Too Many Notebooks

You might as well face it, you’re addicted to notebooks.

I remember being nine and putting “notebooks” and “diaries” on my birthday and Christmas wish lists. We’d go to the drugstore and I’d salivate over a pink, three-subject, college-ruled, spiral-bound notebook (still have that, although the cover came off). And I’ve rhapsodized about old diaries here.

But now, as I outline Books 2 and 3, as well as craft pitches for various ideas I’ve had over the last year, I’m finding old ideas everywhere!

The problem with this, is that the reverse is also true: I can’t find anything! A few days ago (and I posted this on Twitter), I said to Homes, “Where is that prophecy I wrote?” His response: “In a big vault, with rows and rows of other prophecies, trapped in spheres.”

I never should have made him read Harry Potter.

There’s a line in Zero Effect that goes: “Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you’re only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you’re sure to find some of them.”

So true.

Clark thinks it’s too many notebooks, too. She bats at them in disapproval.

So what do I do? Something must change because I’m going bonkers trying to find pitches I may or may not have written months ago, and prophecies I apparently didn’t write months ago (because I read through six months’ worth of diary angst, obsession, and drivel, and never found the stinkin’ prophecy), and random scraps of ideas and half-formed Blake Snyder beat sheets. Maddening, I tell you.

And I LOVE Scrivener and always will, but there’s something grand about opening a notebook and jotting down ideas. There’s no screen involved, and my eyes thank me for that. And I can curl up on the couch more easily. It’s peaceful.

So…maybe limiting myself to a set number of notebooks? Say, seventeen?

PS: In the middle of writing this post I went to Target and bought two more notebooks. It’s a disease. I rationalize the purchase by exclaiming, “Back to school clearance!” but in truth, disease.


  1. readingisdelicious · September 7, 2012

    I made Clarkie my new wallpaper at work. Also, at least you fill your notebooks. All the notebooks I have, have like 3 pages written in and the rest blank. I always mean to write more in them… maybe it’s because once I write in them, I can’t read anything I’ve written since my handwriting is atrocious.

    Plus, there’s that really good feeling when you crack open a brand new notebook and write on the first empty page. None of the other pages give you that same feeling. It’s like eating the tip of a piece of pie or cake or pizza. Best part.

    • Beth Hull · September 7, 2012

      You’re right, that first page is glorious. But filling up that last page – nothing compares to that, either.

      Maybe someone should invent inexpensive, one-page notebooks!

  2. Maggie · September 7, 2012

    I love this post… I have way too many notebooks, too. And a constant compulsion to buy more. I already have three blank ones waiting for me to fill them.

    • Beth Hull · September 7, 2012

      Maggie, isn’t it exciting and comforting at the same time, to think of those fresh ones waiting? It is for me!

      • Maggie · September 8, 2012

        Definitely! It makes me wonder what kinds of things will fill the pages (and what kinds of odd stickers I can find to decorate the cover with).

        • Beth Hull · September 8, 2012

          Oh, stickers. You’ve mentioned my second love. I also have too many of those.

  3. PB Rippey · September 7, 2012

    Oh, man. I really think you’re on to something patent worthy with the one-page notebook. I’d buy it.

    • PB Rippey · September 7, 2012

      PS. You and Homes are funny, funny!

      • Beth Hull · September 8, 2012

        I think we try a little too hard sometimes, but at least we make each other laugh. 🙂

        I think I’ll make some one-page notebooks, see if my local bookstore will stock them. Who knows, it could take off!

  4. thalia · January 6, 2013

    If it gets out of hand, I tear (GASP!) out the notes from all the notebooks, and throw those under the copymachine (or scanner) along with those devious scraps of paper that seem to end up in your pocket everytime, no matter how many notebooks you have. The result is a nice, uncreased stash of notes that is ALSO evenly sized. Then I either put it in a binder, or go to youtube for some bookbinding tutorials for some fun on a rainy sunday!

    My problem is that I often get ‘bored’ with notebooks, especially cheap ones that looked pretty but don’t feel comfortable writing on. That’s why I’m a Moleskine fangirl now; I swore I’d never become a ‘brand notebook snob’, but my god it’s worth it!

    • Beth Hull · January 6, 2013

      I agree, thalia – it’s super-important to have a quality writing surface. Even some of the “nice” papers don’t feel quite right under my pens and markers. I’m very picky. Haven’t yet tried Moleskine. I haven’t yet seen any that are spiral-bound, which is my preferred binding.

  5. Tony · March 29, 2013

    Here’s one potential solution: buy a VuPoint hand scanner for about $50, scan your pages without reading them and then upload all the images to Microsoft OneNote. OneNote has pretty good OCR and can find words, even cursive ones, within images. The search function will scan all your images, thousands and thousands of pages worth, pretty quickly. I have terrible handwriting, but it can find most of my worst work.

    • Beth Hull · March 29, 2013

      Thanks for the idea, Tony! Because the pages keep piling up. I love the hand-scanner idea…hadn’t thought of that!

Leave a Reply to readingisdelicious Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s