If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER leave the house without a notebook. Ever. Your notebook is your weapon against the loss of ideas. It is the lifeline between the crazy nonsense in your brain and your next blogpost, short story, or novel.
All day long, thoughts swim around in your head unnoticed, and these are the birthplaces of ideas. There is a very fine line between a benign thought and an idea, or even the idea, better still The BIG Idea. A thought can become an idea at any time, day or night, regardless of where you are or what you’re doing. While you’re in the shower with shampoo in your eyes, for example. Mine often occur when I’m out walking the dogs, and I’ve lost many stories and books due to the absence of a notebook.
Ideas rarely turn up when your living space is tidy, you’ve completed all your jobs, have made yourself a cup of tea and are sitting at your desk, staring at a blank page, primed and good to go. In my experience, this kind of logical, methodical and sterile scene-setting only repels ideas. Ideas do not like logic and they loathe convenience.
Ideas are rebellious, spontaneous and impetuous. As writers, we are at the mercy of the little fuckers, and must embrace their unpredictable nature by arming ourselves accordingly. You can always use your phone, of course, but many of us (myself included) still prefer to work with good old fashioned pen and paper scribbles.
As you can probably tell, I bloody love a notebook and usually have several on the go at any one time, for different projects. Some of my favourites are pictured above. I like a minimalist look and they must always be lined. Squared, as in graph-paper type-thing is also acceptable, and can feel a bit edgy and retro. But as far as I’m concerned, an unlined page feels too open and vague.
Muji have an excellent selection, in terms of look, format and value. In fact, their stationery in general is the best I’ve found, especially their clever eraser-pens.
As well as my Muji collection, I always carry a diary. I started the year with the MsLexia Writer’s Diary. It was great but they’ve discontinued it so in September, after a bit of research, I found this Mark’s Inc academic one and IMHO it’s better. It’s A5 which is preferable for my needs and the layout is much more user-friendly, with easy tab system, monthly planners and good-sized daily columns. There’s a ziplock pocket on the front, which is useful for the daily to-do list and three business-card slots at the back.
Ok. That’s ’nuff notebook nerding from me for one day. I’m not being facetious or even slightly ironic when I say I’d love to hear about your favourite notebooks/diaries. My fascination with all things stationery is genuine and borders on the perverse. Leave your comments/concerns(!) below.
Thanks for reading!