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Love Affair with Office Supplies – In Search of the Perfect Notebook

I don’t know how young I was when I first decided that  I can become overpoweringly excited about the prospect of buying a new pen or notebook. I’ve spent a large part of my income over my life on writing utensils of different types, and it is even known among my friends that the easiest way to get a gift for me is to hit the stationary department. I have wondered the office supplies aisles at Wal-mart for hours weighing the lofty decision on which pen I should buy.

God help me if I happen to wonder into an Office Max.

Until recently, though, I’ve spent a lot less time looking at what it is that I am writing on than what it is I am writing with. Over the course of the last year as a blogger, though, I’ve once again rekindled my love affair with the English language. There is a dormant part of myself that has been awakened and demands that I devote myself to it.

In an effort to spare myself some sanity, and to spare my readers a ton of self-reflective, often mopey, writing, I took to keeping a journal, which in turn spawned another journal, and then a third, fourth, fifth, and it goes on.  It has become not only a way to keep track of my thoughts, but a way to separate them, so I can understand them better, understand myself better.

Each journal serves a different purpose, some more mundane than others, and as I fall in love with the art all over again, I find myself wanting to expand beyond just what I have so far, which as far as journaling goes, is a little pedestrian.

The Seven Journals I have So Far:

  • Two Blog Idea Journals-  One for Each Blog I write, this one and Swords and Ears
  • A personal Journal – I’m using it to keep track of my day to day. Call it my time capsule, the one my memoires will be based on eventually.
  • A Journal of Unsent Letters – Expanded from a more macabre idea, it has become a place where I sort out my feelings about people. Preferably in a form that they never know about until well after I’ve left the Earth in my robot nanocloud.
  • The TV Journal – I keep it handy when I’m watching TV, incase I have to rant like a madman about something I see on the news.
  • An In-Character Journal – A few years back, I started keeping a journal for my LAPR character, and I encourage other players to do so, too. It helps flesh my character out some more, and lets me look back and remember details about events I might otherwise forget.
  • Anti-Fear Journal – Basically, when I’m feeling particularly anxious, I write in this one, getting that fear out of myself and letting me get back to things that are more important, like watching Ninja Warrior.

Since I’ve been scribbling away in my Composition books, though, I’ve found that there are some drawbacks to using them as my primary form of notebook, primarily in the realm of portability.

I thought to myself, “Man, I bet there is a better alternative than composition books out there.” That lead me to start searching the internet for sites about the wonders of both journaling and stationary. It was an amazing blog, dedicated to the wonders of Notebooks that really caught my attention on the subject, though: NotebookStories.Com .

After spending a few days reading about all of the lovely different types of notebooks out there, It’s put me in a mood to maybe rethink my dedication to the wide-ruled composition book. The more time I spent clicking through the archives, the more convinced I became that a notebook is more than just a collection of paper. Each one has it’s own attitude and personality that can really affect what gets put into it.

Still, in my experience, everyone has a favorite type, and I’ve begun to think that maybe I haven’t really found mine. As much as I enjoy just scratching away at a composition book, it just doesn’t feel like the perfect fit for me anymore. That’s why I’ve created a set of criteria for determining exactly what I should dedicate myself to.

  1. Cost Effective
  2. Sturdy and Durable
  3. No Paper Bleed
  4. Doodleability
  5. Personality

Over the next few months, as I fill up the backlog of comp books I’m already working on, I’m going to force myself to move outside my comfort zone and really start looking at new notebooks to add to my collection. The testing process will take a long time as money is something of a limiting factor, but for the right one, it might be worth it. I’ve also decided to sign up for Lost Crates, which is like a  cheese-of-the-month club for stationary. I’m actually pretty excited about it.

If anyone has any suggestions for something they think I’d enjoy, don’t keep them to yourselves!

Published by M.A. Brotherton

M.A. Brotherton is a writer, blogger, artist, and fat-kid from the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. He’s tasted a little bit of everything the Midwest has to offer, ranging from meth-tweaking rednecks in massive underground cave complexes to those legendary amber waves of grain. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time screwing around on the internet.

6 thoughts on “Love Affair with Office Supplies – In Search of the Perfect Notebook”

  1. Stereo.* says:

    The moleskine is Lord of all notebooks, Matt. You know this. But dayum, that is a LOT of writing you do and I commend you. I have to admit to having a pendrive full of unsent letters or rather collections of my thoughts and unspoken words to people. So y’know, we’re alike in that 🙂

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      I’ve never owned a moleskine, but I can’t stand the fact that people pronounce it “Moe-lay-skee-nah.” It is 100% impossible for it to be such an amazing notebook that I have to spend $20 on one. I just can’t imagine that to be possible. 🙂

  2. Roxanne says:

    Mmmm I share your love affair… I have always felt September to be the start of the year, even after I graduated from college. My boyfriend’s little sisters were buying school supplies recently and I was deeply envious.

    I had recently shared with – I think- Brandee an article about how sometimes our attachment to notebooks hold us back from creating. I have not found that to be true… I love looking forward to filling the pages. I will keep an eye out for something that meets your specifications!

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      There have been times when I have found myself not wanting to write in a new notebook because it was too nice. I’ve gotten past that. 🙂

  3. Tracy Mangold says:

    I think we are twins. I too have a notebook fetish. A bad one. I personally have a thing for Moleskins. WORTH the money. They are pliable, write wonderfully. I love them. I also love the idea of your “Journal of Unsent Letters”. Great idea, Matt. Oh my three year old also gets giddy when we go to Office Max or we are around office supplies. Like mother like daughter. Hee heee!

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      I’m not sure if these things are genetic or not. My mom is gadgety like me.

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