Since 1997, the company Moleskine has been manufacturing several lines of journals of the same name, simply Moleskine. While they have a large product line of journals for specific purposes, such as chocolate tasting or storyboarding, the majority of their notebooks are designed for multiple uses depending on the user.
Below are my reasons for why I use Moleskine notebooks for writing and planning. Certainly, many of these reasons apply to other journals as well, but after trying out several brands and even creating my own, the Moleskine journals are my choice.
1. Consistent quality.Moleskine sources quality, materials with minimal environmental impact from around world. Every notebook has been high quality and has endured my various travels.
2. Variety of sizes.Moleskin notebooks come in a variety of sizes. The three standard sizes are pocket (3.5 x 5.5 inches), large (5.1 x 8.3 inches [the primary size I use]), and XL (not as widely available). Additionally, Moleskin manufactures hard and soft cover versions of the notebooks. I typically use the hardcover large notebooks.
3. Variety of styles.The three type of notebooks most amenable to creative, planning, and learning are the notebooks with pages that are blank, lined, and grid. For my writing projects, I prefer the lined notebooks. For my yearly planners, my main use of the notebooks, I use the grid style, so that I can easily draw boxes and lines as partitions and headers.
4. Creativity.All these empty pages, at least for me, call out for something to be written or drawn on the pages. The Moleskine website features several artistic uses of the notebooks. I have experimented with a variety of markers and highlighters to add color to my notebook. Colored pencils work the best for me, especially because they do not bleed through the paper.
5. Customizeable.Because of the freedom to create the writing space that you need, Moleskine notebooks are perfect. For several years I drew my yearly calendar into the front pages of the notebook. Now, I create a smaller calendar that I store in the pocket (see below). You can also create indexing easily by following this hack.
6. Back pocket.Each Moleskine notebook features a secure pocket on the inside of the back cover. This convenient space is perfect for receipts, notes, and photos.
7. Space for sticky notes.I use the inside front and back covers to store sticky notes for a variety of purposes. Sticky notes are great for planning, temporary documentation, and as prominent reminders when those are required (e.g., "pick up wife from airport").
8. Acid-free paper.All of the Moleskin notebooks are produced with acid-free paper. This means that the pages will not yellow over time, and that notesbooks can easily and potentially outlast you.
9. Bookmark.Each hardcover Moleskine also comes with a convenient bookmark that can be used as a daily place holder, if using the notebook as a planner, or as a way to quickly and conveniently access information. With a bit of tape and ribbon you can easily add an extra bookmark.
10. Looks cool.I love the image of sitting at a cafe or other quiet place writing in a journal. To me, it is the antithesis of living in an electronic world with smart phones, tablets, and computers at the ready. One of the reasons I still use a paper planner is that the deliberative process of writing by hand is easily lost when typing as fast as possible.
11. Elastic band (bonus).Each Moleskin notebook also features an elastic band to keep the notebook closed when not in use. However, the elastic band can also serve as a temporary bookmark simply by inserting it between pages. The band also works well as a place to clip a pen or pencil.
Do you use a notebook? If so, how do you use it?