“I can’t predict how reading habits will change. But I will say that the greatest loss is the paper archive – no more a great stack of manuscripts, letters, and notebooks from a writer’s life, but only a tiny pile of disks, little plastic cookies where once were calligraphic marvels.”
I confess: I have a bit of a notebook addiction. I love notebooks, with all those clean pages waiting for me. An empty notebook has endless possibilities; it seems to symbolize everything I love about writing.
I used to use cheap notebooks and try to keep different notebooks for different things, but I found that I’d forget what was what and I’d jot things down while I was out and about, then forget to put it in the notebook used for that purpose. Now I try to use just one at a time. Well, a notebook and a journal, though the notebook turns into a journal at times.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve stopped viewing nicer notebooks as an indulgence. I may not be making tons of money writing, but that doesn’t make me less of a writer. And for a writer, a notebook is a tool. Tools should fit the job being done. A carpenter wouldn’t use a shabby hammer, bought for cheapness. He’d probably use a hammer that was well-constructed, that fit his hand, and was made from sturdy materials. Once I started looking at it that way, I started buying notebooks I actually enjoy.
I love new notebooks, but I also love all things vintage. Etsy is my personal candy store, and I love searching for upcycled notebooks, make from all kinds of “trash.” I try not to go on and look at notebooks because I can buy them the way other women buy shoes. I gave a friend a upcycled notebook once, and she didn’t “get it.” I later learned that she does not like used things and it would never occur to her to buy from a thrift store. My husband says he finds them “distracting.” Personally, I think they have character and help my creativity.
I tried using the “notes” section on my iPhone for this, but it just wasn’t the same. I don’t feel as creative typing notes into a smartphone as I do using a good pen and writing down my thoughts. I can doodle. I can draw lines and arrows, things that don’t work on an iPhone or iPad. When I sit down to formally write, I definitely prefer a computer. But for notes, I’ll stick with a notebook.
“Insights don’t usually arrive at my desk, but go into notebooks when I’m on the move. Or half-asleep.”