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:

notebooks

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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