A Journal Habit

by Stuart Lennon

I’ve written several times about keeping a journal, both here and at my blog stuartlennon.com

At one stage, I was keeping multiple journals, analogue and digital.

Thankfully, I’m down to one now, and I have been keeping it consistently. My secret?


More than anything else, this is what keeps me on track. I write my journal at the same time, in the same place, every day. I’m an early riser. And every morning works the same.
I get up, and empty the dishwasher (probably my sole contribution to the running of the home). Then, I make a coffee, sit at my kitchen table, put my airpods in and complete “The Daily Calm”, a ten minute meditation. Finished, I write my journal. Simples. The routine actually begins the night before, when I pack a bag at work (my office in the basement) to commute home (climb the stairs). In the bag goes my journal and my pens.


First up, the journal. Which we don’t sell at Nero’s. It’s a Hobonichi Techo, which I buy either direct from Japan, or from The Journal Shop. Why don’t we stock it? Hobonichi only allow stockists with a physical storefront to sell their goods. It’s policy. I assume they know that the stockists actually complete most of their sales online, but it’s the thought that counts, right? I never understood the thinking, but it looks even more short-sighted in a pandemic world. Still, the world of stationery is prone to a bit of managed scarcity.

Anyway, the Techo is a lovely piece of kit. Page per day in A6, made possible by the extraordinary thinness of Tomoe River Paper. There are all sorts of lovely covers and a myriad of accessories. I buy a new cover each year, black on the outside, with something that I fancy on the inside. Last year was orange, this year is blue. I don’t use all the plannery-bits, just the day per page.

As it’s Tomoe - I use fountain pens. The Techo cover has two loops for writing instruments, but as this commutes, albeit just up the stairs, in a bag, I’m loathe to have my pens unprotected, so I don’t use them. I carry four pens in my Lochby Quattro, which Nero’s does sell. Four is my magic number for inked up pens. I rotate through them in the journal, although sometimes my current favourite will get the majority of the work. The quattro keeps them safe and protected. It’s one of those items that is absolutely perfect for what it does.

Somebody will ask - so the current rotation is, Pelikan M805 Stresseman with a Broad nib. Sailor Pro Gear slim with a M nib, Kaweco Brass sport with a M nib and a Kaweco frosted sport with a F nib. The 805 is really too big for this task, but I pull it out from time to time.


What to write? Whatever you please.

I generally note anything significant that got done on the work front, or if something fun happened with the dogs. Whatever comes into my mind. If I was feeling glum, I might note it. Honestly, the entries range from the banal to the profound, depending on how I’m feeling. I complete the previous day, and then begin the current day. So, this morning, I wrote in today’s page;
“Arm still sore, pain centred on the bicep now. But heat and rest are definitely working.”
Hardly Shakespeare is it? I have a frozen shoulder, which has caused me some discomfort over the last few days, but is getting better.
I continue
“Today - UK will be quiet, so perhaps a chance to continue work on workflows, automations and admin. Recording WI and SA.”

That’s it. The rest will be completed tomorrow morning. I’m at my desk now, and the journal is back in the drawer, where it will stay, until I pull it out to put it in the bag and take it back upstairs.

Want to keep a journal? Routines and rituals. That’s the secret.