You Don’t Need Another New Notebook

Image by the author.
  1. Treat nothing as though it is precious. Lovely things are meant to be used. I’m talking about guided journals, books of stickers, embossing powder, all of it. There is not ever going to be a better day to use the nice thing than today. The nice thing will not be more satisfying in ten years. Use the nice thing and break it if it comes down to it. At least then you’ve done something. Kinetic energy is more interesting than potential energy. Fill the damn notebook, and let it be full of dumb, stupid lists. Let it be full of terrible drawings. The only way to get better at anything is to practice, and as for nice things: you can’t take them with you. Tomorrow a piano may fall on your head, and your family will wonder what to do with the tiny cellophane bags, old collage books, and gold foil wrappers you’ve amassed over the years, waiting for a day to use them.
  2. Disregard all the silly rules you have imposed upon your notebooks. In the past you have thought, “This one is for drawings, that one is for ideas, this other one is for story beginnings, and that’s my journal.” You’ll never keep track of all these boxed-in notebooks. Go ahead and make a list in your diary. Write your weekly schedule in the one where you were going to make comics. The only rule for your notebook is that you intend to finish writing in it. You are going to fill every dang page of the thing, and you don’t get a new notebook until you’re done.
  3. To that effect, you will need to promise yourself that when you get to the last page of your notebooks, you will earn a sticker. I don’t know where you’re going to put these stickers — personally, I have a sticker chart that hangs by my desk. I get a sticker prize every time I accomplish anything that no one but me is going to care about. Did I go to the gym today? Sticker. Did I manage to shave my legs even though it’s winter and no one will ever see? Sticker. Cleaned the oven? Changed the sheets? Finished a skincare regimen? Sticker sticker sticker. It’s easier to get to the end of a task when you know that you will get a pretty sticker to stick wherever you want after you have done the task. Your first grade teacher who used to do this for you when you were six is too busy now to give you the stickers, but you are not too busy to give them to yourself. Be a grownup and create your own G-D sticker chart.
  4. Use the notebooks you already have. Just use them. I don’t care that you already wrote in them eleven years ago when you were keeping a food log; those pages aren’t tainted, and you have my permission to move on and use the thousand blank pages following the three calorie-counting ones for whatever you want. Friend, you may not buy a single new notebook until you have filled up all the ones you already have.
  5. And once they’re all full (!!!), the next new notebook you buy is going to be a no-brainer. It will be such a delicious gift that you give yourself: a single blank notebook that is as buttery and smooth as you’ve ever imagined a notebook to be. And it’ll never go in a drawer, because you need it now! A person always needs a notebook. Just one. And you’ll never feel guilt around notebook-related finances ever again.

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