New Year, New Notebook

Wasn’t it great how this year — and last year, I should say — Christmas Day and New Year’s Day both fell on Tuesdays? It made for a particularly quiet holiday season, at least at the office. And today, first day back at work, it’s a bit of a treat to remember that it’s just a three-day workweek — heck tomorrow’s Thursday, already.

All of that time off, both from work and, yes, from this blog, was exactly what I craved. I just needed the month of December, between my traveling and the holidays, to take it easy and spend time with Mister President. This morning when I got to the office, I felt more rested and recuperated than I thought I would, though there’s about a million things I’m already behind on for 2008.

Still, I’m feeling pretty positive about this year. Someone asked me in the elevator today if I thought the new year would be a good one, and somewhat unexpectedly, I said, “It’s going to be great!” I don’t know why I said that exactly, but it just sort of jumped out. And then I thought to myself, wow, it’s kind of frightening how much of an optimist I’ve become.

Back at It

Anyway, I now consider myself back from blogging hiatus, so posts should resume their normal, erratic but somewhat frequent pace here — if not starting this week, then certainly next week. Additionally, we’ll be resuming more regular publishing of A Brief Message, too. There are some pretty neat contributors lined up, and I’m going to be writing up a blog post here about our experiences so far publishing that site.

Below: Note country for old men. A new notebook for 2008, left, to replace last year’s beat up model.

Finally, in what’s becoming a minor tradition for me, this morning I started a new notebook. My trick for always having my notes handy is to put all of them, an entire year’s worth, into a single notebook that I keep with me at the office at all times, carry with me to meetings, etc. Everything goes into the one notebook, and then at the start of each year, I start another one. After twelve months of wear and tear, it’s always surprising to me to go to a new, pristine notebook — I use the same ones, these Moleskine Cahier notebooks — but the fresh ones always seem foreign and otherworldly. I like it though; the pages are blank but it’s kind of filled with promise. It’s a good way to start a new year.

2007 and 2008 Notebooks
  1. Khoi:

    Glad to hear you’re back. I have to admit, I did the same thing with my moleskine notebooks this year, except I keep two pocket sized ones – one blank pad for design sketches and the other lined for misc. notes. It works out great for me because I used to forget some of the ideas in the hustle and bustle of my day to day activities. I also gave a pair to a painter friend of mine to let him sketch while working his day-job at Starbucks, and he’s been ecstatic about them – who’d have thought such a simple gift would be so handy?

    2008 should be an excellent year, I’m a bit freaked out by the amount of change I see coming, but one thing is for certain, I don’t think there will be many dull moments.

    I’m looking forward to new posts on both Subtraction and Brief Message, so here’s to wishing you luck, excitement, and a happy new year.

  2. Happy new year, Khoi! Mmmm, there’s nothing like a fresh new notebook to start the year off. My new one, as always, is plain. How about you? Are you a plain or a lined man? Or perhaps even a square grid man? Crikey.

  3. My guess would be plain, since that’s what he linked to 🙂

    I was a plain man until I started carrying around my little Field Notes notebook, now I think I may be jumping to the grid world.

    Should I admit that in public?

  4. I guess many people would expect me to use gridded paper, but I very much prefer plain paper notebook. Part of it is that I want to be able to scan/reuse anything I put on the page with a minimum of interference from the notebook itself; I know that some gridded paper is technically non-reproducing, but I don’t believe it. The bigger reason I prefer plain, though, is that gridded paper makes feels too restrictive. Imagine that.

  5. Contrary to this, I had my first meeting of the new year this morning and I brought nothing for the first time in over a year. It felt great. I just took notes using that awful Notes app on my iPhone. That kept them clear and succinct, so now they’re quite a bit easier to review than my usual scrawled-on-a-gridded-moleskine notes (love the grid). I’m hoping to slowly reintroduce the Moleskine to my note-taking, but not until I get into the habit of being succinct all the time.

    And of course, welcome back and happy new year, Khoi!

  6. I noticed Dan asked what kind of writing instrument you use with the notebooks. Is his guess right? If not, what do you use?

    I’ve fallen for the Pilot G2 .7mm pens, but with the plain moleskines..if I want to scan, there is a hell of a lot of bleed through… any suggestions for a left handed writer(god I hate smearing..) would be nice 😉

  7. Brian, try the Uniball Signo 207. I like it in orange personally, but it’s good in black as well. It’s gel ink, but doesn’t tend to smear like the G2 does, and it doesn’t bleed too much through moleskine pages. I use the G2 for writing in general, but if it goes in the moleskine, I pick up the Signo.

    And I’m a lefty, so I feel your pain (and your filthy hand 😀 )!

  8. I’ve been using the Signo 207 lately too (I’m a left as well…we should all get together). I’m pretty pleased with it. Not the smoothest pen I’ve ever used, but I don’t have any smearing at all.

  9. Absolutely a great way to start the year with a new Moleskin. I have a couple around the house and my resolution for this year is to not buy too much of them and start using the ones I own already. Great for random notes, scribble and for jotting down potential blogging topics.

  10. Dan: yes, I still do use the Sanford Uni-ball Roller pen in the micro size and in blue ink. I use it for everything. Sorry for taking a while to confirm that.

  11. So you convert the sketches you post on here to B&W? And apparently enlarged them quite a bit, since those look like pretty thick lines for a .5mm. I’m referring to these and these.

    Anyway, always great to read about you’re up to…and Happy New Year.

  12. Had a “me too!” moment when i saw the Cahier in your post—but I must profess shock that you can make a single one last an entire year. Mine only make it on average 5 months before I’m out of space.

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