Home » Journalism » Zen and the art of using notebooks

Zen and the art of using notebooks

Inspired by a fellow blogger, Derbhile Dromey and her World of Writing blog, I decided to be brave and post about my notebook fetish. It’s ok, the first step is admitting you have an addiction. Bottom line, I definitely don’t need as many notebooks as I have. I probably have twice as many as I actually use and as well as that, I haven’t finished one in a while, because all my work is spread out in different ones.

But in reality, the main problem with the amount of notebooks I keep is that I have a set of pretty ones, which I would consider, “the good crystal” and I want to use them for something nice, not some random scribbled down to do list or groceries or pages to test working pens on (hands up if you constantly have pieces of paper with lines on them from pen testing).

No, these pretty notebooks have to have something equally as pretty in them. If I could draw or was talented at sketching in any way, that’s what one would be for. However, I’m not, so I have to settle for pretty writing or something nice to write. Derbhile’s blog post about notebooks is trying to teach me to use “the good crystal”. That’s what it’s for after all, to be written in. But I struggle with a fear of defacing my beautiful pristine notebook before coming up with the perfect use for it.

Anyway, as I struggle with the concept of using them, allow me to take you on a journey through all the different notebooks I keep. Any suggestions on what I should use the unused ones for are welcome.


Originally used for a short story and then changed it to just ideas for short stories. Hence why it’s ruined with Tippex


My first ever secret diary. With memories far too personal to mention obviously. I didn’t write in it every day so it ended up lasting over 10 years. I’ve had it since 2001.


My bog standard everyday notebooks that have all manners of scribbley notes and shorthand in them.


One of my favourites. It was a birthday present that I have had for six months and is still empty. This is “the good crystal”. Any suggestions?


My new private journal that replaced my now full secret diary from 2001. I’ve only started it in the last year. I wonder how long this one will serve me…


My gratitude book. It’s where I write down all the things I’m grateful for as well as the things I hope to be grateful for in the future. I know there are a few cynics with The Secret but I find it therapeutic.


One of my older “everyday” notebooks before I decided they were somewhat impractical in size. But prettier than what I use now.


A mini notebook I used to jot things down on. Generally things I needed to remember or lists. I planned my 16th party in this notebook.


Relatively new; free with a glossy magazine. I haven’t yet found a use for it. It’s tiny. Suggestions welcome.


I found this gem amongst the rubble of TK Maxx and had to rescue it. Another lovely one that I don’t know what to do with and I don’t want to waste it. I’m probably too precious with my notebooks.


Yet another new one that, for now, remains empty. These notebooks need a purpose.

Another of the older everyday notebooks. The first of it's kind I think when I started college. I used to get them in Paperchase.

Another of the older everyday notebooks. The first of its kind I think when I started college. I used to get them in Paperchase.


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