Taking notes

I got a fascination for notebooks. But never could use them properly. Somehow I get attached to those inane pages.

Justifying my godforsaken handwriting on those machine generated straight lines has always been a lost affair for me.

If it’s all white, then it becomes more difficult as I get scared of all those spaces I see around. Firstly, it’s the fear that my complete incompetency in any form of creative writing or drawing would destroy these pristine pages. And then, if also I could scribble something, I would want no white space in there to go wasted, eventually resulting in the same garbage that I was fearing in the first place.

So I stop, just after may be first two pages.

I fear a lot about the outcome and never do the thing

However, I’ve realised lately that this kind of fear mongering is mostly because of those exquisitely crafted notebooks. I have been noting down things on pieces of paper since long. And I do that pretty well on crap notebooks (ones which are from some conferences or available in the office stationary for free). I use it for all the essential tasks like taking minutes of the meeting, reminders, numbers, names & random ideas. And inessential stuffs like gibberish art (especially during a blank mind) or practice new way to sign my name (I am still not convinced of my signature).

I realized I’m a racist when I’ve choose my preferred paper to write. I don’t have any problem to infuse junk on crap but I stutter as I am presented with some work-of-art.

Then there’s this dilemma of using pen-paper for notes in the post-PC era. Well, that quibble got sorted out pretty quickly when I compared typing on touch keyboard to jotting down with a pen on a paper. It’s simple & fast.

With mobiles, the neural workflow is kind of

  • unlock the phone (if it require your finger prints, then lots of other decision trees evolve - are your fingers moist, are you placing fingers perfectly vertical…)
  • decide the particular notes app for present scenario (Is it going to be Drafts, Wunderlist, AnyList, Vesper or may be it should be a Calendar entry !!!)
  • once confirmed, open it up and adhere to it’s own usability

With pen on paper,

  • open the book
  • start scribbling in the first space seemed vacant

I want to evolve from a discriminating lowlife to a pragmatic taskmaster. And for that I need to make myself care less for those beautiful notebooks. What an irony!!

Anyways, few days back I happened to come across Field Notes

Field Notes Collection Image
Field Notes Collection Image

Instantly, I knew I need them. And pretty quickly I realised that’s gonna be a costly proposition for someone in the third-world asking for a cheap commodity from first-world. With all advancements in globalisation, trade, commerce & eventually technology in 2014 - it would take 7 times the actual cost to ship bunch of empty pieces of papers from affluence to negligence.

So, I started looking for local alternatives. Put a high bar on the overwhelming options so that they match the size & quality. My requirements were pretty simple

  • small enough to carry around without the discomfort of it replacing a purse (yes I don’t carry a purse, I’ve my Slim)
  • sturdy enough to withstand the tussle being in the pockets of an over-sized guy
  • pages should be ruled or grid or a mix. White spaces are like too many options & hence confusing.
  • should have aesthetics that can satiate my art tolerance

And eventually I locked down on Rubberband Black Books. They matched decently to my requirements.

rubberband images
rubberband images

I got them delivered few days back. Already feeling a bit sad that I have to write on them. Binding is a bit tight to what I was expecting and hence they don’t open up that easily. However I feel that won’t be a problem as I start using them. Well the problem might be to keep them closed when not in my pockets or in some enclosures. That’s where band around my almost-never-used moleskin & those extra rubber bands for Field Notes comes handy.

moleskin image
moleskin image

These Black Books comes in a pair. Am planning to use onefor office and the other for personal. I will use the small grid in the bottom for tasks or lists. And horizontal rules for other kind of texts.

Pair of black books
Pair of black books

I would still have to fix another thing before starting using them. Is it gonna be a pencil or pen to write. I am currently using dad’s recent gift of a Parker, it’s smooth to write and I like mildly-thick bodied pens for easy gripping.

parker pen image
parker pen image

However, pencils are always preferred for notebooks on account of their never ending editability feature. However, pen is a necessity most of the times where persistence is preferred. And carrying pencil means carrying a sharpner & erasure (or the whole point is meek) and taking care of the poking tip. So it’d be pencil if I have my bag or it would be my pen. In that way I am hoping most of my office notes would be in pencil and rest would be in pen.

I am ready, I think, for my notebooking expedition.