand alone, or will it be a companion toe A course or a book? So here there is that little trick. Just a little line there. Doesn't it make you want to check off one of those? So that's one of the keys of a user friendly journal or workbook is it? Encourages people to want to dive in and right and check and and circle things. What topic are you thinking of for your journal or workbook? What will be the main purpose of your publication? Will it be course content will be a companion with stand alone. Will it be your first book that you've published on Amazon so that you get presents up on Amazon? Is it more than one of those things? And if you need more space, obviously you can add more paper or flip the paper over, and then this is important. What will readers gain by using your publication 10. Demo: Create Content in Canva: So what I did is I took the slide at the beginning and the slide that I just went over the action steps for that. I just went over and I turned it into a worksheet. So what I did is so I went over to can va and I created a an 8.5 by 11 piece of paper. So for those of you who are new to Campbell, let me just show you how I how I did that I'll go to Ah, can va You set up a free account over on Campbell. When you log in, you get to your main page here and then on the top, right where says use custom dimensions. Click on that. I'm gonna type in 8.5 by 11. Actually, you need to pick inches first because I'm gonna choose inches, and it's going to change things here. You want to make sure it says inches and then 8.5 by 11. If you're gonna be publishing this, maybe you wanted to be eight by 10 or five by eight. But I'm gonna make thes 8.5 by 11 because these are going to be worksheets that go along with our content here today. And then I click design and that will open up a blank page. So then what you can do is you can put Let me just go back to my other page here. All right? So what I did is I added a text box at the top. So how I did that was a go over to text, and I just clicked on this heading text, and I dragged this to the top and I wrote my title centered. It wrote my title, and then I chose the thought that I wanted Then I have my text box in the middle. So I put my cursor in the middle of that page and I clicked on this second level subheading text. I dragged this up here and you can see the crosshairs go, that it's centered. And then what I'm gonna do is drag this out, but I'm gonna eyeball it and you can I don't know if you can see it, but I see a number where says 4 95 by 46 let's see, with this will give me a 40 46 as well so that shows me that I have my even margins. And then this is 24 point font. So bring that down to maybe 18. And this font in the center I will left justify. And then what I did is I copied the text on the slides that I showed you, and I just did a little bit of different formatting and turned it into a worksheet page. Now you'll notice here that I have the same number of lines for each question. That's that continuity that I was talking about. And I have the same amount of space between each question, and that makes this me just make this a little smaller so you can see the page at a glance , so that just makes the worksheet just a little yummy. All right, so then to create even more interest, what I did is I added clip art. So the place I go to for Clip Art is open clip art dot org's and this is public domain, and you could just type in flourish or whatever it is that you want, and then you can click, and then what you want to do is you want to download. If it's gonna be in a book, you wanted to be a big image because you want it to be high resolution. If it's going to be on a slide, it doesn't need to be his high resolution or if it's going to be for printing out on their computer to print out. So maybe it'll be a medium type of image. William, you can play with that. But if you're gonna publish it on Amazon, you want the highest resolution where it says big image. You don't want this download that will download it in a different file format. You want the P N G, which is in ah, image format that can be used on a lot of different platforms. All right, so what I did was go back to our blank page. I downloaded some of the flourishes, and then I uploaded them. I clicked on up loads here on the far left, upload your own images, and I uploaded this pencil and then you have this little circle at the bottom. I'm gonna just spin that around. I made it a little smaller, and then what I did is on the top right here. This checkerboard. I just made it a little transparent, and I brought it down to about 20. And I'm paying attention to that number because if I add other flourishes, I wanted to have the same level of transparency. And then I thought it would be interesting. Toe have a corner type image. So here's a corner type image. I'm gonna find that little circle here at the bottom when a flip it around when a drag it to the bottom corner. But I'm gonna leave a little bit of a margin, and then I'm going to just drag this down so it fits there in the corner. I'm gonna click on this checkerboard, and I'm gonna bring that transparency down to that same 20. So it has the same level of transparency as my other image. And then when you put it all together, there you are. So you have access to this worksheet. You can print this out and start brainstorming about your first or your next journal