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The writer’s annual agony: Notebook, journal, or diary?

Notebooks are classic tools for writers

A daily diary or daily journal is a great writing toolOkay, we’re all writers of one sort or another so it’s probably a given that the annual stress-builder of choosing a diary, journal, or record keeper has captured you. That’s the way it usually is for me but this year my brain seems to have checked out some time around early November and thoughts of 2013 never appeared . . . until today. It’s December 30th and I realized this morning that I didn’t have a clue as to what notebook or journal I’d be using for 2013. Horrors!

The Classic Black Large Moleskine Diary

Last year I simply went through my stack of unused journals, diaries, and calendars. I have tons of them stacked in the bottom of one bookcase because I used to work for Borders Books for a number of years and amassed quite a collection thanks to annual clearances coupled with employee discounts.

I chose the classic black large 2006 Moleskine daily calendar that gave me one full page for each day’s notations. I liked it. It suited me well. The only problem with the one I had was that it was for 2006. However, it was easily managed as the only change needed was for the actual day of the week and it was only off by one day. A simple scratch through the 2006 date and a written entry fixed that minor problem, and we were off to the rapid writing entries.

I don’t use the book as a major journal where I write morning pages or scribble long, drawn-out thoughts. Instead, it’s used to capture the day by way of activities, events, a special quote or whatever captures my attention in that moment. This year’s record concentrates a lot on my daily reading. I assume that will continue into 2013.

Why choose a Moleskine notebook?

Even though I hadn’t really used a Moleskine before, I knew the Moleskine notebooks were considered legendary among writers and artists and highly prized.

The Moleskine notebook is, in fact, the heir and successor to the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin. A simple black rectangle with rounded corners, an elastic page-holder, and an internal expandable pocket: a nameless object with a spare perfection all its own, produced for over a century by a small French bookbinder that supplied the stationery shops of Paris, where the artistic and literary avant-gardes of the world browsed and bought them. A trusted and handy travel companion, the notebook held invaluable sketches, notes, stories, and ideas that would one day become famous paintings or the pages of beloved books. –

My new green Moleskine Daily Planner Diary

Moleskine diary calendar planner 2013 Because I so enjoyed using the Moleskine all year, I thought I’d do the same in 2013. I didn’t have another Moleskine daily planner in my stock pile — I sound like one of those extreme couponers — I went to my favorite website, scanned all the large Moleskine daily planners available via Prime and ordered that puppy via Amazon. It should be here no later than January 2nd.

I tend to the dark side, but this year I’m going green. Moleskine has introduced a new color into the planner selections: Oxide Green. For some reason, I decided that 2013 was to be a green year, perhaps the aroma of growth and springtime is in the air. (Update: 2014 was the year of the Magenta diary and 2015 is a bright yellow. What’s your color this year?)

For me, I love the touch of the paper, the size and shape, the ease of my pen gliding across the page — all things important to me. I’m eagerly awaiting the new year and my new planner. How about you? Do you keep some kind of entry as you go through the year? What is important to you when you select a notebook, diary, or journal? (While you’re at it, be sure and pick up your copy of The Coffee Break Journal for Fiction Writers (Coffee Break Journals) (Volume 1).


More about Moleskines and a video on how Bruce Chatwin uses his. Share how you use yours.

(Image credits: Black notebook photo via copyright 2012 Vikk Simmons; Green moleskine notebook via


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