Always carrying a notebook

DV notebook
One of da Vinci’s notebooks. Source: The Leonardo Project

A good friend at university used to have a pen in their pocket all the time. We called it Wrighty’s Indie Pen, our sentiment a mixture of bemusement, disparagement and admiration.

Only in the last 18 months have I understood that Wrighty was on to something. In that time, I have carried an A6 notebook and pen in my pocket at all times and it has been fantastic. The notebooks have all sorts in them – thoughts, reminders, work, useful numbers, sketches, lists etc. – and I can’t now see a time when I wouldn’t have one in my pocket.

I mention this because of reading 9 things that happen when you carry a sketchbook with you nonstop. From there, it is a short hop to the positive difference carrying a notebook can make and the unanswerable question of which style notebook to use.

There is then the matter of how others have used their notebooks – here are 20 famous examples (I don’t know why they’re all men’s notebooks).

It’s a different experience entirely to making notes on your phone/tablet or carrying a more formal notebook of, say, A5 or A4 size. I commend the notebook to you.


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Man of letters & numbers; also occasionally of action. Husband to NTW. Dad of three. Friendly geek.

5 thoughts on “Always carrying a notebook”

  1. I have been carrying a note book ( in fact I have several) around with me for some time. I have tiny ones A6 size for jotting ideas in and a slightly larger A5 one for when I have the chance to write more. It is mainly creative writing I scribble in them. I can’t recommend it enough to anyone wanting to be more creative. I’ve not come across a writer yet who doesn’t constantky use notebooks.

    I couldn’t get on to the 20 men with notebooks web page. But maybe the “Art of being manly” website detected my non manliness and so barred me ha ha! I had a search for women and note books and came across condescending Telegraph articles about women “fetishising fancy stationery” and something about a notebook designed to inspire “women leaders” I may have to write about notebook use too on my blog. You’ve inspired me.

  2. I have this notebook same size as yours with the same things inside. I really like to write everything like a journal. I put all my plans, queries, suggestions for doing my blog and it really helps me. 🙂

  3. Lovely post, Rich. I’ve always had lots of notebooks. At my first seminar at grad school, the professor told us that if we were serious about allowing ourselves to be inspired to learn something at anytime wherever we are, we should always carry a notebook. He told us he even takes his to the pub! My notebooks are full of things I think of ‘on the go’; references I’ve heard on the radio that I want to look up later; quotes; or notes to myself about things that matter and things that don’t. Everyone who knows me knows that the gift I will always be overjoyed with is – a (pretty) notebook 🙂

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