the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

What sort of notebook do you use?

on May 8, 2012

This post is inspired by Vikki from The View Outside, who drew upon Simon Whaley’s article in Writers’ Forum, to reorganise the way she records ideas for writing into separate notebooks. I have a similar system, which I’ll share with you here. I am a prolific note-maker:  to do lists, shopping lists, birthday lists, packing lists you name it, I make a list.  I use reporters’ notebooks for all household things and rip the pages out as I go. But for my writing, I use better quality notebooks.

These are the Moleskin notebooks I carry around with me in case of emergency note-taking. I have two different sizes which are used according to the handbag selected.  The covers are plain and functional.  Bruce Chatwin favoured these notebooks and bought a stock of them to take to Australia when researching his book The Songlines.

This year, I’ve decided to keep a record of all the books I read and note the details in this pretty book given to me by my niece for Christmas. You can find out which book is currently beside my bed and my latest recommendations here.

I keep a set of notebooks that I take to workshops and training sessions.  This means I always know where to go when I need to look something up. I usually secure any handouts into the notebook with a paperclip and keep the pages together with an elastic band.  These notebooks have a perforated line so that it’s easy to tear out pages and file them elsewhere, as necessary.

These are my special occasion notebooks.  I love the ones made by Paperblanks with a tactile cover and magnetic clasps.  I use them to make important notes.  Literary Agent Lorella Belli commented on my notebook, when I met her for a one-to-one appointment. Pity she didn’t like my manuscript as much.  Paperblanks have an interesting website which has a featured artists’ page.  I submitted my details recently, but have yet to hear whether they’ll be published.  You can read about other artists here.

What kind of notebooks do you use?  And why?

9 responses to “What sort of notebook do you use?

  1. I use notebooks but am never so well organised. I love the moleskin ones. I also buy them in museums especially abroad.

  2. I rarely make notes in note books – whenever I can I put them straight onto the computer.

  3. I use a series of notebooks but I find moleskin too expensive – although they are beautiful. I like perfect bound notebooks and prefer ones with patterned covers. It’s essential that I enjoy using the notebook so the quality of the paper has to be good. I really detest a rough finish! I rarely spend over £5 on one. I tend to have several notebooks on the go for creative writing, poetry or short-fiction, and one to note my responses to books I’m reading, or ideas about news and current events. I also keep a list of submissions and outcomes. I probably spend more on notebooks than I do on shoes!

  4. Oooooo, notebook porn *drools*

    I LOVE Moleskines I have to say, but, at the moment, I’m a huge fan of Blott, but Paperchase is right up there too….owwwwww, I dunno, decisions decisions lol

    Seriously Moleskines or Blott…..why? The feel of the paper 🙂 It doesn’t seem to matter what pen you use of those baby’s it just glides 🙂


  5. John Wiswell says:

    I use the blandest and simplest option: the old marble notebooks that cost a dollar or less and get dirtied and bowed like nobody’s business. I started using them in my mid-twenties and grew so fond of their semi-portability that I have no desire to swap to anything else.

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