Writing prompt 3/365: Cracking the spine

I no longer have many unread books whose spines I can crack, mostly because the majority of books I read I buy as ebooks, and there is no spine there. Every once in a while I will buy a physical book at Exclusive Books. This tends to be either a “beach paperback” that I can take with me and not worry about kindles etc, or some beautiful reference books, for which I have a soft spot. The DK publishing house is my favourite. Their books are simply stunning.

But I do have a weakness when it comes to notebooks. I can never have enough. I have them in all shapes and sizes, and I definitely do not buy on a “per-need” basis. My favourites are blank page ones (remarkably difficult to get) and the one-blank-page-one-lined page are also a good bet. My only saving grace here is that I will never buy fully lined pages that have widely spaced lines, no matter how pretty the cover, because I just don’t ever end up writing in them.

I used to have a really, really tough time “cracking the spine” on my notebooks. Making a first entry always seemed like a momentous occasion, and nothing ever seemed important enough to be The First Thing in a notebook. As a result my collection grew, but I was getting little enjoyment out of them. Eventually I was able to move past that, and now whenever I need a new notebook I pick one out of my collection (or buy a new one) and immediately write some nonsense in it, to get the process started. Once the virgin pages have been ruined by silly words, the task of filling up the notebook becomes less daunting and less intimidating.

What goes into my notebooks? Well, I often think best on paper first, and then move my thoughts onto the computer. I almost never ever look back at my written notes though. Once a page is filled and turned, it is almost never referenced again. It is simply the act of writing it down, brainstorming it out etc that matters. The actual details are not that important, since the details will evolve daily, and are merely influenced by yesterday’s ideas. And because I wrote down yesterday’s ideas in an organised and methodical manner, they are now roaming my brain to be improve on while I drive, shower, fall asleep or daydream. And the new ideas go into the notebook, to rinse and repeat. It is a process that works remarkably well for me.

In 2016, I did adapt the process slightly, with much success. I bought a cheap wire-bound hardcover notebook (R20 or so) at CNA, and I keep it with me always (together with a blank notebook). The wire-bound book gets all the notes that DO need to be referenced. It is the book I take with to meetings, the book in which I write down all my lists, the book that keeps a physical track of all my projects and the book I can reference to find obscure details that I wrote down “somewhere” so that I would have them when necessary (example; a mechanics telephone number). Having such a book really frees up the mind, and even though I know that everything in the book can be stored digitally, the truth is it hardly ever gets to that point, and it is not as foolproof as a real page turner. (Although I might just scan the pages into Evernote in 2017. Progress!)

I cannot live without my computer, but I also cannot, absolutely cannot, live without a blank piece of paper and a pencil/pen. They are my connectors between my brain and Real Life, and without them I would be lost.

(May 2020 update: All this still applies. I still buy too many blank notebooks, but I am also using them so no worries there. I have my eye out on a beautiful hard-cover one at a local stationery shop. I’m sure it will be mine by June 🙂 I see that I also wrote a similar post on my notebooks here. )

The writing prompts come from Writerswrite.co.za and they are my attempt at daily writing for 2017. Unless stated otherwise, the images are taken by me, also as a 365 day challenge. Read my other Writing Prompt posts here.

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Join me in my musings and adventures as I live and love my second (and best!) chapter, together with my 2 kids and beloved dog! ❤️


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