Monday, January 03, 2005

A New Writing Journal

I know it sounds crazy but I look forward to the new year because a new year always means that I purchase a new journal.

I've tried many different formats for daily journals, pre-dated versions, pre-dated with days of the week (expensive), and blank. The pre-dated ones never have enough pages. Some days I'll journal past a page. (Yes, it's true, SOME days ARE exciting.) But the pre-dated type lock you in to a page-a-day.

I've tried several blank journals. Borders and Barnes and Nobles have quite a selection. Amazon's got 179 of them! Just key "blank journal" in the search box and you'll get a huge selection. Some of the $30 and $40 journals I've found at Barnes and Nobles are very cool. I've spent hours on web sites browsing great journals. You know the ones, leather bound, gilded edges, a red ribbon bookmark. They are often laying open on a walnut desk with a pair of reading glasses and a quill pen laying on top. Yeah, it's cool, if not a little frilly. Nope those are not for me. I've finally settled on one kind of daily journal that works.

It's a simple black leather book with white stitching. It's 5.5x8.25 inches. I found it in our local Borders here in Atlanta. It's got about 400 pages in it, so I can record more than a page some days should I want to. Generally I stamp the date ahead of time on each page. This ensures that I don't miss a date as I march through the year. (One year I didn't pre-stamp and tried to write the date at the top each day but got the date wrong in one entry and didn't discover it for three or four days. Then I had to go back and scratch out the previous dates and write the correct one. This happened several times through the year. What a mess.)

With this book I also have a few pages in the back where I keep indexes or lists. I dedicate a page for each of the following:

Books I've read
Interesting entries
Quotes I want to remember
Trips lists

I use some of the extra pages for drawings or spillover from the daily journal entries in front. When I want to write more than a page, I'll note that the entry continues in the back and give the page number. (Oh yeah, forgot to mention that the pages that I haven't stamped the date on get a sequential number so that I can refer to that page number in any of the daily journal entries.)

That's it. This works for me. The journal is small enough to put in my carry-on. No, it'll never go with the checked on baggage. I did that once and got a scare when I thought they had mis-delivered the bags. I can do without extra clothes but NOT without the journal.

The cover is also pliable, so that I can clip a pen inside and close it, if I need to stop in mid-entry writing. Best of all, this journal lasts the entire year without falling apart. I guess I could purchase a refillable journal but they tend to be too bulky. After many years of journaling, I've settled on this specific journal. But what would I do if Borders quit carrying this blank book?

I did NOT escape, they gave me a day pass.