Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Notebook jonesing

I've been on a massive stationery geek kick lately.  One reason for this might be that I'm slowly getting my writing process in order.  (I know that sounds terribly fartsy and pretentious, but to be honest, I'm not capable of being very fartsy and am just trying to get a system going so that I can write consistently and know where I'm going with it.)

I love looking into people's notebooks and getting a glimpse into not just their thoughts but how they organise them, and so I thought I would share my system with you a little bit.  Ever since I read this piece called The Three Notebooks Every Writer Should Keep, I've been trying to adhere to their recommendations.

These are the three tools I use for writing (not counting my personal diary and organiser and so on, of course).  I use my laptop to do a writer's exercise called "Morning Pages" which was recommended by a classmate of mine.  Basically every morning, as soon as I wake up, I roll over, boot up and write two pages of stream-of-consciousness rubbish.  It's taking a lot of getting used to because I have to delay the start of my day by about twenty minutes, typing furiously in bed, but I'm hoping to get some interesting ideas from it and I can already see that morning thoughts are less guarded and more free flowing than thoughts you'll have throughout the day.

I use the Snoopy moleskine as a notebook on the go.  I pop it in my handbag and scribble down things that come to mind.  It's recommended that the moment you hit upon an idea, you scribble it down so that you don't forget it.  I do think this is great advice as I'll often think of an interesting storyline as I'm walking down the road and then five minutes later, to my great frustration, it will have slipped away.  Unfortunately, this can also make you look all stuck up and fartsy, whipping out a pretentious notebook to write pretentious things in front of friends, but hey, if it helps me keep my ideas, I'll do it.

Above is an idiotic drawing I did to try and figure out what "Ninety-nine times as high as the moon" physically meant.  Not much maths smarts there I have to say.

I'd earlier posted about my Snoopy moleskine here, but believe it or not, neglected to look into the back pocket until recently (some moleskine user I am!) and found these adorable stickers!  HUZZAH!

The "World's Storyteller" notebook was a present from my mother who got it from the BBC (long story).  It is one of THE MOST AMAZING notebooks I have ever owned and unfortunately I don't know if I will ever be able to get my hands on a similar one.  Never have I seen a free notebook with such beautiful paper in it.  There is a lovely light grey grid across the paper which is so hefty and creamy and thick that I wouldn't be surprised if it was 100gsm or more.  My moleskines have nothing on this beauty.

My only issue is the spiral which makes it very hard to write on the facing pages, so like a true notebook nerd, I'm using up all the left-hand side pages till I get to the back (I'm a leftie), then flipping it upside down and going back to front.  Hey, I never claimed to be sane.

I'm using this one as my proper writer's notebook.  Above, is an example of a fun character sketch I'm doing for one of the characters I'm writing right now.  The purple ink represents physical traits and the blue ink personality traits.  I'm not neat in person but in my notebooks, I'm downright anal as you can probably tell.

The post-its are how I storyboard right now.  It's a good system so far because I can move things around without them flapping around on the wall in front of me.

Another reason for my recent jonesing streak might be that people keep sending wonderful things my way, for example, this beautiful notebook with gold animals inlaid into the cover from one of my best friends, Becky. I especially like the greyhounds and the very intelligent looking foxes on the bottom of the book.  I once ran into a fox on a country road (literally) and it looked just as intelligent as all that.

Becky and I have known each other for over ten years and she never fails to pick beautiful things out that absolutely suit my tastes.  This notebook didn't just come with the lovely owl-printed pages, but also a handwritten message (with Secondary School glitter pens no less!) that made my heart flutter just a little bit.  Thank you my dear, sweet, partner in crime!

I thought I would end this post with something crazy. 

If you, my friend reading this, are as addicted to stationery and writing as I am, I am about to provide you with some Grade A smack.

Over the past few days, I have been bookmarking sites which I can turn to for inspiration and an energy boost.  I know it sounds crazy but when I'm flagging a bit on the writing front, there's nothing like looking at some paraphernalia to wake me up again.  If I sound insane right now, please pretend you haven't read this post and scroll right on to the next one.  Thank you.

1) Notebook Stories

This is a great aggregator site (shut up, spell check, "aggregator" is totally a word) which continues to review notebooks and ink that are coming out on the market.  More than that, however, it's a site with heart - it has regular features on notebook addicts, tells stories about the notebooks of famous people and tries its best to field questions from the paper fiend populace.

2) Doodler's Anonymous

I cannot explain to you how fast this site makes my heart race.  But maybe I can demonstrate:

All picture from http://www.doodlersanonymous.com/

This site basically features everyone from amateur doodlers to full blown artists, some of whom blow my mind.  I love the last picture in particular, drawn by an outstanding cartoonist called Jim Bradshaw.  I love notebooks that look like this, well-filled, wonderfully drawn and, dare I admit it, still with some semblance of method in the madness.  If you are even the slightest bit interested in art, check it out.

3)  The Well Appointed Desk

 All pictures from http://wellappointeddesk.tumblr.com/

This website is like the Ikea of stationery.  One look at some of the beautifully put together workstations, novelty notebooks and writing implements and I feel like getting down to work right away.  If you visit their site, please, please do yourself a favour and click on the archive link in the left sidebar.  They are put together in a way that is, no other way to describe it, delicious. 

You'll find everything from tools of the trade to the people who ply it here.

4)  Anna Rusakova's moleskine

This is one of the many artists I have discovered from The Well Appointed Desk.  I love notebooks (OBVIOUSLY) and there is nothing I love more than seeing them well-used, well-loved and filled with talent this way.  I really enjoy Rusakova's fine, sensitive drawings that manage to be both precise and quirky.  If you like the example above, go ahead and click on her link.  You have an afternoon of oohing and aahing ahead of you.

I've got several other sites in mind, but I thought that was what I would share for now.  If you have any suggestions for similar sites, I would LOVE to hear them.  Please feel free to share! 


Michelle's Style File said...

Some cool sketches!!


Anonymous said...


Hello My Dear Shuli!!!!!!!
I MISS YA and really wish I'm with ya... Hee... ;P

The writer above reminds me of you.... take a look? :P


Shoe said...

@A.M. - Aww thank you!!! I miss you very much too! How are you? I did read the post - she's very honest about her thoughts as well (at least I'm hoping that's what you meant?).. how did you find her?

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