display of notebook collection

A writer should always keep a notebook. And I do! But what if you keep more than one? What if one notebook simply isn’t enough to sort your thoughts, ideas, projects? Simple: then you keep multiple concurrent notebooks.

The Purse Notebook

It used to be that I had only one notebook, which I always carried in my purse. It was small, so it would fit and not weigh too much. Everything went in there: grocery lists, to-do lists, quotes, brainstorms for an essay. This is where I wrote down people’s contact info, slipped in business cards and appointment slips, and where I kept stamps in a back pocket to be able to send a postcard from a trip.

I never threw them out as I will, very occasionally, look for something I know I wrote down in one of them. Which one, of course, is the question but they do have a chronological order.

Once I developed the habit of Morning Pages, the purse notebook lost importance as the carryall. Nevertheless, I still always carry a small, red Moleskine notebook in my purse. It just lasts a lot longer now because:

My general brain dumps have their own home in the Morning Pages Book.

open lined notebook

This is the most important notebook, the one I take on every trip, even though it is hardcover and thus a bit heavy. But it is my home as a writer. I write in it every morning. Its DIN A4 size determines my two pages of brain dump writing every morning = my Morning Pages. It also holds lists of ideas and plans. It is where I wrote out, tentatively in pencil, my list of priorities and intentions for 2019. I have now indexed them with a “flag” as I refer to that list pretty much every morning when I make my schedule for the day. Which brings me to:

My little black notebook, home to the Daily Bucket List

Read about that in my recent blog post: The Little Black Notebook and the Daily Bucket List Fix to Time Management

And then there is a notebook for every major project in my life.

There’s my Hebrew “machberet” (Hebrew for “notebook”) in which I began doing my homework when I took up studying Hebrew in earnest in the summer of 2015. Now, almost four years later, it’s full. Incidentally, I bought it at The Photo House in Tel Aviv without knowing that that would be its later use. But its cover of the first airline of pre-state Israel seemed appropriate.

There’s the tattered “decomposition” notebook I bought at a college bookstore years ago because I thought it was cool. It’s been home to my notes from any online course I ever took, any webinar I ever listened to, usually on subjects like blogging, photography or book marketing.

There are the two slim notebooks, gifted to me by friends, that currently harbor my notes for each of my two book projects.

And that, I think, is it. Unless you count the notebook I use for the memoir workshop I teach. I almost forgot that one as it lives in the bag I use for that class, and only comes out on that occasion.

So, for everyday use, there are, in my life, seven notebooks! How’s that for compartmentalization?