One Red Notebook

Where do you keep your life?

Not the living, breathing, soul part (I’m not feeling that philosophical today) but the organizational part.

I know more and more people who keep it all on their phone. Personally I find this horrifying for a many reasons like…

  1. What if it spontaneously malfunctions?
  2. What if I break it?
  3. What if I lose it?
  4. What if I drop it on a gravel path and the screen shatters? (True story)
  5. What if I run it over with an F250? (True story)
  6. What if I jump in a lake to save my kid with it in my pocket? (True story)
  7. What if I forget it?


Instead I currently keep my life in a red notebook.

It has…

  1. Notes about what to talk about at an author program.
  2. To-do lists for marketing a picture book.
  3. To-do lists for writing a picture book.
  4. To-do lists for managing a capoeira group.
  5. Things to prepare for Thanksgiving.
  6. Three months of who’s spending which weekend with Granny.
  7. Notes from a meeting with publisher and illustrator.
  8. Notes from talking with stores about carrying my book.
  9. Notes from talking with schools about doing capoeira demos.
  10. E-mail addresses.
  11. Blog post ideas.
  12. To-do lists for the poultry
  13. To-do lists for the week.
  14. Things to remember. (That’s a good catch-all page)
  15. Lists of butterfly houses and exhibits in the Midwest.
  16. Lists of favorite winter/snow books.
  17. And notes on how to plan and serve Thanksgiving dinner to 45.

And no, while bullet journaling sounds great in theory, that’s not a thing I do.

I am not unaware that while this is a system, it is possible it’s not the best system. It also occurs to me that a red notebook is just as prone to flood, fire and forgetting as a phone. But, for all I write on the computer and share documents over google drive and set things up in shared calendars, there is a perceived permanence to writing things down in my own messy, illegible, misspelled handwriting that I’m reluctant to give up. It’s as though in my mind a to-do list isn’t a to-do list if it’s not written at two different angles with big bold scribbles when something is crossed off.

I keep my life in a red notebook. Where do you keep yours?

11 comments on “One Red Notebook

  1. hastywords says:

    I keep mine in pictures. Things I have to do or remember. Pictures in albums on my phone. Albums are my subject and some by date to be done.

    I’m not a calendar person… I’ve tried to be but I’m just not.

    • Jessie says:

      Pictures – I like it! I can only use a wall calendar, not a diary or a digital one, apparently this makes me difficult and old for my years but what can I say!? If it’s not written down it just isn’t going to happen!

  2. Georgia Rose says:

    I’m just like you, Jessie. A main diary for organisation and time essential things, a notebook for all my thinky thoughts.

    • Jessie says:

      I can’t even seem to keep my schedule in an online calendar I still have to use a wall one. If it’s written on the wall I really have to do it. If it’s just in some app… well… who really wants to go to the dentist anyway? 😉

  3. jenanita01 says:

    I have several notebooks at the moment, for, like you, I have trouble trusting anything digital or run by bots…

    • Jessie says:

      The amount of note books and papers I find myself with gets to be excessive though. I have two note books (though most everything is in the red one) and then many post-it-notes and other papers with lists and important bits of info scattered around.

  4. Dani Heart says:

    I keep mine in several notebooks for I have so very many and I love them all. I do have a favorite recycled one that I write in the most at the moment. There definitely is a permanence to writing something down. Also, these days it’s more secure. 🙂

  5. Jeremy Silva says:

    I use evernote, it is cloud based and I have it on my phone, laptop and desktop computers.
    I also use an amazon basics notebook because I like having pen and paper available for spontaneous note taking and planning.

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