My first few notebooks were non-descript. I don’t know who the manufacturer was nor did I care. I was in to aesthetics. Did it please my eye? Was it pretty? Hey, I was a young woman, that’s what we do.
I almost lost my mind when I bought my first Moleskine. They were pricier than anything I had purchased in the past, but my life changed when I realized that notebooks like these existed. They only came in black (lined and unlined) but I had never written in anything so fantastic. When the first color one came out (red) I thought Christmas had come! I packed these books from margin to margin and top to bottom. I wrote sideways in the margins to maximize room. I no longer just put poetry in them, I put everything I could, from journal entries to quotes. My first Moleskine’s are pages and pages of chaos. I don’t think I used a table of contents either.
I discovered these notebooks in the early/mid 2000’s. Since that time, they’ve added colors and variations to the same notebook. I have recently discovered Leuchtturm1917 notebooks. I rotate between these two brands exclusively.
Now that my budget isn’t so tight, I can buy them when needed, and I don’t have to cram the pages. Actually I now have a notebook buying addiction. I have a surplus.
I spend between 2-6 months with one notebook. The average time spent with one is 3 ½ months. I date them on the outside, so I can easily find what I need. When I first started using them, my thought was I’d go back to them and use them in my writing. (I had started using a table of contents and hand numbering pages so I can find things easier. Now-a-days some Moleskine’s and all Leuchtturm’s have a TOC and page numbers). That was the master plan, but it seemed I rarely went back to them. Until recently.
Now that I’m concentrating on writing personal essays I am relying more on these notebooks. I can remember timeframes as to when events occurred, so I just pull out a notebook or two that has the needed dates. One thing that I learned is I cannot rely on my memory. The journaling in these notebooks have more color and detail than I could ever remember. During one of my re-reads, I had forgotten a lot that happened. I remembered the big chunks of pain, not the tiny fissures that lead up to it. These fissures add texture and depth to the essay. I was fascinated (and impressed) at my own foresight. I wasn’t trying to put every moment of pain down on a daily basis, it just happened.
There is a down side to this. Now that I know I was so clever, my currently journaling may be affected. I try to write in stream of consciousness as to avoid any purpleness. I have to capture the feeling as I’m really feeling it at the moment I’m feeling it.
I know writers who don’t keep a notebook, electronically or otherwise. To each his/her own. For me, it’s a tool. Not just for later use, but current use. I write ideas, stories, journal entries, vent sessions, anything and everything. I even clip some photos from time to time. Everything I put in these books I look at as something I can use down the line. I just don’t know when orhow, but everything in my life is bound to end up in something I write.