Things I learned from a notebook; simple is better.
My mother kept notebooks. Lists and plans and notes. From the time I was small I've kept them too. But I've always had an inner struggle. I wage the war of the notebook. Always have. The allure of beautiful, weighty looking notebooks, which I assume will be inspiring to simply own, and all the more, a magic catalyst when I sit down with my pen.
I stand in the bookstore, certain that the more beautiful the book the more likely I'm destined to imbue its insides with all the gravity and appeal of it's outsides. Like osmosis. I'm quite sure the loveliness will lend me credibility when I'm out, jotting things down. People are bound to look up from conversation in the coffee shop and remark;
"Mmm. Look. Important things are happening at the corner table."
"Oh? Why do you say that?"
"Well, did you see that notebook?"
This would be nice, but it is not the case. I know now. There is no magic book to relieve the work of writing. To make the bones of an idea supple with the flesh of a plan.
Worse, When I go to use such a book, with embossed covers or gold edged pages, I become paralyzed by needing what I write down to somehow measure up to the glamour and charm of the cover.
No, what works for me is a simple notebook in some unfortunate shade of flame orange or pond-algae green or just plain black. I can write anything and everything without censure. And wouldn't you know, I have a shelf full of fancy, empty, wasted notebooks who, for all of their charm have done me no good, while my stacks upon stacks of plain, unassuming notebooks are packed full of ideas and lists and plans that I go back to over and over and over. Full of my treasures, the gems of my life.
For years I used only spiral notebooks. Last year I switched to a plain professional moleskeine, and that worked okay, but most recently I've discovered that Leuchtturm1917 dot grid style is best suited to what I need.
Simple. Simple is better.