Use your hair dryer to blow dry your gesso. Don't hold the tool really close to the page but far enough that the page will dryer sooner than later. Dry both sides of the page so that the dampness will go away. I hold the page up with my hand and blow dry the side I gessoed and the other side that is not.
Don't feel like you have to use every page in your journal to paint and paste. I use paper clips before painting, deciding how many pages I want to use in the journal. I then paper clip the pages and gesso all of the pages at one time or take my time and do one spread, dry it with the blow dryer and lay out for a day or two. You can then work on this spread, or decide to gesso another two pages and so on and so forth. It is all up to you. That is what is so neat about doing a journal, being a mixed media artist and collage and painting your pages. You can do what ever is on your mind and heart.
A journal is a great place to place your heart and thoughts. A journal does not have to be shown to anyone and it can be just for you. You may have special journals that you display and others you just put away. You decide. This one I am working on will be a display to teach and show methods to others.