Which Notebooks I’m Currently Using

I love reading about how other people use their notebooks and pens/pencils, so I decided to take the time to list what I’m currently using and how:

  • Field Notes Front Page – used in landscape mode with a Blackwing 16.2 to take notes while I work through the third draft of my novel. Something about the format of this notebook appeals to me, especially in landscape mode. I ignore the lines completely (easy to do, since they’re so faint). Also works well while I’m typing, since it’s thin enough not to get in the way. I just put it below my keyboard, a pause to jot a quick note when I need to.
  • Field Notes Dime Novel – I use this as a catch-all and home to do list notebook, using whichever fountain pen I have inked at the moment.
  • Moleskine Star Wars Lightsaber Duel – used as my daily journal, coupled with a Ti Arto with a uni-ball Signo 0.5 gel refill (UMR-85) and a Scotch glue stick to paste bits and bobs in. I’ve been using this combo for about two years now (with different Moleskine lined notebooks), and I couldn’t be happier with it.
  • Moleskine Large Squared  – used as my “bullet journal” at work. I’ve simplified the bullet journal system (removed the calendars entirely) and it’s now a daily checklist + work journal that serves to answer two questions: what am I going to do today, and what have I actually done. Keeps me sane and happy, especially when outages derail my day. I use a Zebra G-301 pen with this that I bought in Atlanta in 2012, and it is still going strong. I go through about a refill every two months, so this isn’t the most economical of systems…
  • Moleskine pocket square reporter – a new one for me. I’m using it to keep a running food journal, using a Retro 51 tornado slim graphite filled with a parker gel refill.
  • Paper for Fountain Pens notebook – together with sheafs of Tomoe River paper, this is what I use for my writing notes, quick drafts, and when I’m working through plot holes. I use whatever fountain pen I have going at the time, usually two pens with two different inks, Neil Gaiman style.
  • Moleskine two-go – I’m using this as my reading journal. I log all the books I read here. Previously I used two Field Notes Arts notebooks, but I ran out of them, so I moved to this. Using a Karas Kustoms grey RenderK in this, coupled with a Caran d’Ache Bicolor pencil to highlight things, and whatever other pencil I have laying around, for extra notes.
  • Baron Fig Three Legged Jester Confidant – using this to track my resolutions for several years now. Used to be my daily journal.
  • Moleskine softcover squared pocket reporter – using this to keep track of story ideas. I write in it with whatever is on hand.

A large pile of notebooks

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Which Notebooks I’m Currently Using

Moleskine Star Wars Lightsaber Duel Review and My Journaling Habit

Yesterday I finished a Moleskine Limited Edition “This is London” notebook. It took me a little less than 2 months to fill its 240 pages.

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My journal is a personal, private thing that I create for myself, both to log each an every day and to process things — from various frustrations to purchasing decisions. It’s a brain outside my brain and it can take a lot more than my brain can oftentimes handle.

This is my second journaling notebook filled for 2018. My first was a Moleskine Limited Edition Denim “Hand Wash Only”. It took me a little over two months to fill (I started in the end of 2017). The Denim Moleskines are probably my favourites ever, which is why I have four more lined up on my shelves. The texture of the cover and the design is just stunning.

And here they are stacked:

I wasn’t sure which Moleskine to use next, so I listed them all and just rolled a dice to see.  The Star Wars “Lightsaber Duel” came up, and it’s a lovely edition as well. Here they are old and new:

I love Moleskine’s new use of the flip side of their wrapping bands. The “This is London” band had lovely illustrations and instructions on how to make tea (this was an exclusive edition for Moleskine London stores).  The Star Wars Lightsaber Duel has illustrations and the Pantone colours of the various lightsabers used in the original Star Wars trilogy.

Look at those endpapers!

And of course Star Wars stickers. One can never have too many Star Wars stickers.

I use a Ti Arto pen with a Uni-ball Signo UMR-85 gel refill, and I fill four pages a day every day. When I started out I filled a half-page, page a day and gradually worked up as I started to get more out of the journaling experience. I write for myself only, I glue various bits and pieces inside my journal (business cards, cool wrappers or fliers, stickers), and sketch in it sometimes, even though it’s lined and not my main sketchbook by far. I use it to plan things, from my running goals to my writing goals, but I don’t try to make it bullet journal/Instagram pretty. It’s a working journal, and it’s first and foremost meant to be a tool, not a museum piece.

I use Moleskines because I enjoy using them and because for some reason beyond me these are the only notebooks that I’ve managed to consistently journal in. I tried Baron Fig, Rhodia Webnotebooks, Leuchtturm, Exacompta, Field Notes, and others and I haven’t been able to stick with them, even though some of them allow me to use my beloved fountain pens. There is just something about these notebooks that makes it a joy for me to use them (and at least when it comes to the LE lined versions, Moleskine has improved its paper stock). I pick up the regular black notebooks for work, but I love a lot of their stunning LE designs, so I splurge on those for my journaling needs.

Which brings me to the bottom line:

Use the notebook that you enjoy using, without giving a damn what other people say, so that you can journal for yourself.

That’s really all there is to it.

Moleskine Star Wars Lightsaber Duel Review and My Journaling Habit