The hoarder’s guide to notebooks.

This was first posted in April 2016


In amongst all the poverty porn and shows designed to poke fun at people with mental health issues a certain type of person has been identified for us to laugh at or feel sorry for depending on our mood and our moral compass. The Hoarder.

We can all identify with storing a carrier bag within a carrier bag that we will reuse if we ever remember to take them out of the cupboard. The piece of wood we will one day use to stir paint if we ever did the decorating ourselves. The newspapers we will one day get round to reading. The drawer full of obsolete phone chargers.

I have a vague notion that I will use my rusting bicycle and and an old car battery in my back yard to create something. I’ve no idea what, I’m not very practical but it will be great.

Then there’s the collections we never look at, football programmes, ticket stubs from gigs long since forgotten, photos from holidays we barely remember.

We all have the gene in us but most of us stop short of it being an obsession.

As I woke at three this morning to make a note in my notebook about a dream I had (a chant of “You used to know Clive Tyldesley”) I realised that it is full of scribblings that never get reviewed. Bestsellers that lurk in the deepest recesses of my notes.

Of course my scribblings are electric ones these days. I use Evernote to seamlessly update between my phone, iPad, MacBook etc. My phone is always at hand so it is perfect to capture those moments of genius inspiration wherever I am. It syncs across multiple platforms and I never look at it again.

Whilst Evernote is great, every writer has their favourite traditional notebook. A new notebook is a sign of a renewed vigour. This time I will conquer writer’s block and finish that novel.

Until recently I had two. One was a ‘free’ gift from my stay at the Hotel Pulitzer in Barcelona. Named ‘Not Just a Notebook’ it had travel guides for cities around the world. As I stayed there during the volcanic ash crisis of 2010, it contains random details about ferries, trains, hire cars and all sorts of other plans to get me home.

Over the years I have filled it with notes that went onto become Idle Threats. If I die famous this is the one that will be worth a fortune. Unfortunately I have lost it. At first I was distraught, what if it fell into the wrong hands? What if someone had access to my inner genius? Truth is, it is full of gibberish and somebody will have thrown it in the bin.

I have another favourite. Leather bound, it was a present and looks great. I use it to make notes in meetings to look like I am listening. I could make notes on my phone but that would look like I was texting or on Facebook. It somehow seems more polite to pretend I will read the notes later from my lovely notebook. I won’t.

I’ve had a brief look at the thousands of notes in Evernote. I’ve filtered them by the tag ‘Idea’. Those that are not linked to any particular book, just something I may revisit. There’s some good ones in there, I’m not going to share because you might steal them but it’s the first time I’ve looked at them since I wrote them down.

Then there’s the ones I have no idea what they mean, you are welcome to these “Borough on a Tuesday afternoon”, “Shampoo for your Shan Do”, “Combined rage”. I haven’t a clue but I’m sure they were a good idea at the time.

I’ve spent an hour looking through them, then I’ve written this blog. Top quality procrastination, I’ve got a book to write.

I may use the notes one day. The Hoarder may refer back to the Radio Times from August 1992. It’s unlikely but it may happen.

I’m not going to employ a super cleaner to go through my notes, they are my thoughts not for public consumption. But if like me, you are a hoarder of notes, embark on a spring clean. Get rid of the rubbish and keep the gems, you may surprise yourself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.