Notebook for taking away

by Amanda Fleet

I'm about to head off to the wilds of Scotland for a short break. Whatever the weather (and the Outer Hebrides can throw four seasons in one day at you, sometimes several times over), I will have a notebook on me at all times.

"Oh, to record your vacation?" you might ask.

No. Well, kind of. I'm a writer. Whereas others might see an interesting rock face and admire the various nooks and crannies or the nesting birds, my brain wonders if it's actually a portal to another world. And while most normal people might note a particularly good café so they can return to it for their amazing scones, if I'm writing in a café, it's more likely that someone nearby looks like an interesting character, or has said something I want to steal and use in a book somehow.

Even if I don't start imagining all sorts of wondrous things from the most innocuous of landscapes, there's something about being away (and especially the Hebrides) that makes my brain freewheel and go to new lands. This can create oodles of notes even on the days when I'm not already plotting a book, but right now I have two more books set in The Realm, a time-travel book, and a whole new series all vying for attention in my brain, so I suspect I will be somewhat overwhelmed with ideas while I'm away. 'Twas ever thus.

A couple of years ago (before lock down...! Does anyone else remember those days?) I road-tested both the Rite in the Rain pocket notebooks and an Alwych medium sized notebook (see my ramblings here). In fact, in the Alwych, interspersed between notes about the holiday are the plans for a book (still not yet written).

At all times, I have a Leuchtturm ~B6 notebook on me - it's the bright green one in this picture:

Nero sells them - you can find them here.

It's a brilliant size - big enough to have decent real-estate (I'm not a pocket notebook lover), but light enough to have in a backpack or handbag (it weighs just 185g including the metal propelling pencil). I suspect this will be the main book lurking in my backpack while we're away.

But seriously, there is also a whole new series banging away in my head. Normally, I would use four B5 notebooks for book planning (slim ones for setting, characters, & plot notes, and a much thicker one for scene-planning). B5 notebooks, while being the perfect size for me to use on my desk, are a teensy bit big to cart around, so I'm planning on taking three slim A5 notebooks in the Lochby case I reviewed a few weeks ago (for plot, setting, character). Depending on how my brain is going (and how much sitting about I have as a result of hubby taking photos - see his work here), they may all be out and about with me. That said, the Leuchtturm and a filled Lochby together weigh ~750g, which although isn't bad, with everything else that's also going to be in the backpack, I may change my mind on having all of them with me. I suspect I will take the Leuchtturm out and about and then transcribe to the A5 sitting at the table outside, with a large glass of wine in an evening!