Planner Formats

How do you feel about planner notebooks with highly formatted pages? I love seeing images of how people use them, as the pages sometimes look wonderfully dense and textured with text and colors and highlighting. But when it comes to using them myself, I’m a bit reluctant. I make lots of lists on paper, but when it comes to keeping track of appointments and projects, I tend to use digital tools instead. I love to use pens on paper, but for some purposes I have to admit I don’t find it efficient. The image below with blocks of time laid out with different color highlighters is very appealing, but in my day to day life, I know I’d get frustrated by having no way to erase them when meetings were rescheduled! I do like the way these planners prompt you to slot your to-do list items into blocks of time– I think it’s a key part of being organized, as you have to allow yourself time to actually do things!

The planners below– the Spark Notebook, the Basics Notebook and the Passion Planner were featured at Cool Material along with some other ideas for notebooks to get you organized. The Spark Notebook has a pretty minimalist layout for its weekly view. The Basics Notebook adds more hourly time slots and other page layouts to prompt various kinds of planning and logging. The Passion Planner seems to be the most elaborate of all, with hourly, daily, weekly monthly and annual planning and space for you to reflect on goals, gratitude and steps for improvement.

None of these seems like quite the right fit for me… but they’ve given me ideas about what kinds of layouts I might wish for in my own planner, customized to my own life… perhaps a subject for a future post! I’d love to hear more about what planner systems readers are using– please chime in with a comment!


See more at: 7 Notebooks That Will Help You Get Organized in 2016 | Cool Material

Notebook Addict of the Week: Jake Seliger

Jake Seliger is a novelist, (see his novels here) and blogs at The Story’s Story, where he has a variety of posts about using notebooks and reviewing various brands, some of which I’ve linked to before. I think this photo of his notebook stack qualifies for addiction!

Some of Jake’s very valuable reminders about the benefits of notebooks:

“A notebook is the written equivalent of a face-to-face meeting. It has no distractions, no pop-up icons, and no software upgrades. For a notebook, fewer features are better and fewer options are more. If you take a notebook out of your pocket to record an idea, you won’t see nude photos of your significant other. You’re going to see the page where you left off. Maybe you’ll see another idea that reminds you of the one you’re working on, and you’ll combine the two in a novel way. If you want to flip back to an earlier page, it’s easy.

The lack of editability is a feature, not a bug, and the notebook is an enigma of stopped time. Similar writing in a computer can function this way but doesn’t for me: the text is too open and too malleable. Which is wonderful in its own way, and that way opens many new possibilities. But those possibilities are different from the notebook’s. It’s become a cliche to argue that the technologies we use affect the thoughts we have and the way we express those thoughts, but despite being cliche the basic power of that observation remains. I have complete confidence that, unless I misplace them, I’ll still be able to read my notebooks in 20 years, regardless of changes in technology.”

Read more at: Why little black books instead of phones and computers « The Story’s Story

Nopebooks Notebooks

Nopebooks is a brand of notebooks with an irreverent attitude:

Check them out at: Nopebooks — All the Nopes

Moleskine Monday: Six-Packs at Costco

Tipster David B. sent me the photo below of Moleskines for sale at his local Costco:


These are 6-packs of 10 x 7.5″ lined cahiers in assorted colors. At $19.99 for six, it’s a pretty good deal– the full retail price is normally $19.95 for a 3-pack of this “extra-large” size, though you can also find some decent discounts on Amazon.

Appointed Notebooks

I’ve been spotting these Appointed notebooks in a few Brooklyn boutiques. Appointed is a brand of American-made notebooks and desktop products, which originally started as a Kickstarter project. I haven’t tried their notebooks yet, but they are certainly nice to look at. They come in blank, lined, and grid versions, with perforated pages and a waterproof bookcloth cover.

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Mixiw Notebooks

Here’s a recent successful Kickstarter project, the Mixiw notebook. I’m not sure how to pronounce Mixiw– mixee? mix-ew? Anyway, it looks like a nice concept– a variety of inserts will be available and you can mix and match them in the cover, and archive them in a binder when you’re done.

The binding system looks somewhat similar to the X47 brand of notebooks from Germany, with an elasticized pair of hooks that grip the inserts at top and bottom of the spine, rather than the insert being tucked into a full elastic loop as in the Midori Traveler’s Notebook.


The project has been fully funded and an online store should be coming soon. Find out more at: Mixiw Notebooks | A new notebook concept

Notebook Addict of the Week: Sara

This week’s addict blogs at Crawford Writing Blog. She emailed me a link to her post about what’s she learned from journaling, which included the photo below of some of her collection. It must only show a very small fraction if she’s on journal #98!

“I’ve been keeping a journal since I learned how to write. I’ve been numbering my journals since I was 12, and I’m currently in the middle of journal #98. I’ve written in classy Moleskine journals, gothic faerie journals from Hot Topic, ordinary spiral notebooks that I’ve pasted pictures of my best friends and favorite movies or bands on, handmade journals my artist friends have made for me, and everything in between. I write everything down: my thoughts, feelings, hopes, aspirations, dreams, fears. I document inside jokes and the details of my life that I might otherwise forget. I use it to work out how I feel, to process my thoughts when I have a big decision to make, or to focus on the positive aspects of life with gratitude lists.”

Read more for some great thoughts on journaling at  What I’ve Learned from Keeping a Journal | Crawford Writing Blog

Ingmar Bergman’s Notebook

Found this via a great tip from commenter Johan– Ingmar Bergman’s notebook kept during the filming of Persona in 1965:


Source: Archival object of the day | Ingmar Bergman

Chic Notebooks

From, a few of their top picks for “chic notebooks for style lovers”:

“Is there anything as satisfying than starting off a new journal and writing your name in using your favorite pen? I think not — Especially in chic notebooks that fit every type of fashion gal. “

Source: 8 Chic Notebooks For Style Lovers Who Want To Write, Doodle, & Brainstorm — PHOTOS | Bustle

Review: Foray Notebook

This notebook happened to be included as part of a lot of notebooks that I bought on eBay. I’d never heard of the Foray brand, and it didn’t look like anything all that exciting, but I’m always happy to try yet another plain black pocket notebook!

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It turns out that Foray is made for/by Office Depot. I don’t have any Office Depot stores near me, so I’d never hear of it. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to sell this exact notebook on their website anymore– it’s still listed but shows no availability or pricing info. A similar larger size Foray notebook is still available at only $10.99 so the smaller one was probably pretty cheap.There are so many “Moleskine clone” notebooks out there– big retailers like Walmart or Office Depot probably just get the same few Chinese factories to slap their own branding on a generic notebook. And yet I’ve found that these store brands are not necessarily all identical. I’m sure each retailer is negotiating their own balance of unit cost vs. quality and features, and each factory may do things slightly differently, so there are more variations than you’d think.

As usual, the Foray notebook has many features that are exactly like those of most other notebooks– 3.5 x 5.5″ size, 192 pages, black faux-leather cover, elastic closure, ribbon marker, and expanding back pocket. The branding is mainly on a removable paper wrapper, which in this case wraps vertically around the front cover. The brand name is also stamped on the outside back cover. (Shown below next to a pocket Moleskine for comparison. The Moleskine is an older Modo & Modo one from the early 2000s, so somewhat different from those for sale today.)

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Inside the front cover, there are a few lines to write your contact info, and the brand logo. The back pocket has taped edges rather than being made only of paper, which is always a nice touch.

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The cover boards and the notebook as a whole feel slightly bulkier than a Moleksine. The corners are not as tidily turned as I would like, and the overhang is a bit more than I’d like, and is also not even, with some edges sticking out more than others. But other than that, the overall construction feels solid.

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The notebook opens flat, and the paper inside is a creamy off-white. The lines are made of tiny dots, and don’t extend to the edges of the page. This is not uncommon but I prefer the look of lines that go all the way to the edge. The paper feels smooth– not quite as smooth as Moleskine and some others, but it works very nicely with all my usual pens. No scratchiness with fine gel pens. Fountain pen users would be quite satisfied with this paper, I think– no feathering or bleed-through. At 5 seconds, the Lamy still smeared, but by 7 seconds it was dry. Show-through is about average, and bleed-through is a bit better than average– only the Accu-liner and Super Sharpie bled.

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I really was quite curious about the retail price for this Foray journal– based on the larger one being $10.99, I’d guess this one was maybe $6.99 or $7.99. If so, I’d say it was a pretty good value. The quality control may not be the most attentive to every detail, but it’s a good, solid notebook with decent paper, especially if you’re a fountain pen user. It’s too bad Office Depot isn’t carrying this size anymore. I couldn’t find any other listings for a pocket size model, but Amazon did have a listing for a 5 x 8″ squared version in a white cover: FORAY Hardcover Quad-Ruled Journal-192 Pages. Who knows if that version would have the same type of paper, but it might be worth a try! Has anyone else used this brand? Let us know about it in the comments!

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