Notebook Choice

This is part of a series of posts starting with Evan’s Questions. They make more sense in order.

To overcome or reduce perfectionism related inhibition, I recommend starting with a notebook you don’t care about, perhaps even one you’ve used half of already. My first BuJo notebook was one that was lying around the house, and a good proportion of it is crossed out pages. It was really messy.

I tried a lot of notebooks after that, and discovered that I have some very specific requirements:

  1. The paper must be off-white. I found dark ink on white-white paper very harsh and glary (maybe a dyslexia thing?) My first notebook doesn’t qualify in this regard.
  2. I need lines. Letters are like wayward kittens that need to be corralled into a neat line. Dot-grid is very popular among Bullet Journalists, but the kittens, I mean words, tend to escape. Dots aren’t kitten-proof.
  3. There needs to be sufficient margin all around the edge of the page. The margin should be no smaller than the space between the lines. The margin is needed in order to fit signifiers in.
  4. Softcover - hardback only impedes my efficiency.
  5. A5 - any smaller than that and I don’t really have space to work. Any bigger and it’s a pain to move around.
  6. Page numbers are useful but not essential.

Because of these needs, otherwise good notebooks are unsuitable. In Leuchtturm 1917 (expensive) and Moleskine lined notebooks, the lines go all the way to the edge. Rhodia has margines but on the A5 version they aren’t quite consistently wide enough.

The only notebooks I’ve discovered so far that meet my requirements are the Noto Large and the Clairefontain Age Bag Threadbound A5, respectively.

The Noto (top) has more pages, narrower lines, no numbers. The Clairefontaine (bottom) has fewer pages, broader line spacing, numbers and rounded corners. It also has some formatting at the top that looks like a space for the date and a title. Sometimes it gets in the way, other times I use it to my advantage. It also has an index in the front, which is sort of a pain because it lays it out differently than I do, but I’ve adapted it to fit my needs.

If you find a notebook other than these that meets my requirements, please let me know.

Forgive, and you will see this differently.