ALL the Notebooks

Have you ever heard of a morning basket? It’s a concept that’s big in the homeschooling community – it’s a basket of books and activities that help the family ease into a day of learning and fun. Well, I have my own version of a mommy morning basket. It sits in a dark corner of my desk, ready for me to wake up each morning.

In a recent planner post I mentioned that I’ve been clutching at my notebooks a lot lately and trying to sort through what I want to focus on in 2020. What has worked this year and what hasn’t? And what do I need more of in my life?

Rhythm and routine have been critical to my creative life in 2019. I can’t just decide to sit on the couch and read all day or plunk down at my desk as soon as inspiration strikes. Those days are long gone! So I’ve made it a habit to always keep a notebook nearby so I can jot down little sentences to return to when I can sit at my desk – which is time that has been hard fought for me.

My routine has been to wake up as early as I possibly can to write morning pages, set a daily intention, and write for my blog. I spend the day in mommy mode – playing, cleaning, and tending to whatever needs tending. I rarely get to read or write during the day — except for one hour on Thursday mornings when I go to the library. Then I do 99.9% of my personal reading at night after the kids have gone to bed. Right before I turn out the lights, I look over my tasklist for the day, fill in my total writing time in my writing tracker, and then write a few sentences about my day in my Hobonichi Weeks.

Hobonichi Weeks

This is my Hobonichi Weeks which I’ve been posting about each Monday. This is the notebook where I keep my habit tracker using the Alastair Method, track my writing time, and write a few lines at the end of the day. Because this is the notebook that I keep with me as I wander through the house, this is also what I use to write down the books I want to get at the library and when something bubbles up that I want to remember for later – like blog post topics. I wasn’t sure if I’d like such a small notebook because I’ve become so accustomed to using A5s, but I love this. It’s been working so well for me.

And, because I’m never happy, I can’t stop thinking about ordering this cover for it!

Traveler’s Notebook (TN)

Next up is my traveler’s notebook that I ordered from Foxy Fix almost 4 years ago, back when they were on Etsy. It doesn’t look like they even sell mine anymore! This TN has seen better days; the elastic is too loose to close, but it’s not really necessarily. The inside elastics for the inserts are still working fine!

My TN has an odd assortment of inserts, none of which are actually the correct size for the cover. But this stays home in a safe place so it’s okay. I just like having one cover to gather this group of notebooks together.

You can see that I have yet another Hobonichi Weeks in here. Yes – I have two! This one is for my daily Bible reading and intention setting – my relationship with religion and spirituality is a complicated one and I’m not able to articulate it very well, so I hope to write more about that later. But I’m visiting those thoughts daily regardless of how angry I get! I started this habit in September with an old Hobonichi Weeks from 2018 that I never used. I could have switched to the 2020 book in the first week of December, but I’m constantly doubting this habit – why do I even do it? So I was ambivalent about starting an expensive planner for a habit that I might not continue. But I realized that I keep doing it despite my reticence, so I moved into the 2020 book the week of Christmas. There. I’ve committed!

Next in this notebook are three Moleskine Cahier notebooks in the prettiest pastel colors – lilac, yellow, and soft pink. I can’t seem to find this color combo on Amazon anymore. The first book is the lilac and it lists all of the books I’ve read since 2017. Here’s a flip through:

The second two books aren’t as well used and I’m contemplating what to do with them in 2020. I have plenty of ideas, but it comes down to a few things:

  • What can I do consistently?
  • When do I fit it in? (see my daily routine, above)
  • Is is worth the time? Or, put another way, do I get enough out of it to make it worthwhile?

When I read Lila by Marilynne Robinson, I got the idea to start copying down passages from the Bible – again, my relationship with religion and the Bible is strained to say the least, so it’s been difficult to see how this can be helpful. But I started doing that with the pink notebook. I can’t actually remember the last time I wrote anything in there (maybe early summer?) and I’m not sure where I’m going from here.

The third book, the yellow one, has a few things I want to revisit – different mantras, different lines from the bible that I found particularly wise, etc. In 2020, I’m planning to read more poetry and books of essays, so I’m planning to put my thoughts on those in this notebook.

Lined A5 Notebook

This is where I write my morning pages. I started using this Minimalism Art ruled notebook in November, so it’s still pretty fresh. It’s an A5, which I really love for morning pages. The cover is from Galen Leather. This is another habit that I vacillate on – is it worth the time and effort? Or are my energies best spent elsewhere? I tend to have those doubts when I’m especially tired and find it hard to fit everything in. So when I need to let something go for a while, morning pages are usually the first thing. But when my life shifts again, it always comes back. And that’s okay.


I’ve given up on using lots of colors and washi tape. There are some beautiful notebooks out there, but that style feels like so much work to me and I’m not an artist! Instead, I keep it super simple with black pens. I love flipping through my notebooks and seeing rows and rows of uniform writing! Here are my favorites:

I love my Lamy Rose Gold fountain pen. I use this when I’m writing in my journal for morning pages. It makes that part of my morning ritual so much more luxurious! Warning: it comes loaded with a cartridge of blue ink. If that’s not your thing, be sure to buy a pack of refills in your preferred color!

For the rest of my notebooks, I love using these Pilot Precise v5 extra fine gel pens. The “extra fine” is important because the gridlines on the Hobonichi Weeks are very small. And I’ve always gotten super giddy over gel pens!

While I don’t use a lot of colors, sometimes highlighters come in handy. These are great and I’ve found that they don’t bleed through the pages. I also use them in my Bible (this is the Bible I use, by the way).

This has been a hard post to write because some of what I alluded to is extremely personal and difficult for me. I almost didn’t write it at all because opening my notebooks for the world is scary! But I spent the time to write it because I needed clarity for myself. I needed to spread everything out on my dining room table and look over it all. I needed to analyze it a little more closely. So thank you for joining me, despite how bashful I feel about it.

Also – please keep in mind that the Amazon links are affiliate links, which means that I earn a small return on any qualifying purchases that you make. I sincerely appreciate it!

And of course, I want to see your notebooks too! Please tell me about them. Link up your favorite blog posts on your notebooks or what inspires you. I find others so inspirational and I can’t wait to see what’s been working for you!


8 thoughts on “ALL the Notebooks

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  1. You are so inspiring, Katie! Fountain pens… one of the most wonderful holes to slip into! I have quite the collection and have graduated to bottled inks to refill my pens. I am inspired by your daily bible reading – that is something I should aspire to. I do have some daily scripture-inspiration emails I get – and I do write some of those thoughts down. I will have to put together a post to share my planner plans for 2020! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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