Starting a new notebook

photoHow does one transition from one notebook to another?

Strange that this particular switch came at an emotional transition point in my life.

My last notebook was my first dedicated notebook. I’d kept journals before, but this was a bigger, all-purpose notebook in which all of my work, both professional and personal, was brainstormed and executed. I used it for studying Korean as well. And doodling, of course.

I once left my bag at a restaurant; my notebook was in it. I left a bar in a panic and ran back to the restaurant. It was closed, but the bag—and the notebook—were safe and sound on a chair behind the counter. I felt uneasy, guilty, anxious, separated from my notebook like that, and my friend and I had to call it a night because I was kind of an emotional wreck.

That night when I returned home, I scribbled on the wall of my bedside bookcase. I consoled myself by imagining that Notebook was taking a much-deserved vacation. After all, it had served me so faithfully and it should be free to take time off from me when it should so desire.

A notebook might not get filled to the brim—though I used every page of mine, a few still have significant negative space—but you can tell when you’re done with it. When it’s time for another one.

And I’m ready for my second one. I bought it a week ago in anticipation of this moment.

And yet I’m unsure how to make the transition. There’s a lot of unfinished work in Notebook #1 that I might need to refer back to as I use Notebook #2. There’s also bits and pieces of inspiration I saved in there.

So do I carry around both until I’m ready to do without #1, or is it silly to rely on a “finished” notebook? Do I just let go now and let its contents become vague memories? Allow them to settle and rest in the “great reserve”?


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“If a writer stops observing he is finished. But he does not have to observe consciously nor think how it will be useful. Perhaps that would be true at the beginning. But later everything he sees goes into the great reserve of things he knows or has seen.” –Ernest Hemingway




  1. Strigiformes said:

    It would be silly to leave your first notebook behind. Definitely carry it around until you no longer need to constantly refer back to it. It would be a terrible shame if you poured so much into that first notebook and just let all the contents become “vague memories”. But of course I’m writing this while thinking about my lab notebooks at work; just because the experiments are recored in another physical notebook doesn’t mean those works do not directly relate to what I’m doing now.

    Look like you need a new pen too 😛

    • n said:

      Yeah, I think that’s what I’ll do for now. ^^

      Looks like you’re blogging again! Exciting!

      • Strigiformes said:

        😀 I was inspired by you actually. I saw your new blog a while ago and it rekindled my desire to write things down and throw them into the cyber black hole~ Love your new blog by the way 🙂

        • n said:

          Aww, thanks! I missed blogging alongside you. I’m so happy you came back! 😀

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