The Perfect Notebook

02 Dec

I’m finding it hard to say goodbye to my last notebook. I realise now he might have been just perfect for me:


Stitches on the outside – I love that you can see how he’s made. That thought bubble was so full of promise – asking to be filled but with no false claims. He’s aged well and I like him better for it. Aged by ideas, meetings, hopes, achievements, workshops, figures, prayers and to do lists. My life in simple ticks and now all so shabby chic. I added the Charles Rennie Mackintosh turquoise rose paperclip.. okay it might be just a swirl but I like to think of it as art in stationery form. I need to show you inside too – secret stripes!:


He was with me on my first writers retreat. He held on to me during my first appearance in the Edinburgh Book Festival – I held him high and read. Now it’s over. He’s full so it has to be. Over.

Feels like I’m being unfaithful. He has to watch while the newer, more shiny woodland creatures model takes his place. Touched less and less, needed less and less. Relegated to this shelf, my notebook graveyard:


What exactly am I looking for in a perfect notebook anyway? I’ve been looking for years, how did this one become the best?

Perfect notebook you have to be:

1) Not too fancy

There are writers who only write in moleskin books. If my notebook were that nice, I’d never dare write anything in it – for fear of spoiling it.

2) Not too cheap

There’s the other extreme. If it says ‘A5 Ruled Notebook’ on the cover it has no soul and I can’t take it seriously.

3) Not too big

It needs to be A5 or just below. Mostly because it has to fit in my handbag.

4) Not too thick

I don’t want to lug some hulking brick of a phone directory about everywhere I go. My keys are heavy enough!

5) Not too small

If you’re a writer people buy you notebooks as presents. It is a lovely thoughtful gift. Often they are very pretty and very little and I love looking at these notebooks. IMG_20131202_165401

The problem is they’re just too lovely and quite frankly too tiny to write in. If I wrote and rewrote a poem I’d have to use 16 pages or more of one of these tiny books. How is that sustainable? I’d have millions of little notebooks all over the place all with different things in them and what if I needed to go back to something. Do I just wheel around a trolley full of them in case?

6) Without false claims

If it says ‘Great Ideas’ on the cover I’d feel like I was betraying the book if I wrote anything normal like a to-do list. Plus I’d feel like a show off whenever I took it out of my bag. Writing is hard enough as it is without notebook imposed barriers.

7) Soft but not too soft

This is mainly due to point 4 about weight but I do use hardbacks. I just prefer covers to be somewhere in between solid and flimsy.

8) Lined

My writing is messy. My brain works faster than my hand so in a bid to keep up my writing gets even more messy. I need something to help rein it in. Give me height restrictions at least. Lines are essential.

9) With a little elastic band

I love those bands. Picture going in to your bag to find pages of your notebook have folded in on themselves or worse still there’s a stowaway satsuma skin hiding in there. Elastic bands keep out stowaways and also can be used as a book mark. Multifunctional.

10)  A notebook that makes me smile

I need to love it. I need to want to open it, want to carry it, want to write in it. I will make compromises on some points if point 10 stands. Like my new notebook, there’s no little elastic band. But it’s covered in woodland creatures and right now I’m writing a few things featuring woodland creatures. So I like it enough to get past the fear of potential stowaways:


So now it’s time to say goodbye. What I want to say, beloved blue notebook is you were and are perfect. I’ll never forget you.


Posted by on December 2, 2013 in Writing


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5 responses to “The Perfect Notebook

  1. Sarah PB

    December 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    A notebook blog after my own heart. I received a few for my birthday recently but I still find myself squeezing notes onto the last page of my current beau…I suppose I don’t really want to give it up just yet.

    You are so right about the elastic bands 😉

  2. emilybolcik

    January 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    I can’t leave a book/stationary store without taking a peek their selection of notebooks… It’s an addiction.

    • auntyemily

      January 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      But one that’s good for you! (;

  3. SuddenlyMum

    January 31, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Reblogged this on Suddenly Mum and commented:
    As part of my grown-up job and business, I have been researching notebooks, perfect and glorious notebooks. I am hatching plans and gathering notebooks from the four corners of the earth – but more on that another time. Anyway, I was going to write a post about my quest until I read this wonderful post by Aunty Emily who says it all for me. She sums up the importance of finding the right notebook perfectly and truly writes from the heart – a heart I share. Maybe you do too.
    Reblogged with permission.


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