Literary Consumer: Notebooks for Budding Writers

Last Thursday I handed in my creative writing dissertation. The product of four long months of hard work, seven packets of chocolate covered digestive biscuits, and one notebook.

By the time I reached the word count, in between bouts of crying and stress induced eating, I was just about enjoying myself. But in January, faced with weeks and weeks of writing ahead of me, the last thing I wanted to do was pick up my pen.

In the midst of my desperation, I started to think that it might have something to do with the pen itself and my notebook of choice, in this case an A4 Pukka pad. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against Pukka pads; they are perfect for lecture notes, essay planning, list writing etc. But when it comes to writing creatively, when you sit down to begin that long awaited novel, you are going to need something a little more inspirational.

For the procrastinator extraordinaire (myself included), stationery shopping is the logical start to any writing project. Before you begin your sonnet, embed your clauses, or open up, you need to fully immerse yourself in the importance of your stationery choices. There are so many questions that need to be answered… Soft or hardback? Lined or plain? A4 or pocket-sized? Leather or fabric?

Luckily for you budding writers/procrastinators out there, I’m a bit of a stationery geek so I’ve done some window shopping and found seven of the best notebooks that will help you get your scribble on.

1. There is nothing nicer than the smell of a real leather notebook. £33.75. Roma from Papuro.

2. THE “legendary notebook” favoured by artists and thinkers alike, Moleskine journals have a special place in my heart. If they were good enough for Hemingway and Picasso, they are good enough for me. £8.99 small soft cover from Moleskine.

3. We all need a little bit of inspiration every now and again.  If you find yours when musing about the literary greats, this little notebook, from the appropriately titled ‘Lofty Thinking’ range, could be your perfect writing companion. (price on request) by Eccolo.

4. For those of you with ambitious aspirations, this notebook will help you on your way. £27.50 from Hope House Press. Available from

5. And if you’ve set your sights a little higher, this notebook might be the first step towards commercial success. £5 by Waldo Pancake. Try

6. Perhaps you are more of a travel writer? Bombus allows you to pick your own front cover for this notebook. Anywhere in the world, New York, Barbados, Basingstoke… your choice. £26. Available at

7. If all this notebook shopping isn’t helping your stress levels, perhaps destroying this journal will put you back in a creative frame of mind. My favourite pages include: ‘drawkcab etirW’, ‘Document your dinner (use page as a napkin)’, and ‘Shower with your journal’. Being instructed to destroy a book is a very liberating experience. Filled with random acts of creativity, although I wouldn’t advise using this journal as the place to start your novel, it will definitely spark your imagination. £8.99 from Penguin. stationery shopping may seem like a trivial business, I personally think that you can never underestimate the power of a good notebook. I think I have mine to thank for my finished dissertation (though I am yet to find out how thankful I should be. I don’t get my degree results for another five weeks…)

Ellie Walker-Arnott

One comment

  1. Emma says:

    I never go anywhere without my moleskine! After reading through all of the other kinds out there- I might have to reconsider my options when I run out of space!

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