Keeping a Notebook

I was looking at the Daily Post site, and their ‘Quick Tip’ was at the top of the page, titled ‘Keep a Notebook By the Bed. This is very sound advice I find, and I firmly agree that everybody should do this. Further, I think, those with creative minds should strive to keep a notebook with them at all times.

It’s common knowledge that authors, writers poets and others of the creative art keep notebooks with them so as they are ready to write it down when inspiration hits. I have a lifelong wish to write a book, a fantasy novel. Therefore, as of this year I too have taken up carrying a notebook everywhere. In fact, I have two. One is for the general notes that I accumulate during day to day life. Not groceries, but blog ideas, lists of things I need to do, people I need to contact and so forth. The other, more special one is the notebook I carry to write down anything that may factor in to my story. Whenever I have a new idea, no matter how small, I whip it out and note it down so as not to lose it. When I feel I have enough notes (maybe or maybe not when the notebook is finished) I’ll go through and compile it into the relevant sections – characters, plot, setting and et cetera.

It makes me feel like a more organised person, which in itself makes me feel good. Of course, one of the biggest arguments against the need for a notebook is the smart phone. Note taking apps and other ‘productivity’ apps like evernote are beginning to take over from the physical. Thing is, technology is tricky stuff, and a notebook is infallible. I promise you, a piece of paper isn’t apt to delete your writing, or lose it in amongst a corruption of data. Sure, technology is great and it’s come a long way. However, it’s still prone to errors in the way that a hard copy isn’t.

Also, writing in a notebook is just damn cool. Especially with a fountain pen.

I use evernote. Well, slightly less now I have my notebooks, but I still use it to list my wishlist, list of inks to buy, birthday presents to buy and so on. The reason for this is that I can easily add and remove text as I wish. This is harder with a hard copy notebook. Sure, you can cross it out, but no matter how neat that is it still won’t be perfect. The things that are likely to chamge tend to go on evernote, though I have barely used it since I started using notebooks.

The points that the Daily Post makes for keeping it by the bed at night are simple:

– You get into bed.
– You have a Great Idea for a post that will go viral, transform the national discourse, get you a book deal, and possibly also solve the hunger crisis.
– You think, “I could get up and jot this down. But I’m tired, and surely an idea this momentous will not disintegrate into the ether of sleep.”
– You sleep. The idea disintegrates.
– You wake up, think “Dang,” and write a post about why the Homeland finale was so awesome.
– The national discourse remains unchanged.

It’s a fair point to be honest, but the majority of my ideas get lost in the daytime in the hustle and bustle of life. I’m not an easy sleeper, and need some ambient noise to help me sleep. Despite the fact that I’m often awake during the night, not much inspiration tends to hit me at that time.

Finally, I’ll give you the two types of notebook I have. My general notebook is a Rhodia Webnotebook Pocket. It’s a pocket (A6) notebook with 90gsm Clarefontaine paper (so it takes fountain pen ink perfectly). It’s a smart black little notebook, the paper is off-white (192 pages). It fits in a pocket very well, and is only £7.30 from Cultpens. Perfect little notebook in my opinion, and I’d recommend it to anybody. The ‘story’ notebook is – rather aptly – a Moleskine Limited Edition ‘The Hobbit’ Pocket Notebook. I really love Tolkien, and LOTR is my favourite series of books. Planning my own novel in a notebook inspired from the best of fantasy just seems perfect to me. A word of warning, the paper is 80gsm and not quite so fountain pen friendly, but most people are unfortunate enough not to use a fountain pen, so no matter. Moleskine is the ‘name brand’ of notebooks and is slightly more expensive. In all, the Rhodia is the better quality notebook. The Hobbit one is more expensive, but the standard Moleskine pocket notebook is £9.99.

So indeed, everybody should be using a notebook and carrying one around daily! In fact, I have lied to you slightly. I actually have four notebooks, but the two above are the two pocket ones, and those are relevant to this post. The other two are a Rhodia Large Webnotebook (A5), which is identical but larger to the Rhodia above (see, I love ’em!). The other is a Leuchtturm 1917 softcover medium (A5). I wouldn’t recommend that one is you use a fountain pen, the paper isn’t quite good enough. They’ve got a nice contents page and numbered pages though, so great for organised people. It stands at £10.00.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed this splurge – use a notebook!

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