Monday, May 20, 2019

My Notebooks

Ever since I was in elementary school, I've had a love of notebooks. In those youngest days I would fill notebooks with drawings. In college, I'd keep an extra notebook or two in addition to those designated for classwork, just to scribble random thoughts or doodle in my spare time. The summer before I entered seminary, I started journaling; this practice has endured for me off and on ever since.

In more recent years, I've added a few other notebooks for other purposes, either for work or for stoking or organizing my own creativity and writing. These are the specific ones that I use nowadays.

Scratchbook - Since I'm not always able to have a larger notebook with me, I try to be intentional about keeping a cheap pocket-sized one on my person as often as possible. This is a catch-all for to-do lists, articles I want to read later, reminders, random ideas to flesh out in my journal or on the blog, and whatever else I need it for in a pinch.

Sermon notebook - I use a 2-subject Five Star notebook for sermon exegesis. I can't recall when I started this, but I've been doing it for a number of years now. I don't know why I chose this particular brand, the size just seemed to fit the need well enough. Just for fun, I always try to select a new color cover each time, and I have yet to repeat (I'm probably getting close, though).

Planner - I've been using the official United Church of Christ Desk Calendar since my seminary days. I've occasionally tried other formats both paper and digital, but I always come back to these. I like that I can see the entire month laid out with plenty of room for writing, and it lists all the lectionary texts for every Sunday and special day. If/when I do something for a living other than be a local church pastor, some other planner might be more appealing. But this has made the most sense for me for over 15 years.

Logbook - I just started doing this at the beginning of May. It's another idea from author Austin Kleon, to just keep a daily log of your life. I use a large Moleskine 12-month daily planner, and it seems to suit me well enough. There's a certain spiritual ritual to this; an element of the Examen that this entails as I look back on each day to remember the meaningful and mundane things that I did. I'm still figuring out what exactly this practice means to me.

Journal - As mentioned, I've been journaling off and on since 2001. I started with those Mead Composition notebooks that you can find at any drugstore. But for a number of years now, I've been using the Moleskine lined notebook. I may sometimes write typical diary sorts of things here, but I also use these to take notes at conferences, record quotes, take notes from books I'm reading, flesh out ideas for books and blog posts, and more. This is the most prized among the various notebooks that I keep.

Do you use notebooks? What kind, and for what?