Planning & Journaling

Confessions of a Notebook Junkie

I’m a notebook fiend, a planner collector, and a pen freak. Joyfully, through the mediums of FB, Pinterest, and Instagram, I’ve found that I’m not alone. The Stationary Store Tribe is strong on the interwebs. Office Supply Junkies and Pen Nerds, unite! Just in case there are more of you among us, I thought I’d share my current round-up. These are the notebooks and pens I touch on a daily basis.

Circa, Arc, TUL

My collection of Circa, Arc, and TUL disc bound notebooks have become the mainstays of my daily life. My brain doesn’t work without them. I spend a lot of time writing in them and almost as much time recreating the systems I keep within them. The blessing and the curse of these notebooks is that you can add, remove, and reorganize pages easily. They’re modular and come with all sorts of cover, accessory, and paper options. The three brands I’m aware of are:

  1. Circa from Levenger
  2. Arc from Staples
  3. TUL from Office Depot

I have bits and pieces from each brand and use them interchangeably. So far all the discs,┬ápaper punches, dividers and covers that I’ve purchased from each brand seem to work seamlessly with one another.

I use the large notebook to manage tasks and meeting notes for my job. The small notebook is my writing notebook which currently contains the plot points, images, and character sketches for my WIP.

Moleskine & Evernote

The opened notebook wedged between my office notebook and writing notebook is a Moleskine Evernote Business Notebook. I use this one as my daily journal. I write in it almost every morning. It contains anything and everything that my brain wants to dump onto the page at any given moment:

  • morning pages
  • brainstorms for fiction
  • ideas for the blog
  • coaching notes
  • favorite quotes
  • records of daily tarot or oracle readings
  • class & study notes

The idea is to capture whatever, wherever, whenever. I carry this one with me in my purse every day. I capture the thoughts and ideas as the spill out and sort things out later. I can scan the pages into Evernote so I also have an electronic set of notes that I can access on my iPad, iPhone, laptop or PC.

iPad & Apple Pencil

I like to be able to access everything anywhere so I carry my iPad with me every day. I use Evernote to access the pages from my journal. And my writing notes eventually make their way into Scrivener. With the addition of the keyboard and Apple Pencil, the iPad is a near perfect laptop replacement. I can read, doodle, take notes, take classes, edit pictures, write, research and search the interwebs for more pens and notebooks. Oh, and play games. ­čśë

Frixion Pens

These are a relatively new discovery. They are erasable ink pens. I like to write with pens more than I like writing with pencils, but I reserve the right to revise at will. These let me enjoy the best of both worlds. I tried these out awhile ago and didn’t love them because they only made them with a medium point. But, Frixion recently released a fine-point (0.5) version and they are my jam! I don’t usually erase in my Moleskine journal unless I’m capturing a quote and make a mistake. For free-writing I’m a believer in letting the mistakes be so when things are spilling from my brain, I just cross out and keep going. Sometimes unintentional writing or ‘mistakes’ ┬ácan offer up valuable insight – or humor.

The erasable function of these pens really comes in handy when I’m working in my day planner.

Self Journal by the Best

This is my day planner of choice. I’m trying to stick with it. There’s this never-ending and always frustrated quest known to planner addicts as Planner Peace. It’s a rare and elusive thing. In truth, none of us have ever seen it or found it so we can’t actually verify its existence.

As soon as we embrace one planner or system, another is invented that looks better. Or we find one that’s wonderful, but we also need this other thing because the one thing in the current planner isn’t the best thing or the perfect thing for the thing we need in order to achieve the thing…

This hunt for planner peace is what keeps stationary companies in business.

Here’s the deal. I’ve spent a lot (a LOT) of time searching for and reinventing planner systems in an effort to manage my life and help me realize my goals. I could keep fiddling and experimenting forever. Why? Because as long as I haven’t found the perfect planner, I can justify not achieving my goals, because achieving goals is the responsibility of a perfect planning system and has nothing at all to do with me taking consistent action towards getting the things done that I need to get done in order to realize my ambitions.

“And the wheel in the sky keeps on turning. I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow…”

I’m calling myself on my bullshit and committing to using my Self Journal for the next 100 days. Now, I have to admit that I’ve already had a false start. The idea of writing in a bound book where the pages can’t be removed and rearranged freaks me out. So I also downloaded the PDF version of the SelfJournal and put it in a disc notebook. Then, I realized I was falling into the same pattern of spending time fiddling around making the planner perfect instead of using it as it’s meant to be used and getting on with doing the things I want to do – other than fiddle around with my day planner. So I went back to the original bound book and I’ve made a commitment to myself to stick with it and follow the prompts and the process as they are laid out. I have the erasable pens so if something truly awful happens … I think you know where I’m going with this.

The Self Journal is the notebook on top of the others. As soon as I’m done writing this, I’m going to open it up and put a check mark next to one of my three daily targets: post to blog.

The Wrap-Up & Take-Aways

  1. I love notebooks and use them to help me think, explore, and organize my ambitions.
  2. I’m a notebook junkie – so please, please, please share your favorites with me. Enable me! Please!
  3. There is no perfect system and fooling myself into finding or creating the perfect system is a form of avoidance. The most insidious forms of avoidance are the ones that fool us into thinking we’re actually taking action, when, in fact, what we’re truly doing is fiddling around because we’re afraid to start doing what it is we truly want to do.


Let’s call ourselves on our own bullshit! What’s your favorite form of avoidance? Have you called yourself on it? How will you help yourself move past avoidance so you can do what you need to do to achieve what you want to achieve?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.