I recently finished up one journal and have moved into another. The next chapter of my life, literally and figuratively.


I love the ritual of cracking open a fresh notebook, a little celebratory stickering, the opportunity to relish totally inconsequential decision making. While of course it is possible to make a wrong decision with a sticker (how many times have I peeled back a sticker affixed only seconds earlier, along with some paper fibers tearing—the sound of crippling despair if there ever was one), it’s not like some child’s potential future career earnings or moral fiber or entire definition of self depends upon it.


There is always an element of blank page panic, which in general is not quite as intense as it used to be. The crippling pressure of what to write on the first page! What the first line is going to be! May it not be as banal as the rest of the pages are destined to be!


I usually address this by gluing in scraps of things onto the first several pages haphazardly, maybe adding in some washi tape or a stamp. Once the page is not quite so blank, I feel a bit freer to start writing in around the things already there, and then off I go. I love feeling my notebook getting thicker and thicker, heavier, heftier, and that usually comes with ink, washi tape, scraps of paper glued in, a bit of collating, Instax photos.





Over the last little while I’ve been having coffee and conversations with people who are in various stages of their journaling practice: staff, customers, friends. I love it. I used to feel a bit self-conscious (crazy?) inviting people out to coffee, asking if they wanted to talk about their journals and life and work and books. It turns out, however, that people who love their notebooks can maybe have the same self-conscious, alien feeling in this intensely digital world. When you put yourself out there, you can find your people, uniting in the analogue enthusiasm. (Or, more likely, they are humouring me, which is not a bad way to go about things either.)


It’s been a complete joy to find inspiration in other people’s journaling, to hear about what they’re writing in their journals, what’s working for them, what pens they’re using, what’s clicked, what they need to click, to see what their pages look like, to peek inside their pen cases.


Sometimes it was a matter of sorting out the practical aspects (do you keep things separate? How do you keep track of more than one notebook?), sometimes it was a specific notebook size or format that changed everything (Hobonichi? TN? Daily? Weekly?), sometimes it was letting go of some mental obstacle or discovering a way of writing that opened things up. Maybe it was a life shift, a season changing, the stars finally moving into place. Maybe it was Julia Cameron or having a baby or having an existential crisis or watching bullet journaling videos on YouTube.


For whatever reason, it’s always clear when something has indeed clicked, and the journaling practice just feels right. There is a mutual love between the journaler and the journal, an attachment to the physical thing as the manifestation of the words and the journey inside.


In any case, I hope you are finding your own journal inspiration. I had this blog post in the queue for so long that since then I’ve already added several more things to the cover. It’s the perfect place to put a sticker that I’ve been hoarding for ages—a place where I can look at it for however long I have this notebook for, and where it’s protected (I use the Midori MD plastic cover which fits on any true-to-size A5 notebook), and where it will stand in for whatever season of life I was in when I had that notebook, each sticker and stamp holding its own special meaning for me.








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June 23, 2023 — Liz Chan


Kimberly Orton

Kimberly Orton said:

Hey there! I’ve been a fan for a few years have ordered online but recently (this past weekend) found myself in Toronto. My bestie and I are stationary obsessed. She promised we’d visit Wonder Pen! Just have to say the shop did not disappoint-we bought notebooks and pens, ink and a box for those fabulous notecards!! My bestie went down the Travelers rabbit hole. All this is say great store and Sarah was amazing!! Helpful, fun and knowledgeable!! Thanks for the great experience!!

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