Some of the notebooks in my day

by Amanda Fleet

This is a company selling notebooks, so it's probably not a massive surprise that the blog-writers for it are notebook-lovers, but I wondered about giving you a peek into my day, to see what I use... the what, where, when, how, why of it. Maybe you'll get some ideas? Who knows?

Obviously, my daily routine varies. Some days are solid "writing days"; others are more involved with caring responsibilities. But let's assume it's a "writing day".

I'm a lark, not an owl, so I'm up early. I feed the cat, I release any mice from the humane traps as far from the house as possible (yes, why do we have a cat...?), make a pot of tea and settle down at my desk.

Notebook/Diary Stop 1: Planning the day

This involves a combination of my planning diary (week to view Box Clever Press A5) and a "daily driver" (as Stu calls them). My "daily driver" varies. Sometimes it's an A5 notebook, but I prefer a pocket-size, and at the moment, I'm using a Clairefontaine squared notebook. Any smallish, inexpensive notebook works though.

The week to view diary has non-writing stuff blocked off and a list of weekly goals. Over my first cuppa, I plan my day in the daily driver. On busy days, I time-box down the left and have a list of stuff to do on the right-hand side of the page. Otherwise, it's just a list of stuff to do. Over the day, the notebook also acts as a scribble pad, where I jot things down (phone numbers, music I've heard and want to look up, random ideas for other books, things I need to remember and know I won't if I don't write them down...). It's about as close to a bullet journal as I get (which I accept isn't actually all that close!).

Why a Clairefontaine? It's small so doesn't take up much desk space. It's got amazing paper. The squares are helpful (especially if I'm time-boxing) and there are lots of pages for not much money! I don't ever keep these daily drivers, so an expensive notebook would be a waste.

Notebook Stop 2: Writing

The day planned, it's time to pour the second cuppa and get on with writing. I do a lot of book-planning in notebooks (see this post for more detail on that) - from big-picture (plot) planning to individual scene planning, to free-writing to get inside a character's head before writing. My favourite size for this is B5 and I have a variety of B5 notebooks for this. Smaller, slimmer ones like the Stalogy for plot/location/character notes. A chunkier thing for scene planning, free-writing and general notes.

Why B5? Why Stalogy? B5 (for me) is the perfect size for a notebook that will live on my desk (or nearby). It's got a good page size (partway between A5 and A4) but not so much it swamps my desk. The Stalogy are amazing notebooks. A good number of pages, and fantastic paper, and I need fountain-pen friendly paper for these books. I wrote more about the Stalogy B5 here.

Notebook Stop 3: Review

After an early start, I've generally run out of steam by about 4pm, but I need to "put the day to bed". I go back through my daily driver and process the day: tick off stuff I've done, add things I haven't done to the next page (I always start a fresh page each day), process any scribbled things to more permanent homes (or cross them out if I no longer need them).

Notebook Stop 4: Journaling

The other part of "putting the day to bed" is to journal for a bit. Some days this might be just 10 minutes of noodling around, thinking over the day and digesting it. Tough days might need more, as might especially good days! At the moment, I'm using the Bomo B5 journal that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago (you can read my thoughts here).

Why this notebook? Again, the B5 size is a big draw and the paper is beautiful. It's also quirky, and I wanted something unintimidating. A really lovely notebook is, naturally, glorious. But for noodling about at the end of a day, writing fairly random stuff or sketching things... I needed a notebook that didn't feel stuffy. The Bomo fits that perfectly!

Notebook Stop 5: Knitting Notebook

I only learned to knit in the last couple of years or so, but now most evenings find me knitting. Often in front of the TV (I'm even managing to knit and watch subtitled things!), but if there's nothing on, I'll stick on a podcast or a radio program and knit while listening to that. And because I'm me, I have a knitting notebook, where I record what I've knitted (sometimes with pictures printed on stickers and stuck in). I'm using an A5 Rhodia dot-grid notebook, because that's what I had to hand, but when I've filled it up, I'll probably use another A5 dot-grid notebook because I'll probably still have lots to hand!

So, that's a peek into my day and what I use on a pretty regular basis. Obviously, I have a gazillion other notebooks in use, but these are the ones I use pretty much daily.