‘Nothing Doesn’t Go In Here’


I have a pair of failed notebooks on my nightstand.

Both are Moleskines. Both have about eight pages of writing, in blue ink.

Both are failed attempts at writing for my own good.

Recently, I’ve been realizing that writing for me would be a healthy thing.

(Read: my doctor told me to do it.)

I got my first batch of Field Notes notebooks in the mail last week. Being so much smaller, my thought was that I would be more likely to carry one with me at all times.

I’ve written less than a page.

I’m not really sure why. Part of me still feels nervous about writing personal things in a non-digital format, even though I plan on scanning my notebooks when filled. I am fearful of losing valuable words (and time, maybe) if something were to happen to the notebook before it is a scanned PDF, safe and sound, on my iMac, Time Capsule and offsite backup drive.

Part of doesn’t like the messy feeling of handwriting and bent pages. I always have my iPhone, but I don’t always have a pen. Despite all of this, however, I’m drawn back to writing in a notebook.

I was thinking about this all week, then I heard the latest episode of Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin’s show Back to Work.

In it, Merlin has some great advice about writing in a notebook. I can’t give it justice by quoting just part of it — just go listen to the first half of this show.

The point of a notebook shouldn’t be the point of a .txt file, at least for me. I need to start feeling more free to jot down ideas, quotes and thoughts, without worrying so much about my page margins being even or my writing being neat enough. I want to be free enough I can tape things into it, tear out parts of pages and maybe even spill a little coffee on it.

But, alas, even typing that makes me somewhat apprehensive. I really wish it didn’t.