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Good Excuse To Buy Another Notebook...

Or in other words, just get on with it. With all the choice out there it is just so tempting to get caught up with trying to just even decide which notebook to choose.

The only way out of this one I have found is to have a few already in your stash, picked at random when you have seen one and liked it enough to buy it. I keep them and then its just a case of choosing one of those and then I can hopefully carry just straight on.

Best of both worlds

I have always liked to use notebooks and journals, loving the physical process of writing. Now we are spoilt for choice. But the combination of using computers and notebooks is a beguiling one and I embrace both. It means I can have a flexible workstation and move around my home with my materials if I wish.

I tend to use the MacBook Air for my main source to design the poetry pages themselves. I have many files on here filled with ideas for poems that have come to me when I am sorting through my photos. The first thing I do when I have got back from a session with the camera is to write up my immediate impressions into a notebook. This then gets transferred into a file on that particular location, and any thoughts on poems while I am writing the session up.

Looking through the images thereafter I will often brainstorm ideas into a notebook wherever I happen to be. If these look promising I will transfer these notes and place them into their own poem file on the computer.

And then another type of notebook arrived...

This is my new toy, a new iPad Air, which I am also using for storage for recent photo sessions until I have time to go through them, and make notes on any poem ideas that come up, which I will eventually transfer over to my main poem files on my computer. I am also writing my blog post ideas on here, so useful, as the iPad is so portable and the Apple Pencil that goes with it enables you to write freehand or draw whatever you like on the screen. I had better stop here otherwise I will sound like an advertisement for Apple.

I am sort of organised, but I am trying to keep it flexible, as I have found that the process of creation is often haphazard!

Just don't get me started about writing pens...!

My partner helps me with sorting out the back up systems for all my photos onto hard drives but he also prints out all the contact sheets which now go back years, but oh goodness they are so useful. The visual thumbprint size of the images enables me to find what I need very quickly. And he really doesn't mind, because he is the sort of person who loves lists. We will say no more.

I have notebooks going back years as well, and I will often personalise them with my own descriptive labels in the front, that is how much I love my notebooks! Revisiting old thoughts can be just as enlightening as returning to a favourite haunt in the landscape.

I am allowed to make that pun.

The perfect blend of the old and new

The way I work is a tried and tested system over many years, but now with the additional technology I find I can have more choices about how and where I work. I enjoy reading about how other people go about the process of producing photography, poetry and art, which is often an insight into how they have created their finished work, but also passing on and sharing their knowledge, accumulated in some cases, over a lifetime.


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John Hewitt
John Hewitt
Nov 19, 2022

I marvel at your powers of organisation Shelley. Everything neatly catalogued and your writing is so beautiful. I type because my handwriting is so difficult for people to read. Ha ha. I'm sure the MacBook is great, but I love the design on your journal there - like an illuminated manuscript.

Shell's Blog
Shell's Blog
Nov 20, 2022
Replying to

Dear John,

The Mac is great, and we need our computers to generate the work and be able to transfer it to wherever we want to show it, like this website! But nothing will ever stop me from using physical notebooks. Old habits die hard, or in this case, not at all. I just need that interaction of pen on paper. This is where the main ideas come from; it seems that the meditative action of writing with a pen actually calms or concentrates the mind to enable ideas to flow. The choice of notebooks is incredible these days. The one you mention is quite a posh one, but I couldn't resist it. Anyway, a beautiful notebook is a joy…

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