‘Nothing Doesn’t Go In Here’


I have a pair of failed notebooks on my nightstand.

Both are Moleskines. Both have about a 8 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.