Notebook Paralysis

I have a new notebook and I’m ready to write. I have plenty of things to write about and plenty of uses for notebooks, but what is this one for? And what are the rules for this notebook? Will I skip the first page? Use only the fronts? Am I assigning a certain pen or ink to this notebook? Is it private? Is it okay to tear pages out? Is it going to be with me all the time? Am I going to keep it forever? Should I fill in the owner information? What should I label the cover? Should I label the cover? Will I write in the margins?

The notebook I’m writing this in has four subjects coded blue, red, gray, and green, as one does. When Chrissy gave it to me I was ecstatic – four notebooks in one, this solves all my problems! Then I took out my Rhodia A5 no skip, fronts only, private, tear okay, always handy, no archive, no cover label, anything goes notepad and starting listing possible categories. It took weeks before I could write anything in here, but that’s pretty good -  I have two notebooks from the ’90s I’ve been moving around the country with, just waiting for the right topic.

Published by Brian

Grappling sometimes, but mostly just trying to get others to grapple.

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  1. Write only on the front. When you read later, you can add annotations on the back. You can also use the backs for scribbles, references, and other notes. Write at the same time each day at least 3 lines. It can be a diary or simple log, something you read, a to “do list” or an “I did” list, drawings, diagrams, math equations, etc. But you must write something. Sometimes constraints help spur productivity.

  2. I just got a Midori travellers notebook passport size and I have been suffering the same dilemma about how to use the notebook and have done nothing more than get the edges of the pages wet from rain in my shirt pocket.

  3. Those are good ideas, Jimmy! I mostly write on the fronts only because I used fountain pens with fairly wet ink, so they tend to bleed through a little bit. Using the backs for notes later is a good idea.

    I try to make it a point to write every day. Often it’s the sort of things I would post here, but maybe I don’t want to say certain things publicly, or upset people, or I’m to lazy to defend the ideas, or whatever.

    My daily writing process is evolving. Most recently I’ve been rolling a D20 to determine how much I should write each day. Some days it’s cruel. Rolled a 20 yesterday. Eventually I’ll get around to writing about that.

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