Notes – Books and Taking

Day 14 – “N” Notebooks 

I have yet to meet a single serious writer who doesn’t have a notebook of some kind perpetually at their side. Whether that be small Moleskine tucked into a back pocket, a journal thrown into a handbag, or a full-sized notebook tossed into a suitcase of a purse (guilty…), a notebook to jot down thoughts and emotions, experiences and observations is an absolute must-have. I envy those who can remember everything with excellent clarity until they get home and can perfectly purge it all out, I’m just not one of them.

Three (yes... three) notebooks I have floating around in my suitcase. I mean, purse. :-)
Three (yes… three) notebooks I currently have floating around in my suitcase. I mean, purse. 🙂

I have a number of notebooks in varying sizes (typically depending on purse size) that are constantly at the ready, throw-and-go style. I’ve had girlfriends make fun of me mercilessly when we are out for drinks, having a girls night, and I randomly reach for my notebook and scribble down something I overheard, eavesdropping into a conversation at the table next to us. I can be quite the bitch during these periods in which I’m swiftly writing away, trying to be as quick as possible so as to rejoin my group. I just want to be left alone for a few moments to get it all down!! 😉

I’ve had so many different types, brands, and sizes of notebooks over the years. Unlike my failed attempts at journaling, these little notebooks nearly always get filled. I’m partial to Foray and Moleskine, mainly because I like how the lines resemble college-ruled paper and extend out to the edges of the pages. I recently discovered a brand called Eccolo (I can get them at our local Staples store) which I absolutely love. They come in a variety of sizes, the line size is just right, and you can chose from any number of covers (I prefer the plain, flexible leather). I may or may not stock up when they are on sale…

These are some of the silly little things I am nitpicky about, but having the right utensils at your disposal really makes a difference! (I’ll discuss this more in my post for U – Utensils). This post was a perfect precursor to tomorrow’s (Outlining) in which I’ll talk more about the notebooks I’ve been using for outlining and plotting my novels.

What kind of notebooks do you prefer? Do you have a favorite size, style, type, or brand? Do you even have a notebook tucked away, or are you the kind of writer who rushes home to get everything down?

Happy note taking! 🙂

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29 thoughts on “Notes – Books and Taking

  1. I like the smaller notebooks…like the ones that are 4×6 or so, and I don’t really mean spiral, but the kind with the black plastic-y fabric edges? Like smaller comp books? I rarely write anything while I’m out, but I keep a large notebook next to my seat at home. Okay, three. I keep three. One for money and lists. Another for organizing my novel. And a third for random ideas.

  2. Christina, I prefer small notebooks for my handbag and I use medium-sized spiral bound with lines for my personal journals at home. It’s important to find what works for us and to keep doing it. I love the picture–cozy. Notebooks are as beautiful as flowers to me.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

      1. Oh, yes, I agree. My husband, daughter, and close friends supply me with most of my blank books–and I happily fill them up. I prefer my flowers to stay growing in my garden. ❀ Happy writing.

  3. I like notebooks, but I would never remember to carry one or I wouldn’t have a pen. Sorry, but I have gone over to the dark side. I use Evernote for these notes. I can get at it from my phone, or any computer I happen to be working on. I know it’s not the same but it works for me.

  4. Notebooks are personal, a book we discover that is perfect for our needs. Never without one. Just need to figure out a solution to things I want to write down while driving….like yesterday where the roadside was filled with tender green leaves, a palate of many green colors.

    1. On my my literature professors told me that when she was working on her dissertation, she had a voice recorder in her car. The best ideas she came up with were while driving; she would record her thoughts and type them up later. Not a bad trick! 🙂

  5. I have several notebooks I take notes in. They are half the size of composition notebooks. One is my daily journal, one for my WIP, one for ideas, one for writing down random stuff that’s always open by the computer, and one for writing out ideas for blog posts and scheduling.

  6. I prefer small notebooks for my purse or coat pocket. However, if all I have is a larger journal, I flip it backwards and write notes at the back. Don’t want to miss even the tiniest of inspiration!

  7. Many moons ago when I first joined the army, my first boss said to me “always write it down, don’t try to remember” and thats always stuck with me.
    I go nowhere without a notebook of some sort, size, shape, form etc on my person, just couldn’t be without one.

  8. Plain old-fashioned composition books are my companion. I used to be able to remember what I thought up for my story, but not any more. Reading what everyone has said, perhaps I should invest in small notebooks for when I go walking. Ideas will come, and by the time I get home, whoosh, they’re gone.

    Lovely post, Christina, thanks.

  9. I have an entire box of notebooks waiting to be used. My favorite for traveling notebooks (as opposed to journals) are Paper Blanks. They come with magnetic or elastic closures, and a neat pocket at the back for little things like business cards or napkins you grabbed when you couldn’t get to the notebook fast enough. 🙂

  10. I’m still sorting out my working system. I like a small notebook for on the go notes (also handy for keeping the kids busy when we’re out and they’re bored!), but at home it’s trickier. I like a big notebook so everything is always in one place, but I really prefer loose-leaf (Mead Five Star lined paper makes me swoon!) so that I can add pages in the middle of things if I need to. And I tend to misplace notebooks or make notes on a project in more than one, so that’s a problem.

    My absolute favourite notebook was a ridiculous splurge. I recently bought an Erin Condren personalized notebook for work purposes, and I think my husband is getting a little jealous of how much I love it. It’s got a monthly calendar in the front (which I’m using for scheduling blog posts, promotional stuff, and production deadlines), blank pages in the back where I can do reference drawings (maps, important plants I’ve created but can’t keep straight in my head, etc), and the most gorgeous lined paper that I’m using for everything from project planning (permanent notes only… no brainstorming or wasted paper in this baby!), production calendar (maybe a little too optimistic), character quick-reference, contacts, promotion ideas and scheduling, a blog post planning page or three, expense and income tracking, etc.

    Basically everything I’m going to want to look back on for quite a while.

    I’ll be doing a post about it and my planner soon, because I’m kind of excited about finally getting organized. 🙂

  11. You’re definitely not the only one. Whenever I buy a new purse, it has to be big enough to fit a spiral notebook. And I can’t wait for the Back to School sales so I can stock up on them. They’re all over the house, in my bag, everywhere! Yes, I get excited about random paper too 🙂

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