What are all those notebooks FOR: Phases in the life of a notebook. – futurebird

What are all those notebooks FOR: Phases in the life of a notebook.

I have shared my blank notebook collection over the course of three posts: part one, part two, part three.

Now I'd like to say a little about what's inside my *used* notebooks.

One of many shelves in our home filled with full notebooks.


Reverence: It's often a little hard to make my first mark in a notebook, the blank pages are filled with so much promise and possibility. This is how I have ended up saving blank notebooks for years before deciding to use them. In addition the proper purpose must be found for a notebook. Thin notebooks for small tasks, thick ones for big ones.

Christening: When a notebook enters service it's named. I'm certain we all have little rituals that go along with starting a new notebook. I like to leave the first few pages blank, as I hope to add a title page and table of contents later, a hope not always realized...but, I still can't stop myself from doing it. Most of my notebooks get labels for their covers, I also collect nice labels, for this purpose-- I especially like vintage labels. (Though finding a way to revive the paste can be challenging.)

Breaking in: The first entry in a new notebook is done with great care, but as the notebook rides in the bag, gets dropped on the sidewalk, is written in on subways and escalators, it gains a few less-than-perfect entries and a few dog-eared pages. It is this stage that determines what happens next, and once the notebook is half-filled it's time to decide:

Accention to book-like status, or demotion to scrap paper: The great notebooks get page numbers and indices, title pages and a revival in the quality of the entries. The poorer notebooks become my "scratch" notebooks, filled with all of the calculations, random notes and lists that no sane person would ever care to read again. (Especially me) The notebook then earns a place on the book-shelf, or a place in the rubbish bin at this stage.

Second lives: Some of the time I try to give a "scratch" notebook a second life. I carefully remove all of the pages with writing, take off the title tag and place it back on the shelf with the other blanks. Now with fewer pages it's better suited to small projects. Perhaps it will "ascend" in its next life time.

These notebooks acceded to book-like status, earning a place on the shelf.
Notebooks from classes I have taught and taken.

Drawings and color add so much to note books, I rarely throw away a notebook with good drawings. Some of the time I'm surprised by the work that I did. It's fun to spend an evening reading old notebooks. My oldest notebooks are from 2nd grade. I was laughing so hard I was crying at some of the stories (and spelling) in them. Some notebooks are time machines.

  • John Robinhūdas

    Nice article,i like it .I read it and i happy cause i read it.You know how to write mate.

  • Anonymous

    I've sort of found the same thing in my life.  I often kept my notebooks even from school, because sometimes I would just draw in them on the side margins when I wasn't paying attention to the teacher LOL!  Whenever I end up cleaning out something from my house at times I come across an old notebook and take a look in, half the time I'm reminded of what was going on in my life at that time.  Especially when it comes to drawing.

    I've had a few friends of mine tell me that whenever they go back through some of the notebooks that they used sort of like journals that they can't believe that they used to think that way.  Sort of makes you laugh, but you are right - they just remind you of certain phases of life that you've been through.

    I'm sure everyone's had a similar experience, especially when you come across names or numbers of people you wish you never met LOL!

    • Cassie

      Hi Hobbesman!
      I think it's interesting to go back and rediscover my thoughts. A notebook collection provides insight to the seasons of life, as I call it.

      Of course hind sight being 20/20, it can be amusing to see how your thoughts change as life throws you curves.

      Have you noticed how your drawing has evolved over time? I understand that art can be therapeutic. I wonder if your drawings have represented your thoughts or feelings

  • Nancy Lander

    I can
    truly relate with, “PHASES IN THE LIFE OF A NOTEBOOK,” especially in
    Reverence, “the blank pages are filled with so much promise and
    possibility.” Every time I buy a new notebook, I get excited to fill it up
    with life, memory, wisdom, and knowledge! Wonderful posts! Keep it up! 🙂

    • Cassie

      Nancy, I agree with you! It is exciting to dream of the possibilities a new notebook can hold. I often will purchase a "special" notebook and even a new pen to write important letters or a new journal.

      I too have been enjoying these post and this blog as well.

      Nancy, do you keep your notebooks too?

  • Cassie

    I love keeping journals and notebooks. I enjoy brainstorming in my notebooks. Especially when In preparation of beginning a big project. It helps me to outline my goals and to make a to-do list.

    I am enjoying your notebook post! I think it is funny and wonderful that you have the ability to go back and read notebooks from when you were little.

    What a wonderful way to enhance your memories and revisit the seasons of your life!

  • Aaron Donovan

    Very interesting. I like the life-cycle analysis! 

    • Cassie

      I really like the life cycle analysis too. The stages and phases of life change as we grow in knowledge and life.

      I found the post to be intriguing
      and insightful.

  • Excellent post!  I totally agree about the 'neat' handwriting at the beginning of the notebook.  I often find it hard to start a new notebook, I'm almost worried about using it for the wrong purpose and later wishing I'd written something else in it.  As I have several different types of writing I carefully choose which notebook I use for what purpose.

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