Help! Notebooks Rule My Life

Hi folks! I was having a think the other day about blog post ideas, and to be honest I was struggling to think of anything. I haven’t been doing a whole lot of reading for a while, and I write so much of my life down in notebooks these days that I don’t splurge quite so much online.

But that led me to the idea of sharing those notebooks with you. And that idea is what led me to the realisation that:


I have seven on the go at the moment, each for a different purpose, and I thought it’d be fun to share what kinds of notebooks I like, how I use them, and the techniques I use to keep track of my life within them. So that’s what I’m going to do in this post! I’ll go through them, rather arbitrarily, in size order.

Desk notebook


The notebook that lives on my desk at work is definitely the biggest. It’s a large  lined softcover purple Rhodia with orange endpapers and pagemarker. It’s an unusual shape for a notebook – slightly shorter and narrower than A4 – which makes it the perfect size to sit at the front of the desk between me and my keyboard.

I use it for my weekly and daily to-do lists, meeting notes, and general work-related jotting – working out the maths on royalty statements, checking contact info, and making note of any reminders to myself outside of my email inbox.

Book review journal


I got this lovely clothbound hardcover notebook from Tiger – now called Flying Tiger, but I don’t know anyone who’s switched to the new name! They stock a whole ton of things – gifts, stationery, craft supplies, kitchenware, candles, exercise tools… the list is endless. The blank pages feel lovely as I flick through to remind myself of what I’ve read recently.

I use templates which I made up myself to trace each page’s layout on as I go – I’m only about seven in so far, but the plan is to do ten double-page spreads at a time so that I’m always ahead of myself. I use this notebook to jot down my immediate thoughts when I finish a book, any reading challenge info, and quotes I liked, as well as the book’s stats, to make it easy for myself when I sit down later to write up my review.

Book events notebook


This is a lovely purple hardcover Rymans notebook, with lined pages and a pagemarker, as well as an elastic loop to hold a pen – as you can see! I love the matte finish on the cover, and the lines are fairly small, so I can get a lot on a page. It’s an unusual shape – longer than A5, and narrower than you’d expect – but it sits well in my lap when I’m scribbling.

I don’t use this one as much as the others, as I only get it out when I’m off to conventions! I like to take really detailed notes and get everything down to refer to later when I go to events like YALC, GollanczFest or Nine Worlds – as long-time blog readers can attest to, it usually takes me a month to write them all up afterwards! So it makes sense to have a dedicated notebook just for those events, otherwise any other notebook would just get swamped with the amount I write.

Bullet journal


For my first bullet journal, I purpose-bought an A5 turquoise Leuchtturm1917 with dotted pages. These are a little on the pricey side, but the pages come ready-numbered, and there are a few blank contents pages at the front to keep track of where you’ve put your notes! It’s also got two pagemarkers, and a pocket in the back. I really like the dotted pages – there’s enough guidance to be able to write and draw in straight lines, but it’s not as prescriptive as lines or a grid – you can do whatever you want!

Originally, I only intended this notebook as a way to track my monthly spending, in an attempt to actually save money rather than having to bail myself out with my existing savings every few months. But since I began I’ve started also using it to track my health and habits – how far I walk, how much I drink, how much I sleep – and it’s really interesting to see everything laid out in front of me. This notebook is about being accountable to myself – it’s realistic, but also aspirational. And there’s also frequent opportunities for colouring in, which I’m always a fan of.

General notebook


I’ve had one of these floating around for a few years now, since just before I started my degree. I use a black Ryman’s softcover notebook, slightly bigger than A6 with blank pages and a pagemarker. I don’t even think they make these any more, and I’m on my last one! But I really enjoy how it feels in my hand – it’s small enough to scribble in while I’m waiting on train platforms, but big enough to still be comfortable.

Essentially, this is my ‘other’ notebook. I use it to jot down blog ideas (though I did at one point have a separate blog notebook), research for novels and interest, observations and general notetaking. I’m even thinking of turning some of those research pages into blog posts themselves!

Cancer diary


A bit more serious, but it didn’t feel fair to leave this one out – it’s not its fault it’s being used for crappy things! I wanted something small that I could take to consultant appointments for note-taking, so this one is an A6 softcover Moleskine with dotted pages. I did slightly resent the price when I bought it, but apparently small dotted notebooks are a fairly new development – possibly driven by the bullet journal preference for dotted pages.

This one’s quite simple, with boxes for each day when something happens so that I can keep track. I’ve also started to include quotes or mantras that have helped me stay calm and process everything – I don’t go looking for them, but I like to have a record of any I do encounter.

2018 diary


My 2018 diary is as small as I could find while still being useable, just a little bit smaller than A6. I like to be able to grab it from my bag and flick through to see what I’m up to without lugging around some enormous thing – I’m carrying enough notebooks as it is! It has a thin clothbound cover, and each double-page spread covers a week, with a small space for notes. I haven’t missed an appointment yet!

And that’s all of the notebooks I’m using at the moment! How do you use notebooks? Do you have loads on the go at a time or only one? Do you have a secret (or not so secret!) stash of notebooks too gorgeous for writing in? Let me know in the comments! I’m always interested in new ways to organise my information!

5 thoughts on “Help! Notebooks Rule My Life

  1. Pingback: Old English Company: World Stationery Day | Rustling Reads

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