Out with the Old

This is what happens when you do Morning Pages more or less regularly for 13 years and don’t throw any of your notebooks away.

Julia Cameron might have room to store stuff like this ad infinitum, but I don’t. Anything useful I’ve long since turned into drafts  or transferred to a To Do list (I keep a few Post-It type flags in the front of each notebook so I don’t lose good ideas) so I’m ruthlessly Cleaning Things Out.

I am resolutely NOT revisiting the past, but I have noticed, as I have been feeding pages into the recycling bin, that my handwriting was a lot clearer when I first started, probably because I was writing more slowly. In the past year I’ve been making a conscious effort to write as fast as I can because it is supposed to be more useful to write without thinking about it and see what happens. One day I finished all three pages in seven minutes (that was this week, not in the days when I was doing college-ruled one-subject notebooks. Those could take 45 minutes to an hour.)

As you might be able to see in the top row of the photo, I started out in wide-ruled one-subject notebooks my kids didn’t fill up at the end of the school year (some have drawings of tie fighters inside the back cover). I progressed to college-ruled when my husband finally de-accessed some of his college notes. And then I discovered more compact, twin-coil bound notebooks that have three advantages: cheery covers, a compact size that fits easily in a backpack or computer bag, and a coil big enough to fit a pen inside so there’s not bleary-eyed search for a writing implement at 6:15 a.m. Helpful hint: the best selection is available in August; by the time the Back-to-School sales are over with, the best covers are gone.

For what it’s worth, I’m now coming to the end of notebook #27. Can you find it in the photo?

Addendum: If  you count more than 27 notebooks in the photo, you really need to get a life it’s because a few of the old ones had only a few pages left so I considered them as one (for example, #5, #5a, and #5b).

© 2012 Anne Bingham and Making It Up as I Go

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15 Responses to Out with the Old

  1. Mike Starr says:

    Obviously the one with the pen in the coil. So do you find that actually using a writing instrument facilitates your morning pages where using an electronic tool wouldn’t?


  2. Rebecca Glamm says:

    You should keep the notebooks and hand them down to your children. It would give them memories and insight into their wonderful mother once you pass on.


  3. Wow – that’s a lot of morning pages! It’s interesting how the colors get bolder as you move further down the line and the most recent are very decorative and bright. Does that reflect your journey?

    My problem is not so much having filled notebooks as it is dealing with a bunch of half-filled journals. 😉


    • Anne Bingham says:

      Hi, CB. As you suspected, your post was intercepted by an over-eager spam filter. That’s only the second time I’ve had a false positive. Don’t know why. Maybe it’s the initials.

      The reason the colors of my notebooks brighten up as the years go has much less to do with my “journey” than it does with the fact that I finally used up all the old ones kids discarded by kids and husband and got to go buy new ones!

      My favorites were the pastel ones in the middle of the bottom row but Carolina Pad discontinued that version, as I groused about in one of my very first posts. 2010/02/14/notebook-blues


  4. Mirka Breen says:

    Must admit, my notebooks never looked this deliciously neat and happily colorful.


  5. Good for you for being so faithful a.) in sticking with the morning pages, and b.) in cleaning things out. I’m inspired. And a little dismayed as I look at the stacks around me.


  6. hostingthemuse says:

    I like the idea about keeping my morning pages for my children to read but my morning pages are more me complaining then any insight they might find in it. It’s my way of getting all of my frustration out so I can focus on what needs to get done. So, I don’t think I will be leaving these morning pages for my kids.


  7. I bet it was tough letting those go but you did the right thing 🙂 Now be strong!


    • Anne Bingham says:

      Inertia is strong but I am making progress. The pile is diminishing day by day. An unforeseen problem is some of my husband’s old notebooks are 30+ years old and were stored in an attic for decades, so the paper is brittle and tiny pieces like unto confetti fly all over the room when I tear out the pages, which means I have to haul out the vacuum cleaner or do down a flight of stairs to get the Dirtbuster (which is almost as old as some of those notebooks, since it came from his parents’ home) but I have to clean out the Dirtbuster first because the filter is clogged since I use it to clean crumbs after I slice bread … It’s the old “If you give a mouse a cookie” problem.


  8. MaryWitzl says:

    Your addendum cracked me up. Off to get a spiral notebook with a large coil — I’m tired of fruitless, frustrated gropings for pens in bleary-eyed fashion or otherwise.


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