I have recently been through a trying time.
I was coming to the end of my diary, and discovered that Paperchase, who for two years had given me everything I wanted, had discontinued the style.
I was trapped in a mid-year diary spiral after buying one when I started my MA in September 2016. But it was a perfect diary. A5, spiral bound, week on one page and a gridded notes page on the opposite. It had a plastic divider I could move to the week I wanted, and a plastic zip pocket at the back for keeping all my stickers in. It was robust enough to handle being shoved in my bad every day, but not so sturdy it became too heavy to carry. I mean, the cover wasn’t exactly inspiring but I didn’t spend my time looking at the cover.
So when 2016/17 rolled into 2017/18 I had no issues with just picking up the next version of the same diary and just transplanting my life into that. No teething errors, no difficulties. Just smooth as you like.
I was expecting the same this year, but NO. Paperchase have kept me happy for two years then cruelly ripped away a product I was very happy with, leaving me floundering in a desert of planners, journals and diaries which don’t meet my now quite specific standards.
I was left floundering looking for what I needed. Lots of diaries had bells and whistles, cute covers, extra note pages at the back – but I don’t use those! I use the ones next to the week I’m on, so I can see them.
I found all sorts of planners – some which had separate sections for to-do lists and events, as if the two should never interact. Some which had each day on a separate page and were thus extremely hefty volumes. I found filofaxes which had an A5 binder, and internal pages half the width once they were open, barely enough space for my scrawl. I didn’t want a properly bound diary, or a hardback diary, or a really floppy diary. I didn’t want a mini diary, or a giant desk diary.
A5, spiral bound, week on one page, with notes.
This is where the crafty people start making loud noises about bullet journals. Bullet journals are ideal for someone like me! I can design it perfectly to my specifications! There’s no waste!
Except they’re not, and I’ll tell you for why.
I have some artistic talent, but I am painfully aware of my flaws. Googling bullet journals shows all these beautiful, neat, precise layouts, and nothing I could produce would be exactly right for that. They would all be just slightly out of line, just slightly imperfect, and it would drive me mad.
I would also have to do the whole year in advance which is a lot of work, but my brain wouldn’t be able to cope without having the whole year ready to go. If anyone wants to start a website where I can build my own pre-printed bullet journal, I will give them all my money.
In the end I settled. For a Moleskine.
I know, the words ‘settle’ and ‘Moleskine’ don’t usually go together, their notebooks and sketchbooks are beautiful. I love their paper, I love their covers. But they aren’t quite what I want in a diary. They’re not quite as wide as the Paperchase ones I had, and they’re not spiral bound so I can’t keep my to-do list open on my desk. There isn’t enough give in the binding for me to keep my stickers in the pocket at the back without the whole book bulging unattractively. I am not as keen on the lined note pages as I was on the grid pages, because it feels more restrictive.
BUT, it is a cute cover, and the paper is a nice quality, and it does have my week-to-view plus notes layout (why is this so rare? It’s really useful). And it’s an 18 month diary, which means I will have broken out of my mid-year diary trap.
Maybe I just need to settle into it. My husband has had Moleskine diaries for years, and really rates them, but he also doesn’t try and stuff his full of stickers, or scrawl quite as liberally as I do.
We’ll see. I’ve got 18 months to get used to it. And it does have Snoopy on.