But I hate them, too.
Their white, empty pages glare at me as I approach with my pen. Judging my clumsy handwriting even before I’ve even touched the paper.
What right do I have to tarnish their pristine pages with my notes, scribbles and scratches? My far-from-perfect penmanship will no longer be a vague promise, but a provable fact. Forever will my flaws be visible within these pretty covers. Right underneath their surfaces, my failures will always be waiting for me…
Whew, that got a little dark for a minute there, didn’t it?
To write is to pull our ideas into the real world
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s a bit hesitant when starting to write in pretty notebooks, especially when they were gifts from people we care about.
Many people don’t like their own handwriting, as it is rarely calligraphy. Especially in this day and age, where writing on paper is less and less required of us. We just don’t get enough practice anymore!
It’s such a tempting idea to solidify your ideas in a safe and nice place. Either in order to get them out of your head, or to be able to fall back on later, writing down thoughts and ideas is a great practice to get into.
The crippling self-doubt that comes with instilling something beautiful with fragments of our own flawed personality is an understanding one. But we shouldn’t let it stop us!
Practise doesn’t have to make perfect.
Or, well, perfect doesn’t have to mean flawless.
For one notebook I really like, which I got from my mum on my birthday, I found a silly solution that kind of worked. I had been saving it for ages; not sure for what. For the right theme to come along, the right project to dedicate it to, or for my handwriting to magically improve?
Anyway, I did two things that made me cross the threshold and actually write in it:
- I bought a nice pen. This may sound silly, but this really worked for me. If you use good materials, you give yourself a better chance to succeed. It’s as simple as that. I bought a nice pen that made writing more fun for me, and now at least my notebook doesn’t have seven types of ink in it when you flip through. It’s the little things.
- This one is a bit silly. On the first page, I just wrote an apology for my bad handwriting. To the notebook. I know it might not be conventional, but if it helps, it helps, right? I just took a page or two to introduce myself ( I mean, what else are you going to write on the first page of your notebook? Do you just dive right in? Without introduction?) and to explain the situation. Again, might sound silly, but I haven’t had any qualms writing in it afterwards.
Trying anything is easier when you’ve cleansed yourself of the notion that you have to be amazing at it immediately. Even if it’s something personal like writing in a notebook.
Don’t make it a chore
So I should say, I’m happily writing now, but that’s not entirely true. I did, for a while, but it turns out I’m not good at keeping a diary. First I’m too thorough, then I get on with my life and forget all about it, then I feel like I have to catch up my notebook on what happened before I get on.
Let’s just say I’m still figuring out this whole notebook-business. But I’m always so impressed with people who keep notebooks, who have full ones in their bookcase and write in them every day. I’d like to get closer to that.
And though I’m nowadays pretty good at restraining myself in a bookstore when it comes to buying new books (I really have to finish some first), I can’t stop buying notebooks. I’ve even started giving some away in order to hide this flaw, but… Yeah.
So here’s the plan!
I’ve started to write in some of my notebooks, because at the end of the day, it is what they were made for. To deny them their raison d’être would be cruel.
I’ve got one notebook for just things I need to remember, you know, chores and stuff. I have one for good thoughts and ‘major life events’.
And I have this small one that I bought in Rome, for blog ideas!
The rest, I will find a purpose for, too.
Get writing, people. I mean it.
After the first scary leap, it’s a great pastime to keep notes. It brings me a lot of peace just to jot everything down, instead of keeping it all inside my head. And: it’s great to read back stuff I wrote ages ago!
So if you’re like me, and have a lot of empty paper with lovely covers around, I dare you to take that leap with me. Write down some nice thoughts, some plans for the future, the outline of that story that won’t leave your dreams.
Notebooks are made for notes.
Not text: notes!
That means scribbles, scratches and disorganized garbling.
The important thing to remember is why you write. It’s good advice when it comes to any kind of writing, honestly. You’re probably not keeping a notebook for it to look pretty to others. Keeping a notebook can be about either storing thoughts to ease your mind, or actually keeping tabs of developments, ideas etc. They’re closely linked, but significantly different, too. Ask yourself which one is your reason for writing, it’ll help you in the process.
Or just write whatever you want and don’t philosophize too much about it.
That’s sound advice, too.