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Moleskine Hack! May 18, 2011

Really, I get WAY too excited about this. But it takes me soooo long to fill up a whole Moleskine that when I get to crack open the spine of a new one, it's like Christmas morning.


Then, of course, I'm too nervous to write anything on the first page, so I have to wait for a bit. And this last journal -- you know what was on the first page? "I have finished a book." In September 2007, I finally finished my first novel, Love Spun (which turned into How to Knit a Love Song). I was so dang over the moon about it, and in the pages of the journal I spun a little dream about publishing something someday. I finally knew I *could* finish something.

I love that journal.


And hey, you know what has saved my bacon many times in various journals? I'm one of those people who writes ALL OVER the book. I keep my diary in the front, but that probably comprises the fewest pages. I write fiction, make knitting notes, jot ideas, makes lists, worry and plan and hope, and just WRITE in general. I never pay attention to where I am in the book -- I just open to a blank page and go. Then, of course, I could never find what I was looking for until I did this simple trick:

I number the pages as soon as I get the journal. It's that easy. Then, when I write something that I think might be of use later, I jump to the very first page and add it to my Table of Contents. Yes, everything is out of order, and the numbers jump around (just like my brain!), but I can FIND things.



And I use the heck out of tabs and post-its. Totally helpful.

Oh, what was that? You want the magic formula that I highlighted pink? It says, "He shines spotlight, it backfires." Wish I could remember what that meant, exactly. And why it was magic. Huh.

But under character motivations, I'll give you what I have because I use it a LOT. (I can't remember where I got it, so I can't attribute it, I'm sorry....)

Questions: What is your character's immediate problem? What CHOICE does she face? What terrible thing will happen because of that choice?

It's important to me to keep these questions in front of me all the time, because I tend to be too easy on my characters. I let them have too much chat time in first drafts. Must do bad things to them! Must be very mean!

Now, I'm off to write something....


I'm a fan of Moleskine too! I have all different sizes, one for every subject! And i even have the App Moleskine for iphone! It's precious those words isn't?

I love the Moleskine ipad app. i have horrible handwriting, so it's nice to have legible notes :)

Hi Rachael...just wanted to say I love your "thinking" and the things you've been writing about...thanks for the ongoing inspiration (on many fronts)!

The page numbering thing is frickin' genius, because I write all over my notebook, too. Genius.

Now the challenge will be to remember to do this...

I agree ~ the page numbering is brilliant!!

Thank you (as always) for wonderful ideas! I too tend to write randomly in notebooks (though I usually just use college ruled notebooks that I buy in bulk at before school sales), and things get lost. LOVE the idea of numbering the pages and keeping an index!

I can understand what you mean. I only use little handmade books of my own, so I don't really have to much in one, but the Table of Contents is such a great idea (it needs to be capitalized it is such a great idea)

I however just use two notebooks. One is for the diary thing, which really doesn't get used that often, and the other one is for all the little notes, and tedbits that are necessary for a writer's lifestyle. (Also an important thing, knowing how to spell necessary.)

Oh, that is brilliant. I have used Moleskines for years and am always paging through them. No more. You rock.

I love Moleskines. They are a favorite thing that I give as gifts to my artistic pals (especially the pocket size!) It's a gift that keeps on giving and one that doesn't result in that blank questioning stare followed by a hollow "um, thanks?"
Great idea on the page numbering!! Yeah!

On one of my old jobs, the annual gift to the employees was a slim, faux leather calendar book with many extra pages in the back. It was tall like something a gentleman would put in his inside jacket pocket. It has been almost 10 years since I got the last one and I still refer to the notes I wrote in those calendars. Even though I have a Palm Centro, a laptop, and an Android tablet, I've been thinking recently that I should go back to jotting down the important stuff in a paper journal that is not subject to technology that will become obsolete.

We love moleskines around here too. What size do you use?

You need Leuchturrm notebooks.
Moleskine sized, numbered pages, index ready to fill in and about 30 perforated detachable pages at the back.

Ooo, I really like the idea of a table of contents. It would really help cause I just use the next blank page no matter what was going on before, gives an interesting timeline snapshot. And Moleskin app! What! *runs off to find*

I was also going to recommend the Leuchthurm notebooks - the prenumbered pages are awesome.

It looks delicious. Perhaps it's time to upgrade from my kids old notebooks (the current one has skulls on it)...

Yes, yes, please write! Can't wait for your next book to come out! And, of course, thanks for the great tips!

We love moleskines around here too. What size do you use?

That was a really helpful post. Thanks!

I've been inspired to journal again. Thanks!

I adore their 'squared' notebooks. :-)

Enjoy the new one.

You know you've just reinvented the old commonplace book, don't you? A lot of sources will tell you that commonplace books were a kind of pre-20th century scrapbook for information, quotes or ideas. Maybe so in many cases. However, serious commonplace books were indexed in some way, often with material grouped in categories or with keywords. The index to the location of various items was often in the front or back of the book.

I, too, am curious about what size you use (because I, too, am a school supply junkie). Now off to check out the iPad app.

I absolutely love the numbering of pages and then creating a random table of contents! Why haven't I thought of this before??
I'm only a writer in my mind and in my journals, but they tend to be like yours........random compilations of my thoughts throughout..... I love it. You are the bestest :).

I love/use Moleskins too. The page numbering - inspired.


Number *before* you write anything else in it... Personal TOC...


(I'm off to go put numbers in those notebooks I've been too scared to write in now!)

Yes!!! You. Are. Brilliant!!!!

Of course, I knew that already...but now I double-know it.

I use a gridded pocket Molie -- Can't keep my columns straight without it! I also like my task lists to have checkboxes that I can mark to show accomplishment. And it functions as my analog PDA. I use it to journal, keep class notes, write recipe ideas, menus, keep family notations, health history, prescription lists, brilliant ideas, brain dump, keep job task notes, etc., etc. ad infinitum ....

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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