On Keeping A Notebook | Thinking about 2023

Happy Monday! It’s been a long time since I’ve shared a picture of my notebook. In fact, I don’t think I’ve shared this year’s notebook at all despite it being a regular Monday feature for a very long time. Today I’m thinking about 2023 and what makes sense for my notebook-loving heart. Won’t you join me?

I’ve been quietly using this Moleskine weekly planner since April. It fits inside my Chic Sparrow notebook perfectly, has room for whatever I’m working on each day, and has a blank page for notes and lists each week. It’s working — mostly. I still wish I had more blank space to write in because I also use this as a commonplace book to jot down ideas for blogging or other writing, future recipes, and little things that catch my attention or spark my interest. The result is: chaos. I haven’t decided if that’s okay or not.

Just a couple of things swirling in my brain and looking for a place to land:

โœ๐Ÿผ I am still thinking about Zettelkasten, a system for writing and organizing notes. I wrote this post in October 2020 and have been thinking about how to implement some sort of system since then.

๐ŸŽง Emily P. Freeman’s episode about how to collect quotes from March. I love her systems but I’m not sure that I could keep up with FOUR of them.

There are two reasons this is bubbling up again for me:

๐Ÿ’ป I’ve had the itch to do more non-blog writing. I’ve had at least a thousand ideas since writing my Zettelkasten post in October 2020, but all of those have blown away with the sands of time. I can’t think of a single thing that I’d like to tackle in this moment.

๐Ÿ““ I’m getting antsy about notebooks, like I always do, as we near September. The 2023 Hobonichi lineup will go on sale on 9/1 and I’m twisting myself up in knots about which (if any) notebooks I should buy.

So how do I make my notebooks more effective and efficient in 2023?

My current dream: a Hobonichi Weeks to take the place of my current Moleskine planner and a Hobonichi Techo to use as my commonplace book. Downside: I don’t want to tote around two notebooks all of the time. Those who are Hobonichi lovers would tell me to simply get a Cousin, but I don’t think the weekly layout would fit my needs right now. There’s always the chance that Hobonichi will combine Weeks and Techo into a new notebook, but I’m not holding my breath.

(Do I do this every year on my blog? Talk about Hobonichi planners and get breathless and a little whiny? Yes. Yes, I do.)

I could also stick with the Moleskine weekly planner. It’s affordable, easy to buy domestically, and (mostly) works.*

One thing I know for sure: a blank bullet journal will not work for me. It’s difficult for me to invest time each week to draw out the layouts and I almost always mess up with the dates. Please remind me about this in a couple of weeks when I say that I’m going back to bullet journaling.


So here is my yearly required post about how I think I’m going to order some sort of Hobonichi. And in a month, I’ll be talking about a different notebook. And then a month after that, … You get the picture. I still don’t know why I do this to myself year after year and why my brain makes such a big deal out of these things. I didn’t want to write about it all but it has taken up so much brain space and I can’t seem to think about anything else. Obsession. And still — I know many of you are the same way, so that makes me feel better.

Do you already have a plan for your notebooks next year? Have you found what works for you? Are you still searching? I’d love to hear from some kindred spirits in the comments this morning.

*Writing this post has convinced me to stick with the Moleskine for 2023. But I’m sure I’ll keep dreaming about the hobonichi notebooks for a little longer because they are so darn beautiful.

18 thoughts on “On Keeping A Notebook | Thinking about 2023

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  1. I donโ€™t quite understand the notebook dilemma but best of luck in finding the best solution to fit your needs. I have just started using a traditional spiral notebook for keeping track of my herbal stuff and it works great for what I want to collect and remember.

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  2. I get it! and I’m really happy with my current Travelers Notebook setup – I have three inserts: 1. vertical calendar; 2. blank grid paper for commonplace stuff; 3. blank pages for daily journaling. I think I started this setup in 2019 when I accidentally ordered the vertical instead of horizontal calendar – I initially missed the blank page on the right hand side for weekly notes; I’ve since added in a weekly to-do list on a post-it note (it lives on the calendar page so I can see it AND my appointments in one place, and I use the blank space at the bottom of the vertical column to record books/knitting projects. I really love having that detailed record of my days and I refer back previous weeks (even months or years) when I need to remember when something happened … or what we watched on TV after dinner … or when I really started/finished a knitting project. Good luck with your decision!

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    1. I really enjoyed the TN Vertical set up too, but I can get SO obsessive when I track things like that. Your idea of using a blank grid paper notebook as a commonplace book might just be the solution I’m looking for. I happen to have one of those in my TN right now but haven’t figured out how to actually use it well. Thank you for sharing what’s been working for you!

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  3. I hear you on the excitement of a new calendar… and the angst. I have tried several times to do something different in my calendar/days journaling. But I always go back to the Traveler’s system. I have a calendar book with space for “to do’s” on one side of the page and I have a blank journal booklet. All are housed in my leather cover. They work for me… so very well. Good luck in your decision making process!

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    1. Thank you for sharing what works for you! And you’re right – the Traveler’s system offers such flexibility and variety. And it’s so nice to keep them tucked away in one place!

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  4. Sorry – no help from me. I don’t use a notebook, so have no suggestions. They always sound lovely to me, but I know myself and I know I would not use it…plus I don’t really want to add another item to my purse!

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  5. My planner needs have changed a lot since retiring. I keep upcoming dates in my phone so it is always with me. For simple lists and dates, I am pretty content with my standard TN. I use the horizontal which is the same set up as your Moleskine. It is only 6 months so not sure how that would work for you. Every Friday I use the blank side to do a week in review. I like how easy it is to get TN inserts but I also like an A5 for journaling and book notes. I have been playing with an A6 size because it feels like a netter size to carry in my purse but truth be told, I rarely pull out a notebook when I am out and about. It is a puzzle but itโ€™s all fun too.

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    1. I love the idea of using the blank side to do a week in review! I think I’ve decided the cahier size (5×8.25) works best for me, which is the size of this moleskine planner I’ve been using. But doesn’t it feel like being in a candy store? Trying to pick the PERFECT notebook? I love it! (and hate it.)

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  6. I keep a book diary, and it is the simplest of the simple. Any blank book will do. I note the year and then list the books I’ve read until year’s end. Then start again. Not quite what you have in mind though. Good luck!

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  7. I think you’re allowed to be excited about/obsessed by notebooks! It’s clearly one of “your things.” Having just read that Tabitha Carvan book about (NOT about) Benedict Cumberbatch, I am all about people liking what they like without guilt or shame. I hope you find just the system that you’re looking for. It’s interesting to read about, even for this non-notebook person here. (I mean, I like notebooks, I just don’t write in them daily.)

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    1. Thanks, Laila! That books sounds so interesting – I am going to look for it. And I’m glad these posts are semi-interesting because I always feel embarrassed to publish them, haha. It feels so unimportant and silly and yet — I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT!!

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  8. I understand the notebook thing… I am also a notebook person. I have 3; a regular cheap dated planner, which I mostly use for work. It’s mostly for my work to-do lists and to remind myself of deadlines. The second is a basic spiral notebook for rambling, which I plan to throw away when I’m done. It’s just to get things out, and I have no desire for myself or others to ever read that drivel! And finally, I have a commonplace book, I guess I would call it, that has scrapbooking, quotes, diary entries, and all sorts of things in it. It’s a moleskine dotted notebook. It took me 12 years to fill the last one so obviously I’m not prolific.

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    1. Oooh — I love your descriptions. And I think we’re supposed to fill commonplace notebooks slowly. How cool to have your thoughts/interests/delights over the course of 12 years in ONE PLACE! What a treasure.

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  9. Maybe write a list of everything you want your notebook for. Then write pros and cons for each option..
    I have my morning pages book, of which I have now shredded some because I really do use them to get things off my chest and I’d hate anyone else to read.
    An old fashioned pocket diary for appointments and ideas of nice things to do if I see them advertised.
    And what I can only call a household book, how to do the heating, useful tradespeople, meter readings, birthdays, special occasion planning.
    Most important my monthly to do list on a loose piece of A4 file paper. Monthly jobs, weekly, daily chores, meals, social activities, craft projects etc. End of the month torn up and let go of.

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    1. I love that you let go of your to-do list each week. I hang on to mine for dear life because I feel like I need some proof that I’ve done SOMETHING with my time. But maybe one day I’ll be confident enough in myself to be able to let that all go.

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