I hate working on a plain white page, even when I'm drawing I tend to go through my sketchbooks and tone my pages with watercolor or gouache. I like how it changes the texture of he page and leaves me with something more interesting than plain white or cream. Youtuber ricefz uses ink pads and brushes to create a soft toned background for journaling.
A toned background can also help get you past that scary "white background"syndrome so many of us have. I hate working on a plain page. The white page can be so intimidating, especially if you buy a really nice handmade journal. Last night I was starting on a journal that my friend Jen made for me. (Hardy Boys Salvaged book cover!!!) I was exhausted so I went through the first half of the journal and gesso'd the pages. Gesso is not a must do step for me. I like it but it limits the pens I cna use on the page- I find it's very rough on nibs and ruins them fast. So I stick to sharpies on gesso. I then went through the book with some colored acrylic (making memories brand- purchased on clearance) and added a touch of color to some pages, planned out an entry on one page but really randomly added color to the pages. After taht I added a touch more color to the page with my watercolor crayons. Mostly I added those becuase the acrylic tends to stick if I don't add something a little waxy to the top of them. So now I have a super cool journal about half filled with simply colored pages, ready for me to write and glue and pain in.