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On Choosing A Notebook

Whether it's a blank notebook, a lined journal, or an artist sketch pad, having a dedicated notebook provides a clear and boundaried space for your experiences.

Your notebook needs to be inviting so choose something you would like to use every day but not anything too precious that you aren’t afraid of trying out new techniques. Think about your favourite colour of course, or find something with an attractive cover design, however, before you make a purchase check my five top tips to help you select the right one.

Tip #1 - Small, medium or large

I like an A5 size notebook that fits into all my bags, but some of my journaling friends like smaller, and some like larger. Take into account where you do your journaling as this can influence your choice. If you are journaling at your dining table or desk, an A4 size could work especially if your crave space for your musings and plans. If you are journaling while you are out and about, or like the idea of concise journaling, then consider an A6 format that doesn't take up much room and in fact is almost pocket-sized.

Tip #2 - Spiral or book bound

Spiral binding can be helpful when you are journaling on the move like at small café tables or on a train. It means you can fold your notebook in half, and it also means when your journal is open fully it will always lie flat.

A book bound notebook can have a soft or rigid spine. I like this format as I can label the spines with the date range covered by all my entries, or the name of the project or theme I am journaling about, this way my content is easy to pick off my shelf.

Tip #3 - Paper Stock

This is mainly about the weight of the paper but can also be about the finish: whether it is smooth or textured. Notebooks are often constructed with 100gsm paper which is good for most everyday pens, pencils and crayons, and can also take a glue stick. If you like to write with fountain pens (and particularly if you use a broad nib), gel pens, or think you might like to explore things like water colour pencils or oil pastels then I recommend a heavier weight paper – more of a sketch book weight, which could be anything from 120-200gsm, or more.

"It was while writing a Diary that I discovered how to capture the living moments." - Anais Nin, diarist, essayist and author.

Tip #4 - Useful Add-ons

Some notebooks come with a ribbon bookmark and an elastic closure that stops loose items falling out: very handy if you are collecting images or ephemera for collaging.

There are also s notebooks that come with an elastic loop for your pen, so you never need go looking for one! You will find this useful if you take your notebook with you out of the house.

Tip #5 - Experiment

You'll find there are notebooks available in various shops along the high-street as well as online. Experiment with different formats and you're sure to soon locate one that ticks all your boxes.

By the way.....

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