One of the great recurring dilemmas of my life is how to pick the perfect journal. Honestly, when it comes time to shop for a new journal, it feels like going on first dates: there are some options that look good but are boring, some that are perfectly nice but no spark, and some that just are a total affront to the purpose of a journal. (Trust me on this one: I once used a journal that looked like neon seahorse had been brutally poached to make its cover…it may be filled with great memories, but I am filled with regret that I endured that notebook for so many months.)
However, having been an avid writer for as long as I can remember, I have narrowed picking a new journal down to a near science.
There are the obvious factors such as:
- Size: Large enough to read, small enough to squeeze into a purse, medium enough for an artsy Instagram photo to prove that you do indeed write in it.
- Lines: Do you want lines? Bullets? Or— I’m lookin’ at you T-Swift — blank space?
- Binding: Spiral? Flat? Antiquarian? Composition book? HELP.
- Covers: Hard, soft, over-easy, scrambled…wait no, that’s not right.
- Adornments: Bible verses each page? Inspirational thoughts? The full text of Pride and Prejudice in itty bitty type along each line?
But wait! There’s MORE!
- Stage of life: An “end-of-an-era” journal ought to look different than a “filled-with-high-hopes” journal and an autumn diary is likely to be quite different than a spring diary.
- Current goals: Tracking your fitness? Planning your homework? Composing poetry? Plotting your next campaign? The proper tool is key!
- Personal Style: As much as I might admire that hipster look, my life is lived in bright floral and, while I admire that skull diary, it would not quite match my pink pajamas.
I am about to enter not only a new year, but my final semester as an undergraduate; as such, there are exciting things happening every moment and this amped up the pressure to find the perfect journal. Unfortunately, it seems I have used every decent model sold at my go-to stores (aside from a too-expensive Monet-print leather model which I drooled over for a bit).
Anyway, after failing, even at Target (*shakes fist at security cameras*), I resorted to online shopping which, at least for books, is not the same. Of course I use it for convenience, but it just isn’t as satisfying as strolling through aisles of shelves, picking out a new notebook or novel, smelling that fresh papery scent and feeling the smooth inky pages… I spent HOURS of non-book-scented time scrolling through Amazon, putting way too many options in my cart. Honestly, it felt like literary online dating and finally I had to just swipe what looked promising and hope it will up to its profile in real life.
I suppose I’ll find out on Thursday.