Me -- after hitting "Publish" on last Friday's post
Within hours of posting last Friday about empty journals and notebooks, and how I planned to use them all up, I had already retreated in near-panic from my publicly stated position.
However, after reading the very helpful comments on the post, I did some more thinking, and re-planned my plan.
To me, a lovely unused journal or hardcover notebook is something like a piece of beautiful china. The prevailing idea these days is that you should use your nice china whenever you want, not save it for some vaguely defined "tomorrow." But unlike china, which you can wash after using, you can't un-write in a journal. So I have given myself leeway to regard some of my journals as something more akin to pretty ornaments, something I own just because I like to look at them and they bring me joy. It's okay if I never write a single word in them.
But some of them are going to be put to use, and now I know how.
One (or more) will be for poetry. I like to compose poems on the computer because it's easier to make changes, but as a reader pointed out, computers can fail. I'd like to have them on paper as well, but not on letter-sized paper -- something smaller. It will be slow going; carpal tunnel makes my hand go numb quickly. But I'm looking forward to the transcription process.
A second journal will be for my medical history. I've been meaning to do this for ages, and the thought of using a journal has made the work more appealing. It's not an original idea -- during my mom's latest medical issue I discovered she kept a little notebook for doctor visits and so on, although it hadn't been updated in about five years (about the length of time we've been noticing memory loss . . . not a coincidence, I suspect). I'll offer to help update hers (but I doubt she will let me), or keep one myself. It would be very handy when I go with her to outpatients or to her doctor.
A third journal will be for a list of housekeeping jobs, especially infrequent ones, like cleaning the air exchanger or vacuuming the back of the fridge. The way time has been whizzing by the past few years, I'm finding these jobs are being put off for far too long, simply because I keep thinking it's not that long since I just did them. Also, we have a large house and I'm guilty of forgetting things that need done in the rooms we don't use anymore, so I really need reminders at hand. I have an unexciting journal for this purpose, because housekeeping is an unexciting job, but I need it to be sturdier than a notebook which can fall apart.
A fourth journal will make use of my "time travel journal" (remember the one with nonsensical quotes on it?) for -- what else -- keeping track of how I currently spend my time each day. One reader mentioned that he had found it helpful to keep a record of what he did in order to see more clearly where he could make changes to benefit his life, and that's something that I feel would be very useful for me, too. There are a few areas of my life where I feel I am falling short of my goals for "doing better," and they all involve the use of time in some way or another. I figure I have -- if I'm very lucky -- a maximum of twenty years of active life left, and I really, really don't want to continue to always be running late, wasting time, being disorganized, and procrastinating for all of those years.
Several readers said they use utilitarian notebooks instead of fancy ones, especially for lists and other temporary uses. I think this will work well for me, because the question of what to do with a filled journal and how to throw away something that's still attractive on the outside, just because it's filled up inside, has, in the past, kept me from starting at all. I have enough of these kinds of notebooks that I do not need to buy a thing. I'll use these for my decluttering, organizing, and shopping lists.
Thank you to everyone for your comments and encouragement, and for making me feel like I am not, in the end, a bit cracked for having a collection of empty books with nice covers!
Note that I haven't said anything about getting started on these journals yet . . . but now I have A Plan I Can Live With. (And actually I did start the housekeeping list. It's been too busy here this week to do more than that!)
It's exhausting, isn't it, kitty??
I'll be back on Poetry Monday with the theme "Modern Life" -- until then, please attempt to have a good weekend!
I LOVE that you have found a solution which works for you.
It's always good to have a plan!
The journal I kept while I was in the hospital and acute rehab has proven valuable many times since I got out.
I was paying such close attention to what my doctors and therapists said and did that I wrote about the questions I had and the resolutions to those questions, so later when I wanted more guidance on, say, diet, or exercise, I could refer to my journal before I bothered Dr. Nelson or Edmer about it.
Basically, they are both really good at what they do, and I kept finding that they really did address most of what I would end up needing to know later on in the time they had with me, and because I was bored and nervous and wrote a whole notebook's worth about that slightly less than three months, there ended up being a lot of useful stuff in there.
It does make a certain kind of sense to have different journals for different kinds of writing, at least to a guy who still has five different guitars for the various kinds of playing that I should really be doing a lot more of...
-Doug in Oakland
Hahaha, sorry but you crack me up. But you have made me think about our posh set of kitchen china bought years ago and never used, and now I don't like it anymore. It was modern and funky and now looks the opposite. There's a moral to this story. Use the journals. ;D
A plan you can live with. It sounds perfect!
Hello Jenny, I'm glad you've decided to use some of them. As I said on one of the comments I use one for my poems as otherwise they get lost on scraps of paper. This is how I can easily find an old poem that fits the theme for that week.
I also use one for my health issues, as you intend to do. This is mainly because when I have a hospital visit I am invariably asked when such-and-such a thing happened and I can never remember. Now I have it all written down.
A few other notebooks are used for other things too, but to elaborate would make this a long comment, so I'll refrain.
Take care and have a good week.
Regarding your poetry journal, you could print off copies from your computer, cut them out and carefully stick them in the journal. Apart from anything else, this would save you the rather laborious process of transcription.
Good plan. And keep those journals when they are full. In years to come your descendents will enjoy looking through them.
I did use a regular school notebook. I do keep a medical record but it's on loose leaf. Since I stared the medical journal, I'm surprised at how much I consult it. One thing about using the computer for writing is that you can always go back and tinker with the writing.
That sounds like a good plan. There's certainly nothing WRONG with keeping pretty notebooks just because they're pretty! You sound like you are a very meticulous note-taker about daily life, or maybe just aspire to be. I no longer write anything down except what I manage to retrieve from my memory for the blog every morning! In fact, it's shocking how terrible my handwriting has become, because I just don't use it anymore.
It's the first step in my transformation, EC - ha ha! Thank you :)
I've tended to avoid plans until now, which may explain a lot :)
Hah! Good comparison!
It's lucky you had written so much about the advice you got from medical professionals and could refer back to it. I imagine that saved your time as well as theirs. I've had medical and dental procedures done at which I was given a follow up handout of information and I have found those very helpful. It's the same sort of idea.
That's a good point - maybe I won't like those journals later as much as I do now! It's too bad about your china. You didn't even get to enjoy it!
I'm happier with this one :)
Yes, I'm starting to be asked things like that by the doctor and it's embarrassing when I can't pin down the last time this or that was done :)
If you want to elaborate on what you use other notebooks for, please do! If you hadn't noticed, I can go on and on about this topic and I like reading other peoples' thoughts on it. Thank you for what you've already shared.
I admit I did think of this. Somehow that feels like cheating, but it would be a heck of a lot faster and easier!
I wish my ancestors had done that!
Yes, and I love that about the computer!
I think it's less a matter of meticulous note-taking and more of a practical reality - I get lost in thought (or in a book, or in some other interesting activity) and don't remember I need to make a call, buy cat food, clean the whatever . . . I wasn't always like this but years of having too many things to do, when my daughter and then my father were not well, pushed me into a bit of burnout, and I've had a hard time re-establishing schedules and routines.
I hear you on the shocking handwriting front! ha ha Mine was never great and it's not improving as I get older :)
I'm taking you up on your offer to elaborate, which may be boring for some people.
One of the notebooks I'm using for poems I like, not my own. For some reason I like them 'on hand'. Another notebook I use for household hints and tips that I've picked up from various places, including blogs. I'm using one for Christmas ie things I have to do etc. Another is for my knitting, I mark off each row that I've done so that the front corresponds to the back and both sleeves match. It's also useful if I make the same garment again.
I use a pretty one for my daughter where I write down anything that she would be interested in, eg funny poems, bits of trivia, quotes, not well known facts, (one of them explains about the Oxford Comma), anything I come across that I feel she would be interested in. I'm on the second book for her and she's enjoying the random bits and pieces I put in the first one.
Right, you can all wake up now.
I still have a lot of notebooks left, but I'll find a use for them I'm sure.
I had to do something that was a first for me...shop for notebooks.
I was entirely out of writing paper...another first. Enjoy yours.
I like the idea of poems (not our own) in a book by themselves - it's like a "best of" that is highly personal. I really enjoyed reading about your additional uses, Joan - thanks. If you come up with more at any time, I'd be delighted to hear of them!
Did you enjoy the process, e? I have to say I don't think I'll ever run out of writing paper even if I were never to buy another piece :)
You seem very organized
That is a great plan! No matter how long it takes to execute. Baby steps :) Your kids one day will enjoy going through them. I wish my dad had left something like that behind. Just his thoughts on life would have been incredibly interesting since he was such a sensitive soul.
It's really hard to write in a pretty journal or notebook. Once it's done, it's done. But if you use it for something that you can keep for a long time to come, it makes the whole process easier. I've thought about filling one up with favourite recipes and keeping it within reach in the kitchen. I'll have to give that some thought.
I like to be organized but things have gotten away from me the last few years so I'm trying to get back on track!
Exactly - if you want to keep the journal or it's important in some way, it's so much easier to use a favourite one. Recipes is a good suggestion and actually something I had also considered. The ones I use the most are on index cards in a pathetic heap on the counter at the moment :) I was thinking of making one for each of our grown up kids for the meals and baked things that they used to like when they lived at home. So many things to do, not enough hours in the day . . .
quick question, hoping not to offend anybody- why do all you Americans write "need done" instead of "need doing" or "need TO BE done"?
Need suggests something in the future, while done is past tense.
sell the china and enjoy the $$$
Well done - an excellent attempt! :-) (And I know how Kitty feels.)
Excellent question, River. I didn't realize I was using that phrase until you pointed it out, and I can't find it by using Google. That suggests to me that it's an idiom; I use it as a short form of "need to be done" (or for a singular subject, "needs done/ needs to be done, eg. the shopping needs done). I'm Canadian (Nova Scotian), so I can't speak for or about Americans, but I know the phrase is common here.
The things we don't know that we don't know - until someone asks :D
Kitty is pooped. Couldn't take another wobbly step :)
I am too a pen-to-paper list-making note book carrying person. One with all work notes, one with all private plans, lists, quotes, summaries. I have a stack of utilitarian books (one particular style) for work, and pretty ones (another style and size) for the personal stuff. At least three years worth in storage.
Buying notebooks and then finding a use for them is a good way of spending the afternoon. You could use one to try and leave notes of all the passwords you use on your computer when going to various websites. It’s handy to use a book to list whose birthday it is on a particular day. The list of things you can do is endless. When you were described as American you could devote a book to put-downs used by Ocar Wilde.
Another kindred spirit! You mentioned quotes which is something I've considered as well.
What do you plan to do with your personal notebooks, eventually? And do you ever refer back to them now?
Both good ideas there, Terry. A person needs some way of keeping track of passwords these days.
And I have another kind of booklet to list birthdays - it has pockets to put cards in as well - but I might switch to a notebook.
Excellent strategy for personal journals. They are practical things as well as note-takings on life in general. Surprising how much we miss when we don't write it down --even in brief notes-- and how amazing it is to find forgotten things later.
You're right - our memories are more like a sieve than a bucket :) I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to write stuff down!
wow you are so SMART to plan your usage of journals as cleverly dear Jenny!
i never thought like this
good idea indeed!
i always wrote journals since my childhood but only my random spontaneous thoughts only!
hope you are doing excellent my friend!
take great care and keep writing such inspiring posts
Thank you for your comments which are always so encouraging, baili! I use my blog to record my "random spontaneous thoughts" as you describe so well, so I had to find a different use for my pretty books :)
I hope you are doing well, also, and that the winter flu has finally left you alone!
I have a post planned about empty journals, too, Jenny. I'll go back and read your previous post to comment on everything at the same time.
I'm looking forward to that, Chickie!
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