Field Notes: In and Out

It took me about a month and a half to finish this one. Out: Field Notes Coastal (beautiful edition, but the reticle grid is a bit too bold and noticeable for my taste). In: Three Missions (another winning edition from this year).

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Field Notes: In and Out

Moleskine Looney Tunes Limited Edition Notebooks and a New Moleskine Two-Go

At almost the last minute of my trip to Paris I managed to sneak in a short visit to a Moleskine store, and was caught by surprise by their new Looney Tunes collection. I’m not a rabid Looney Tunes fan, but the Bugs and Wile E. Coyote were too well-designed to pass, and I’m curious enough about any limited edition that couples Tweety, drawing pencils and a sketchbook to give it a spin. These all obviously come with a Moleskine premium, but if you’re remotely into Looney Tunes, I’d recommend them.

I’ve only opened the Wile E. Coyote notebook at the moment, though I have seen the others open in the shop and they are as tremendously well designed as the Wile E. Coyote one is. The endpapers are so colourful and a lot of fun, and they work with the cover design so well.

It comes with stickers of course:

And a cute B-Side band:

Another pleasant surprise was a new cover colour to the Moleskine Two-Go editions, green. The Two-Go notebooks have thicker paper than regular Moleskines, and they’re smaller than large Moleskines, with one side of the page blank and the other side ruled. I use them as my reading journals, and highly recommend them, especially if you were at all fond of the Arts notebooks of Field Notes’s “Arts and Sciences“.

Moleskine Looney Tunes Limited Edition Notebooks and a New Moleskine Two-Go

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

Which Notebooks I’m Currently Using

Vintage Friday: Boxes and Stapler

I love going to flea markets and rummaging for old things, particularly boxes to store stuff like notebooks and pencils, and old office supplies, which are oftentimes elaborately decorated and over engineered.

Three of my latest finds include an old army oxygen mask box, which I am using to store my used notebooks in:

An old wooden box that is currently empty, but will house my Blackwing Volumes pencils, I think:

And a byzantine looking stapler, which is completely non functional (doesn’t accept modern staples), but was too wacky to leave behind:

Vintage Friday: Boxes and Stapler

Olive Traveler’s Notebook

My new Traveler's Notebook arrived yesterday, the Olive limited edition, and I took some time tonight to customise it.

That's my favourite part of starting a new Traveler's Notebook – setting it up, making it my own – and the main reason I enjoy them so much. This is my fourth TN. I have a Camel limited edition from their 5 year anniversary, a black one, and a pocket one. The camel is my most used
one.
First I decorated the notebook it came with, using Windsor Newton gouache. I love ivy and the greenish tinge if the cover inspired me.

I added a leaf charm to the bookmark and slotted in another notebook — an old Midori sketchbook I had laying around.

That's it, now all that remains is to use it.

P.S. I read a review in some site that these TNs have a suede like feeling to them, but they feel like a normal TN to me.
P. P. S. These covers don't stay pristine for long (and that's their charm), so if you're precious about your things, these aren't for you.

Olive Traveler’s Notebook

Biweekly Routine

Routines and rituals are important, and one of the signs of a craftsperson is their care for the tools they use. This is true for any kind of maker, whether your craft is storytelling or leatherwork. Every two weeks I try to go through this routine, to make sure that the things that I use when I write are there and in order when I sit down to do my writing.

Clean keyboard

P1030059

Some computer keyboards harbour more harmful bacteria than a toilet seat, research has suggested. 

A BBC News report published the findings of a consumer group Which? on keyboard hygiene, and not surprisingly they were shocking.

Since your keyboard is one of your main, if not your main writing tool, taking 10-15 minutes every two weeks to clean it doesn’t seem excessive, yet few writers do so.

Here are the keyboard cleaning guides that I use:

PC World: How to Clean Your Keyboard – simple, informative, easy to follow advice on how to clean your keyboard.

Rispter Guide: Cleaning Keyboards – funny, and with plenty of pictures. Also, much more thorough than the PC world guide, and geared towards mechanical keyboard maintenance.

Check backups

You can read up here on how to backup your work. Once every two weeks go over your backups and check to see that everything is where you expect it to be.

Organize notes

Take a few minutes once every two weeks to go over your notes, file or throw away those that aren’t relevant anymore and make sure that you don’t have any loose notes scribbled on envelopes or post-it notes around the house.

Organize file names

If you for some reason work with Word and not with Scrivener (why?), and keep several versions of your work in different files, take a moment to make sure that your file names haven’t gotten out of hand, and you still know where everything is and what everything is. File names “My novel – old new new version 2” — I’m looking at you.

Check notebooks, pencils, pens

Check your notebooks, pencils, pens (fountain pens or not), to see what needs to be refilled soon, reinforced or replaced.

Update Scrivener project metadata

Take some time to fill in character names and short descriptions, places information, references etc. in your Scrivener project’s Characters, Places or Research folders. This information is important to keep on hand for long projects, and is especially useful to keep bundled together with your writing — mainly for search purposes (“where did I reference X character?”).

Biweekly Routine