Making time for writing

I’m a professional writer — not the exciting kind; instead, I’m a copywriter in the world of marketing.

This is a good thing because it means I can use my pens every day: in meetings to take notes; scribbling out a structure or draft of a piece; marking up comments on my team’s drafts.

It’s a bad thing because, when I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is write.

I’ve kept the flame alive in two ways, and now the fire is spreading.

First is my back-pocket notebook. For years this was a Field Notes notebook, but as I moved from EDC rollerballs to fountain pens, I realised that mostly Field Notes paper sucks. So now I use Tomoe River notebooks by Taroko tor Goulet, or Calepino dot notebooks. But the format, and the use, is the same: I keep these notebooks handy to store to-do lists, make notes during personal appointments or calls, and occasionally to doodle to entertain my daughter. At first I tried to conserve pages for “important” content, but I’ve got past that — paper is cheap.

Second is my daily journal. I invested an obscene amount of money in a Hobonichi Cousin, which I’ve been using diligently since February to record my daily life. For me it’s a chance to unload the day’s frustrations and use my pens; a quiet routine of sitting down in the evening and not looking at a screen for a while. I’ve gradually evolved how I use the book, adding some photos, trying to inspire myself (e.g. with a daily “three good things”), but essentially it’s pretty straightforward. I see some of the planning ninjas online tracking their habits, colour-coding, making watercolour illustrations, even making use of MULTIPLE Hobonichis for different purposes. I’m nowhere near.

Now about that spreading fire. I’ve been keeping a Rhodia softcover notebook for major events — Christmas plans, for example — as well as for non-timely topics like career planning, and now blog topic ideas. I’m using this third notebook more and more.

It’s hardly a system, but it does ensure that I’ve got time, and space, in my life to write.

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