I, Notebookist.

Oh, my, how I do love me some notebooks. It started way back in 2005, when I decided to take up journaling the old-fashioned way, writing Daily Pages every morning. At the time funds were very scarce, but I took advantage of a friend’s store discount and splurged on buying a Moleskine – “the notebook of Hemingway, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso…” Like many, I fell into the worry of this book is too nice to soil with my banal scribbles. I remember the fansite Notebookism recommended a particular solution for this feeling: hurl the notebook, as hard as possible, against a wall.

Since then I’ve always had a notebook – in fact, usually I’ve had more than one. There have been times when I’ve had, either in my pockets or in my satchel, up to six notebooks total. Why would I possibly need all of these? Well, let’s see:

  • In my breast pocket was a small Fieldnotes memo book, usually graph paper. This was my ubiquitous capture – for the notes that had to be written down NOW. The gift of a Colors subscription to Fieldnotes was one of the best presents I’ve ever received – I highly recommend it.
  • In my jacket pocket was a homemade midori-style leather notebook with two more Fieldnotes memo books tied into it. One was blank-page style, filled with sketches. The other was lined, designed for more deep thoughts, lists, etc.
  • In my satchel, if I was traveling, you’d find my daily journal – an acid-free archival paper notebook held in a leather cover. I’ve had a lot of versions of the daily journal – my progeny are going to have fun with that – but this one seems to be the most satisfying.
  • If I was at a convention, I would likely have my Sketchnote Book with me – a laboratory notebook that a friend who worked for SpaceX gifted me. It’s giant, it feels totally scientificky, and I love the space it gives me to sketch workshops or ideas.
  • After a memorable talk with Mike Rohde I decided to give the Baron Fig notebook a try. This is my daily notebook – filled with notes from my coding class, meetings with life-makeover partners and mastermind groups, brainstorms, class outlines, and occasionally more sketches.

While I do like a lot about the Baron Fig – and the very-similar but totally-purposed SELF journal – I suspect when it’s full I will be going back to the moleskines. Why? There’s just something about the feel of them that I love, the way the cover goes from black to covered with stickers over the months that I use it, and the feel of the paper and binding that appeals.

How about you? What are your favorites for writing, drawing? Do notebooks have a special place in your life? If not…I heartily suggest you give them a try. They can change the way you look at the world. As the Fieldnotes slogan goes: I’m not writing it down to remember it later…I’m writing it down to remember it now.


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