It’s a quiet and peaceful Sunday morning. There I am sitting in bed, still covered under the soft blanket, reading my Twitter timeline, and articles online. Yes, I am a big kid in the big noisy digital world and I am so addicted to my Apple gadgets, I take them to bed. Well, may be just the iPhone. The fact that it is a Sunday morning probably explains why my Twitter feeds are not that noisy. Everyone is probably still asleep. That, or because I have decided to cut down the accounts that I follow on Twitter. I have learned to put them on “List” or even use the “Mute” button for some of the noisy ones I follow.
Between reading short stories, articles and news on the latest happenings in the last few days – Tom & Katie are divorcing, Adele’s pregnant, and Instagram,Netflix, PinInterest all went down causing what someone labelled as “a hipster apocalypse”, and (God forbids, but it’s happening) Aburizal Bakrie is running for 2014 Presidential election — it dawned on me that today is the first of July.
The first day of the last half of the year for 2012. Oh hello, New Year’s resolutions, what are we up to now? Oh, no wait. I didn’t make many this year, just one.
I did make a promise to myself recently that come 1 July, I will start a new notebook as my organiser to write my project list, my thoughts, writing topic and whatever it is freelancer and writers do with their notebooks. I agonised over the last couple of weeks on how I would use the new notebook my friend Stella gave to me, a gorgeous fuchsia-leather bound notebook. I even researched online on how most people use their Moleskins as organisers.
If anything, I get more overwhelmed, and stopped my research. A friend sent me this link instead to zen.
You see, I have always been addicted to stationery, in particular notebooks and organisers. I can’t remember when or how the addiction started. Maybe it was since I was a little girl scribbling on my notebooks with “Dear Diary” entries. Or maybe that perfectionist in me trying to be that super-duper-organised student back then, or as a corporate warrior in the recent years, that I would try to hunt for the perfect system to organise my life. Alas, I am still not the most organised person (compared to some others I know) and I have accepted that it was just excuses for my addiction to notebooks, organisers and the like.
A notebook porn. That is me. I have the bad habits of a) not using notebooks gift from people because they are so nice – still, keep giving them to me as presents, people. *grin* b) starting one notebook and not finishing them before starting another – though I have been good lately almost using up the latest one c) I’m so noisy in my head that I scribbled all over the place including my iPhone notepads, Evernote, and the notebooks I have.
Call it an attempt to further procrastinate inking that pretty notebook, but I have decided today to get all my notebooks and organisers collections out, and boy, what a flood of memories looking at and flicking through the old ones.
Back in 2007, Starbucks started issuing their limited editions organisers/planners towards the end of the year, causing me to spend copious amount of coffee to collect 21 stamps to get the notebook. I would even ask friends to give me their stamps after their coffee purchases. I have three of them, 2007, 2008, and 2010 – I missed 2009 and use another planner.
I still kept all of the Starbucks planners today. I used them when I was working at that bank, not necessarily filling the pages with work stuff, but more to record my daily happenings, where the line between work and personal life was sort of blurring. I had my office Lotus-Note calendar for appointments and a normal notebook to write down work related stuff. I didn’t want to smear boring work stuff on these planners. They were in fact my grown up version of “dear diary” book. Having said that, I failed to scribble thoughts on them every day for back then. Everything revolved around work, and who has time to scribble before bed juggling between work for one of the biggest international bank in the world, Jakarta’s traffic, and eating late dinners? Well, I didn’t. Not as much as I wanted to.
Nevertheless, flicking through them this morning, I reminisce on those days.
2007 was special. Not only because it had my favourite Starbucks organisers, It was the year of my training in the UK (for which I am eternally grateful. If it wasn’t for the bank, my Euro trip would probably not happen that soon). And the Starbucks organiser itself was special.
It came with a coffee bean bag to store it in. I still remember getting this on that Starbucks shop in Kemang (Jakarta), and meeting up with that alpha-wolf male best friend of mine, him sitting outside with his coffee cigarette and there I was all giddy like a school girl jumping up and down happily with that organiser in my hand. Pretty sure I saw him rolling his eyes.
When I decided to take on the sabbatical, my friend, a writer and editor at a Jakarta magazine, told me to keep a journal. Just write every day, even if it was something menial and mundane. Just write.
I took on his advice and started a new book for my personal journal, one I wrote my many thoughts during my time off and especially my travels in Bali. I wrote every single day in that one month in Bali to capture my travel memories, and later when I spent time in Sydney with even more stories.
I love looking at those notes and take myself down to memory lane. And that is why I scribble on those days. Memories to hold on to.
So where does that leave me today with my notebooks addiction?
I will always be addicted to them, but I have refrained myself buying any more of them until I use them up. At least I will try. Oh, but I am still going to jump up and down every time someone gives me a nice looking notebook. Seriously, I do love them.
I haven’t bought any day planners/organisers since I quit my job at the bank. Back then, looking at grids of weeks and months was customary, as I had targets and deadlines to meet with the bank. To give me a bit of pressure.
I think I need those pressure back now in my current life to keep me moving faster. Set deadlines.
Today I resort to blank and lined notebooks. I carry one pocket-size I stash in my handbag to scribble things as I remember them, as well as that one (travel) journal I kept on since I quit last year, most of the time sitting on the bed side table getting its pages filled just before I go to bed. I use my iPhone calendars for my appointments, and the Reminder apps for listing to do list, in an attempt to live the life of an efficient freelancer in today’s digital world. I also use iPhone writing apps to jot down my notes at times, when I am on the go, sometimes even drafting a blogpost that more often that not, didn’t make it on to this blog.
And it can get a bit overwhelming and chaotic with the many version of electronic and paper tools. Which is why I am trying to streamline them.
Despite the ease of technology with the iPhone, I still miss scribbling appointments and to do list. I do miss looking at the structured life in some way (but no, I don’t miss getting up at 6am every day to fight the traffic to be in the office by 8AM. THAT I do not miss). I think I just have to accept that I will always be that girl who loves scribbling and writing random notes. Be them love notes, quotes, or song lyrics and yes appointments and to-do-list.
Even more importantly, scribbling my stories as I explore my wanderlust, travelling on the different parts of the world. Or when I am not travelling, for stories evolve everyday around me. I read an article here where the days of advance technology would never kill the need for notebooks especially more so for writers or travel writers/bloggers.
So for this new gorgeous looking notebook, it will be my planner and fields for my thoughts. I am allocating the first few pages for my grid/monthly view pages – I do have deadlines and target to meet these days – and a few more pages for writing topics and project list, leaving the remaining of them to write freely. Be it project brainstorming mind maps, random notes, love notes or anything that tickles this brain of mine. And yes, even drafts of blog posts and articles, because as that article above pointed out, in the words of Anne Lamott, all good writers produce “shitty first drafts” . Come to think of it, that is a good excuse as to why my writing is shitty on these notes, writing as fast as I can to get the thoughts down.
So let’s bring on the next half-year, with more stories to fill in those blank notebook pages, and hopefully making some of them on to the publications I want to write for. Or at the very least, making them on this blog. Of course, after writing shitty drafts of them.
How do you operate with your organisers and notebooks?