When you keep a pocket notebook, surprising things happen. The transient ideas that bubble up, surfacing from time to time in your subconscious, suddenly have a place to go. Appointments, conversations, diagrams, passwords, and poems form a small riot within its pages.
Still, the photos of meticulously organized Moleskines on Instagram can be intimidating. It’s easy to get the feeling that pocket notebooks must be aesthetically pleasing, or that every page should be polished and perfect. In reality, pocket notebooks are just accessible, reliable, and predictable receptacles for information of every kind. Write down all of your half-baked thoughts, nonsensical ideas, and mundane observations... and somewhere in there, you should be able to find a small and quiet sliver of genius.
In this article, we’ll cover the advantages of using a pocket notebook, highlight a few stand-out notebooks from our selection of Pocket Notebooks, and start you out with a few ideas on what to write.
This can be very frustrating. The thing is, most pocket notebooks are not meant to be the permanent resting place for important information. A pocket notebook works better if you treat it like a temporary transit station, housing the information safely until it can be shuttled to its proper residence. For an example, appointments can be added to your office calendar, recipes to the large notebook in the kitchen, and phone numbers to your smartphone.
Everyone has different requirements when it comes to pocket notebooks, but some qualities you should consider in the selection process are: aesthetics, durability, size, binding, paper quality, and type of rule. If you have an extensive fountain pen collection, you’ll probably want a pocket notebook that can handle wet ink. Conversely, lawyers looking for a quick jotter might not care about paper at all. Click on the writing samples for a bigger view.
Despite its revolutionary design, in many ways it’s a no-fuss notepad that can go anywhere. Unlike staple, glue, and thread-bound notebooks, it doesn’t need to be held open. The front and back covers are made from flexible plastic, and the white paper in between is overlaid with a grid of 5mm x 5mm gray squares. Results of a quick writing test were better than expected, with only faint show-through for the ballpoint pen, gel ink pen, felt tip marker, and pencil. The fountain pen was the only one to feather and bleed. Grab a paper refill to keep your pages and ideas moving.
Best for: Writers, Students
After completing the page, he’d tear the paper tab away, like a bookmark. You can do the exact same thing with the Tidbit. Fill the pages up with character names and one-liners like Twain, but try to do so in pencil or ballpoint ink. Testing revealed that the gel ink pen, fountain pen, and felt tip marker all bled through, with a lot of feathering from the fountain pen. Ink also tends to leak through the perforations onto subsequent pages, so it might be best to stick a post-it to the back of the page to soak up any extra ink.
Best for: Artists
The papers can accommodate gel ink pens, ballpoints, fineliners, and pencils with an acceptable amount of show-through, but like their predecessors, they tend to feather and bleed-through a bit when it comes to fountain pens.
Best for: Scientists
Although fountain pens, rollerballs and fineliners will definitely show through to the other side of the page, fine fountain pens write surprisingly well on the crisp paper, with minimal feathering and bleed-through. The cover tends to tilt upwards when in resting position, so that the memo pad isn’t fully closed much of the time. If it becomes a problem, try applying a thick rubber band to keep the memo pad closed.
Best for: Office workers
For even more recommendations, check out this article written by our resident fountain pen expert -- Our Favorite Notebooks for Fountain Pen Use.
Best for: Travelers
Have a shiny new pocket notebook, but still clueless about what to write? In case the esteemed examples listed above have somehow failed to get your heart racing with an insatiable zest for pocket notebooks (and life in general), here are some quick ideas on what to write in your pocket notebook:
- Ridiculously long Wi-Fi passwords
- Character names for your novel. If the novel doesn't work out, you can always distribute the names to children and pets.
- Family recipes
- Names that are so perfect for a Norwegian death metal band that you have to write them down, despite the fact that you don’t, nor will you ever, listen to Norwegian death metal.
- Dinner with mom at 6:30 - DO NOT FORGET
- Foreign phrases that require translation.
- T-shirt designs involving herds of roaming jellyfish
- Travel plans for Morocco. Morocco tops the list of desirable travel destinations because the fictional city Agrabah (depicted in Aladdin) was based on one of its cities. Yes, it actually exists! In real life!
- Songs to buy later. In the era of mashups and remixes, this results in an unmanageable list of ridiculously named songs like “Black Van & Oliver vs. Goldroom - Inside Fifteen Ft. Chela (Silenx Mashup)”. Yes, this is a real song.
Now that the holidays are over, people are starting to think about their plans and goals for the year ahead. For me, the blank pages of a notebook signify the promise of a fresh start. My New Year’s Resolution is to stick to writing in just one at a time. What do you use your pocket notebook for?
|Lihit Lab Aqua Drops Memo Notepad||2.8” x 4.7”||Flexible plastic||Twist ring||Graph||Writers, Students|
|Kokuyo Tidbit Free Cut Memo Pads||2.9” x 4.1”||Cardboard||Staple||Perforated graph||Artists|
|Field Notes Memo Book||3.5” x 5.5”||Cardstock||Staple||Dot grid||Scientists|
|Metaphys Blanc Fabric Cover Memo Pad||Various||Fabric||Glue||Blank||Office workers|
|Rhodia Webnotebook||3.5” x 5.5”||Leatherette||Book||Lined||Travelers|
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