Using a pocket notebook - 8. Building the habit

by Stuart Lennon
Writing is a habit, like any other.

Presumably, you have a reason that you want to use a notebook. To remember things, to observe, to record or to archive.

We have covered different ways to use a notebook and how it’s OK to evolve that.

However, one thing that you have to do is keep the practice going. How?

1. Carry it. In a pocket, in a bag, wherever you like. Your pocket notebook and your writing instrument need to be with you.
2. Fix a time. Depending on how you plan on using your notebook, you might want to look at it first thing in the morning, or at lunch, or in the evening. It’s worth fixing a time initially, just to get you going, until the habit is formed. I tend to take five minutes with my morning coffee, both to look back at the evening before, and ahead to the day to come.
3. Prompts. If you’re starting a journal, then there will be days when you think - “I have nothing to write.” Time for some Google-fu. “Journal Prompts” will provide you thousands of sources.

Once the habit is formed - you’ll find yourself making notes all the time. I just made a couple watching a rugby match. I wrote - “All Blacks, too passive.” If I’m ever asked to coach the number one rugby team in the world - I have notes to start from ;-)

Personally, I am very forgiving of myself. Whenever I start a new notebook, I immediately make marks on it. Mess it up. Do not allow “Idontwanttospoilit” syndrome to set in. Write anything. Your name for example. I reference it and write a start date. If I have nothing on my mind, then I might doodle something. Sometimes, I write “why don’t I want to write?”

Put a pen or a pencil in your hand and let your mind wander. You might be surprised what comes out.

People ask if I finish every notebook. Mostly, I do. If one if falling apart, I might archive it early, or if I’m heading off for a trip - I might start a new book for that trip. Mostly however, I go cover to cover and then break out a new one. This week, I’m away, so I’ll have my current book and a couple more in the case. I tend to note more when travelling.

Our pocket subscription is quarterly. Subscribers get 6 or so pocket notebooks, which is around one every two weeks, which is about right for most regular noters.

Keeping a notebook should be fun. If it is stressing you, then stop!