The First Page of a Notebook

As a lover of writing, both digitally and handwritten, you’d think I’d be eager to delve in to a crisp, brand new notebook and commit all my thoughts and ideas to paper (or the immortal internet). But it really is the most difficult thing – there’s so much pressure and occasion to starting a new notebook.

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To start with there’s the long process of choosing the notebook itself, and with all the stunning options available from places like Paperchase to more independent sellers, you’ve got to pick exactly the right notebook to suit the contents planned for it. The design has to suit the mood of the writing taking place, as well as the functionality. The quality of the paper, lined or plane, how flat it lies to write in… all must be taken into consideration before anything can begin.

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Then comes the really hard part. Those beautiful, clean white pages… what if the writing isn’t good enough for those expectant pages? What if you let them down? What if you make – god forbid – a mistake on that all important first page and have to put a line through it? Should you write a covering page, explaining to a potential reader who may stumble across the notebook in years to come what lies within? Or simply crack on with the ideas you have bottled up, devil may care?

I’m not a crazy person. This is a real issue – I was talking about it with my sister a few weeks ago, who funnily enough was just starting her own blog. We realised the similarities over the terror of writing in the first page of a notebook, and writing the first blog post, even down to the hours spent agonising over a theme for the blog, instead of the design of the notebook. We even both admitted to simply ignoring the first page more than once, and leaving it blank!

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I love that the problem is also mentioned in one of my favourite books, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. I won’t go into too much detail, but one of the characters describes exactly this problem, a young girl who was given a notebook by her favourite teacher, and instead of marking the beautiful pages of this treasured gift, she writes her ideas on scraps of paper, and tucks them inside the notebook. I hadn’t thought about it too much before reading this book, but it so instantly and beautifully captured the struggle I have when starting a new notebook, even if it is to carry on with something I am already working on, it really stuck with me. That, and the fact that the imagery is stunning, the story gripping, and the characters wonderfully vivid. A definite must read.

I am on my fourth blog now, the first being a fashion blog when I was a teenager, then moving on to vintage as I discovered that new passion, and most recently a food blog, sharing recipes and tips on using up leftover ingredients to make next week’s meals. Now I just want somewhere I can write about my many interests, without worrying about captivating an audience, or keeping the posts to the right length. I thought then, that a new blog created purely for the purpose of giving me somewhere to write whatever I wanted, with no pressure of aiming at a particular audience with a particular subject, and no aim of getting it ‘out there’, the struggle of the first page in a notebook would be a good place to start.

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