I try to do this post every year, a look at what notebooks and planners I’m going to be using in the year ahead: it’s an incentive to actually sort myself out before the new year begins, something I spend the tail end of fall and the beginning of winter ruminating over, so hopefully I’ve come to some final decisions. Usually I try to do the blog post in December, but here we are in January. Life comes at you fast.


Who knows what 2021 will look like? It’s all a bit of a crapshoot, and I hate to get ahead of myself, making plans, but in addition to finding it helpful to organize myself with paper and pen, I also enjoy writing by hand, fussing around with my journals and notebooks, decompressing after the day.


Things are always changing, sometimes it’s small tweaks, sometimes I give up on something entirely or bring in something new.


This is what I’m going to be using:


  1. Hobonichi Cousin: work, to-do lists, drafting out blog posts, lists of things to order or to look into, looking at what’s coming up. I’ve currently been putting it inside my A5 Superior Labor Portfolio, which fits it comfortably along with other papers, packing lists, etc., but I am considering a Hobonichi A5 cover or a notebook cover like the Superior Labor one. I use the dated pages as a moving to-do list, with occasional notes and pages that I’ve flagged. On blank pages, for example, I might do some swabs and writing samples of inks for photos, or detail out thoughts for a blog post.
  2. Personal journal: MD A5 notebooks inside the MD Leather notebook. My notebook cover has aged well over the last couple of years, although it does have a large stain on the other side I’ve come to accept. I have used a Stalogy in the past, and may go that way again, or I might try out the new Taroko Mystique, which I have in the queue to get up on the blog with some writing samples in any case.
  3. Traveler’s Notebook: planner, reading journal, and an insert for general notes, lists, doodling. The planner is looking a bit empty so far, but who knows. Perhaps I will plan some time alone in my room with some chocolate.



I’m not sure if this really counts towards the system, but I’m also excited to have started using this new Maruman organizer with pockets to organize my correspondence. It’s all a bit fatuous at this point, given my current state of keeping up with things, but one can be optimistic. I just carry it around with me, pretending, which is a metaphor for life.



The organizer has five pockets, which I’m using to sort correspondence that needs responding to, as well as stationery, envelopes, stamps, stickers.



In any case, having finally come to decisions about using/re-using some of my favourite notebooks is a very small spot of joy as we’ve entered into this new year. Just the sight of them stacked neatly on my desk is so heartwarming. The cat glaring at me is just a lovely bonus.




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January 16, 2021 — Liz Chan



Em said:

I was looking forward to this post. :) I have an MD notebook waiting in the wings for when I finish my current journal and I can’t wait to try it out. Wishing you a year with lots of good things to write about.

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