Write This Down: One Line Per Day

Rhodia Webbie Gfeller

There is no question that we are all busy people with a multitude of things constantly vying for our attention. I know that sometimes we just don’t get the chance to put pen to paper as often as we would like, and so I’d been thinking about simple ways to keep the ink from drying up in our pens so to speak. When I recently came across a three year journal in a bookstore that prompted a single line to be written per day, my thought was, One line per day… that seems like something most people could accomplish if they really put their mind to it. It could also be a way for those who would like to begin writing, but don’t know how to start. 

So here’s my creative prompt to you: Use a pen/pencil to always write as least one line per day in your favorite notepad or journal. The line can consist of anything – how you feel, something you’d like to accomplish or have just accomplished, a favorite quote, headline news – anything really. Just so long as you do it every day.

And what if we liked this exercise so much, that we were to put aside a separate notebook just for this prompt? One line per day: 365. A year in the life of (fill in the blank)

What do you think of this idea? Is it something you’d be willing to try? Already do? Have shared with other people?

Tuesday Talk Back: You don’t like the notebook you started… Now what?

Notebooks

Question: What do you do with the journal or notebook that you started, but ended up not liking?

Before I started writing for Rhodia Drive, I used to do a lot of product reviews on my personal blog in search of the perfect pen, ink and journal. At that time, the perfect notebook for me was one that was first and foremost friendly to fountain pen inks. Other preferred features included being able to both open and lie flat, pages with rounded corners, and a rigid cover so that I could write with the book propped on my knee. I ended up testing many, many journals.

(Some people use the words journal and notebook interchangeably. I tend to use “journal” when describing a notebook whose pages are not removable.)

If I really didn’t like the book, I’d either give it away or recycle it. If I liked it, I’d obviously use it – but there were one or two that while I didn’t love them, I thought had a few redeeming qualities. These ended up hanging around on the shelf a lot longer than I’d intended.

Case in point – I just finished a book that I’d started in July of 2010. I didn’t love the book when I first bought it, mostly because it wasn’t fountain pen friendly and the pages had noticeable grain. Four years ago I decided to turn it into a mixed media art journal and had started drawing on the first few pages but once again, I quickly abandoned it.

I came upon the book once again this past April, when I decided that I either had to use it or get rid of it. Knowing that I’d created art in it, I didn’t really want to let it go and so I tried again. Five months later, it was filled with a combination of writing and sketches, all done in pencil and it felt good to have finally finished something that I’d started so long ago- even if it was just a simple journal.

So if I may ask, what do YOU do once you’ve started working in a journal or notebook, then decide you don’t like it?

(Once in a blue moon, if I’ve been in a journal for too long sometimes I get antsy and want to move on even if it is a journal that I do really like. In which case I’ll either finish the last pages with collage, sketches, poems, affirmations, intentions, prayers and/or overall positive words of encouragement.)

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Journal

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today (and everyday) is a good day to be grateful.

What are you grateful for?

Creative Prompt: What I did on My Summer Vacation

IMG_0798

For this week’s creative prompt, grab a pen and some paper to make a list of all the things you did this summer. It doesn’t matter whether or not they were connected to any specific vacation destination or event, just write down anything that you’d like to remember about the summer of 2014. Think people, places, foods, music, games, sports, nature…

Feel free to write an essay if you like, but individual words and simple phrases will work just as well.

Creative Writing Prompt: Summer Vacations – Then and Now

Rhodia Pencils

It has been historically close to impossible for me to take a staycation without feeling like I *have* to do work but this past holiday weekend I think I did a pretty decent job of tuning out the world and just enjoying myself. I spent time puttering around the garden, reading, cooking delicious food, watching fireworks and contemplating life.

As I took several long walks around the surrounding neighborhoods, I noticed that things seemed very quiet and my assumption was that a lot of people were either on vacation or visiting with family and friends for the holiday.

This started me thinking about the types of vacations that people take. We didn’t travel much when I young girl, but I can distinctly remember two trips to the Jersey Shore- (Long before Snooki…) then in my mid to late teens, all I wanted to do was to go to Wildwood or Seaside Heights. Nowadays, I’d rather be in the woods or by a nice lake in the middle of nowhere. Nature, quiet, solitude. Ahh…

Today’s creative writing prompt centers around this:

Do you still frequent the same vacation destinations that you did when you were young?

Why or why not?

Friday Link Share: May Edition

augustanissss

The Pen of Maya Angelou at Palimpsest

Ink Review: J. Herbin Vert Olive at A Penchant for Paper

Autopoint Interview at Dave’s Mechanical Pencils

The 2014 Chicago Pen Show Report at Fountain Pen Geeks

You Win, Pilot Metropolitan at The Pen Addict

So I picked up a broad……..nib. at From the Pen Cup

J. Herbin Lie de Thé Ink Review at Write to Me Often

271 Year Old Manuscript Colours and Penmanship at Pentamento

Evolution of the Pencil at Pencil Revolution

How to Get Ink Off Your Fingers – Amodex or Mr. Clean at Office Supply Geek

20 Common Words You Could Be Using Incorrectly at Inc.com

This Is Why Everyone Should Write Poetry at Thought Catalog

The British Library Puts Online 1,200 Literary Treasures From Great Romantic & Victorian Writers at Open Culture

Elizabeth Gilbert: How to Find Your Creative Home at 99U

Journals from Yellowstone. ~ Jill Pendergrast at Elephant Journal

Image courtesy of  augustanissss on Instagram

Dispatch from the NSS: Things to look forward to.

Rhodia white ice

There were several new products on display in the Exaclair booth at the National Stationery Show that I had the opportunity to drool over today, including the new “pictures can’t do them justice” Rhodia Ice. They look AMAZING in person. Continue Readering »

Are you Familiar with Commonplace Books? Why not start one today!

Commonplace_book_mid_17th_century

Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are essentially handwritten scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas, etc.

These commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts, or facts they had learned and each book would be unique to its owners particular interests. They became significant in early modern Europe.

Per Wiki, commonplace books are not diaries nor travelogues, with which they can be contrasted: English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke wrote the 1706 book A New Method of Making a Common Place Book, “in which techniques for entering proverbs, quotations, ideas, speeches were formulated. Locke gave specific advice on how to arrange material by subject and category, using such key topics as love, politics, or religion. Commonplace books, it must be stressed, are not journals, which are chronological and introspective.” – Nicholas A. Basbanes in “Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World”

And in the words of Jonathan Swift: “A common-place book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that “great wits have short memories;” and whereas, on the other hand, poets being liars by profession, ought to have good memories. To reconcile these, a book of this sort is in the nature of a supplemental memory; or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own by entering them there. For take this for a rule, when an author is in your books, you have the same demand upon him for his wit, as a merchant has for your money, when you are in his.” —from “A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet”

Would you like to read more about commonplace books? Try these links:

How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book” at ThoughtCatalog

Commonplace Books at Harvard University Library

Link Share Friday: March Edition

marcieello

Scribbling With Style on OZY

Yellow Rhodia Paper at Pencil Revolution

A Minimal Pen with a Twist at Fubiz

A Celebration of The Stop Doing List at Danielle Laporte

Pilot Ageless Future Gel Ink Pen Review at The Pen Addict

Rhodia Mouse Pad Note Pad at Office Supply Geek

Can the Right Tools Help You Write Better? at Writing Forward

Stanley Kubrick’s Annotated Copy of Stephen King’s The Shining at Open Culture

Journaling lessons learned at Plannerisms

Hero Has Cloned The Lamy Safari at Pentorium

7 Inspiring Quotes About Writing at LifeHack

Shaw Pens – The Bessemer Ballpoint at No Pen Intended

2014 – the year of very many books about Urban Sketching? at Making a Mark

Writing and the Creative Life: 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently at The Creativity Post

Gorgeous images of the new Pilot Metallic VP at Ink Nouveau

22 Manly Ways to Reuse an Altoids Tin at The Art of Manliness

Art Journals at Quo Vadis Blog

Ink Review: J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen at The Well-Appointed Desk

Guide to Choosing a Highlighter Pen at JetPens

Anonymous Chalk Artists Decorate Ohio College With Inspirational Quotes at HuffPost

Wolff’s Royal Sovereign pencil samples in a tin at Palimpest

iHanna’s DIY Postcard Swap Spring 2014 at iHanna

Start Shipping! Enjoy Free Shipping on Orders $45+ at European Paper

Image courtesy of marcieello on Instagram

 

Reviving Old Writing Habits

_sookyung

Therapy can be costly, and our friends aren’t always available or capable of holding space for us- while our notebooks and journals stand ever ready to serve. I first started journaling in 2005 and can now look back and see how valuable writing was to my growth process.

In the book “The Artists Way“, author Julia Cameron describes a practice she calls “Morning Pages” in which you regularly dump the junk out of  your mind and into your journal – effectively freeing up space for clearer thinking.

In “Dark Side of the Light Chasers” Debbie Ford says, “Journaling is a good tool to help process your emotions. It encourages whatever comes into your mind to flow out onto the paper. It allows the emotional toxicity in our bodies and minds to express itself freely. Once we can grant this toxicity being and allow it to exist without judgment it will be released.”

I wrote with great consistency from 2008-2011, yet very little in 2012. Things picked up in 2013 but not as much as I would like. Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about writing and am ready to once again make regular time for it.

Do you have a regular writing habit? Do you make time to “dump the junk?” Is this a process that has proved valuable for you?

Image courtesy of sookyung on Instagram

 

Writing Wild

cheryl-strayed-wild

Have you read Wild by Cheryl Strayed? I just finished it last night – literally only a few days after I’d started it because I couldn’t put it down. The book is Cheryl’s story of hiking the Pacific Coast Trail – a 2650 mile trail that runs from Mexico to Canada. It found it riveting because of all the completely amazing things she did wrong which could have gotten her killed over, and over, and over again as she chose to tackle this monumental journey with close to zero experience. She also did it alone.

During and after my read of Wild, I started wondering how she was able to recall such detail about her experiences on the trail. She passingly mentioned having a sketchbook in her backpack but never mentioned writing in it. A quick visit to the FAQ on her website explains:

“I kept a particularly detailed one (journal) on my PCT hike, which I noted passingly in WILD. My journal was enormously helpful to me as I wrote the book, often providing me with details I’d have forgotten. I also researched facts and consulted others about their recollection and interpretation of some of the events I wrote about in WILD, but, like any memoir, WILD is based primarily on memory. I re-conjured moments, conversations, feelings, landscapes, and the people I met as I remembered them from my own point of view.”

I think about the dedication it must have took to detail her trip. Through the sweltering heat, the bitter cold, while hungry, exhausted and in pain, she still managed to write about it.

 

Clairefontaine 1951 Notebooks: Authentic Heritage Design

Purple Clairefontaine 1951's

The Clairefontaine 1951 collection has been expanded! Options now include:

  • Staplebound Notebooks in 3.5 x 5.5″ and 5.75 x 8.25″ 48 sheets, lined, in two sizes and seven colors
  • Clothbound 5.75 x 8.25″ Notebooks: 96 sheets, lined, available in 6 different colors
  • Top Wirebound (Reporter Style) Notepads: 3 x 5.25″ 64 sheets, lined, available in 7 colors.
  • SquareBack Notebooks 3.5 x 5.25″ 64 sheets, lined, available in 7 colors.

1951 colors

All of the Clairefontaine “1951″ Collection include the Authentic Heritage design and contain the following:

  • 90 g pH neutral, acid-free and fountain pen friendly paper
  • Smooth satin finish, white paper
  • Grained paper cover with front label
  • Vintage look and feel

 

Redux: Moving From One Notebook to the Next

Orange DotWebbies

Rhodia Drive experienced a few hiccups over the last 2 days and when the blog was restored, this post disappeared along with a few of your comments. I think we may have also lost a few comments from  Friday’s post about Herbin Anniversary inks. Since we greatly value your feedback, if you don’t see a comment that you know you submitted on either of these two posts, we’d be grateful if you’d be willing to take the time to resubmit your thoughts. 

For the last several years I’ve made it a point to always finish a notebook by the year’s end and move into a new book in the new year but I didn’t do it this year. With my birthday being the very last day of the calendar year, I’ve often found myself running around during the end of December, “I’ve got to do this by the end of the year, I’ve got to do that by the end of the year…” As if the significance of these actions would make a real difference when performed with such specific intention. (Letting go)

Truth be told, I found that I did not like using the 2013 book in 2014. It just felt, wrong. Like I was living in the past, or that I didn’t want to let go of the events that happened during that year. Thankfully, I’ve since finished it and moved into a new book .

As you finish a notebook and move from one to the next, is there anything special you do to mark the occasion? Such as:

  • Writing a defining end passage on the last page
  • Writing a list of specific accomplishments during the time the notebook was in use
  • Putting your name and the date inside the cover of the new book
  • Adding a favorite quote to the inside front cover
  • Copying your bucket list from one book to the next
  • Moving a favorite bookmark, photo, or papers from one book to the next

 

The Rhodiarama Rainbow Grows in 2014

Purple Rhodiarama

If you haven’t had the chance to see all of the great new products in the 2014 Exaclair USA catalog, allow me to introduce one of my favorites: Large Rhodiarama Webbies! the NEW 5 x 8.25″ version will be available this spring/summer in the same 15 colors as the 3.5 x 5.5″ notebook. (Yaaaay for Purple!)

Haven’t tried a Rhodiarama Webbie yet? Here’s the specs:

  • 96 sheets, lined or blank of 90g acid-free, pH neutral fountain pen friendly ivory paper
  • Italian leatherette cover with the embossed Rhodia logo
  • Inner pocket
  • Orange elastic closure and orange ribbon bookmark
  • Rounded corners

Which color is your favorite?

Diary Entry from 1874

Denis Nealon journal page

“November 20th 1874: Dark day snowed about three inches left Murhpys shanty with Butter, Welsh & Murphy. Went to Pages Depot Bought one adze from Monshan for 50c Butter Bought for Rathbun & Son Iron, Coal, Lamps, ox chains &c, &c. Left Depot about 11 a.m. Rode with Mule team William Diamond teamster about half way to Genarouxs walked from there to Mellons and had dinner. Left about 4 p.m. for Genarouxs Met Wm McMahan at forks[?] with 58 Head Cattle bought by O’Brien. Slept at Genarouxs Shanty all night. Butter slept at James Mellons. Walked today eight miles.”

This photograph, (courtesy of Desoronto Archives on Flickr) is of the pages of an account book and diary kept by Denis Nealon and covers the period between 20 November and 28 December 1874, when Nealon was working as an accountant for Rathbun and Son. He travelled between the various shanties (lumber camps) run by the Rathbun companies, compiling their accounts and noting the weight of cattle and other goods used by the men at the camps.

You can see all of the images from this diary in this set on Flickr.

Any thoughts on the pencil used to write this entry?

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About

Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.