Most people know me as a writer and reporter. Friends who go further back might know that I also used to be an artist. Therefore, the most natural gift to get someone like me for occasions and non-occasions is something to write or draw on.

For a couple of years, it falls under the grading of “thoughtful gift”. But I later realised that all the notebooks and sketchbooks are not getting used at all. Not even the ones I accumulate on my own. There’s just something about a pile of blank pages bound in a pretty cover that I find irrationally irresistible. I know it’s not just me.

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The above are all my unused notebooks. My big toe is in the picture for scale. The oldest one is about two years old. Oldest notebook, not toe. My toes are all the same age. A lot of them (notebooks) are just too pretty to use. Not that I need them any time soon. Here are the notebooks that are currently “in circulation”:

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On the left is a big blank journal with zebra skin cover. I use this as a sketchbook and idea book for a while, but it’s just too big to lug around so it’s hanging around the bedroom – too used to be regifted, too empty to be retired. On top of that is a sketchbook I got from Techno Graphic, half filled with old sketches.

On the top right is my paper journal, which I haven’t updated since August. It has its own special fountain pen for me to write with. Below that are my two most used notebooks.

The black one is my precious Moleskine Reporter Ruled Pocket, which is the perfect size for roving writers to hold in their hand and take notes with… if you can stomach the price tag. I use that for a mixture of writers convention notes, story ideas and brainstorming, and a travel journal because it’s small and hardy enough for frequent handling. I love it. I will mourn when I run out of pages. Then I will shell out an astronomical amount of money for a new one.

For work, I go for a cheaper notebook, which is the inelegant purple one in the photo. It doesn’t matter that it’s inelegant or that it falls to pieces very quickly. Once I finish using it, I toss it into the bottom of a drawer at work and forget it’s there until I run out of storage space. I buy a bunch of these when I find them because they’re the closest to being able to fit in your hand without being so stupidly tiny, I have to flip pages every 30 seconds of interview conversation. Like so:

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The irony never ceases, because my latest project consists of making my own notebooks out of reclaimed paper and photographs I took.

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These will be available for sale soon.

This post was brought to you by my attempts to stop well-meaning people from giving me stuff that I don’t need. So no more notebooks please… unless it’s the kind I can plug into an electrical outlet and surf wirelessly and probably looks like this:

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Now this is something I need.

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