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How To Decide If You Actually Need To Buy That Notebook

by Anna Lindwasser

gray kitten sitting on an open notebook journal

If you’re like most creative types, you probably own a truly disconcerting number of notebooks. Doubly so if you’re a nerd. You’re probably buying notebooks just because your favorite Naruto character is on the cover.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re going to stop buying notebooks until you’ve filled up all your old ones. If you were going to do that, you wouldn’t be in this position! 

How can you decide whether or not to heed the siren song of a brand new notebook? This handy dandy guide can help!

Do you have a designated purpose for this new notebook, like taking notes for your Elvish as a Second Language class, or writing the outline for your novel about a clown who’s in love with an assassin? 

If you do, then of course you should buy it. But even if you don’t, you should still go for it. You’ll probably think of a whole new project just because you have a new notebook! If you buy this notebook, you’re one step closer to unlocking your creative potential.

Is it lined?

If it’s lined, you should buy it. You’re never going to be able to write anything coherent on all the unlined notebooks you have at home. 

Is it unlined? 

If it’s unlined, you should buy it. Maybe this is finally the kick in the pants you need to start your fabulous new art career! Already an artist with a sketchbook? That’s for your real work; this one’s just for doodling.

Did you find the notebook on Redbubble, Etsy, Society6, Storeveny, or another website where artists sell their wares? What about an independent book store or craft store? 

Buy it! You should never pass up a chance to support a hardworking artist or small business owner. 

Is it a mass-produced notebook from a big box store or online mega-corporation that’s destroying the local economy? 

There’s no such thing as ethical consumption under capitalism, so get the notebook anyway if you really want it… But maybe see if you can find something similar from an indie artist first? 

Did you find it at a craft fair, anime convention, or other event where artists set up display tables?

Are you actually going to look a real live human being in the eye and not buy the thing they made? They said they liked your unicorn tote bag, you have to buy their unicorn notebook! 

Speaking of unicorns, does it have That Thing you’re obsessed with on the cover?

Then you’re buying it, duh! It’s not every day that you find a notebook emblazoned with your favorite quote from The Fever King by Victoria Leeor a notebook with Raymond from Animal Crossing playing with a ball of string.

Does its design feature something you’re no longer actively interested in but feel nostalgic about?

Buy it! How is anybody supposed to know that you were a 90’s kid if you don’t own a spiral bound Rocko’s Modern Life notebook? 

Is it reasonably priced?

Face it. If the design is cute enough, you’re probably buying it no matter how much it costs.

Does it have a clever descriptor that you identify with like Wine Mom, Cat Dad, Pokemon Master, or Sword Lesbian? 

Then of course you’re buying it! Even if it doesn’t apply to you, it can be a gift! You might not have good taste in anime boys, but your best friend does…no, your other best friend. 

Is it sturdy and well made?

If it is, that’s an obvious yes… Even though you’re probably just going to put it in a drawer until you think of a use worthy of such a high-quality notebook. But even if it’s kind of flimsy, you can still use it for grocery lists or something. 

Does it have a pocket?

Where else are you going to stash the punch card they gave you at the bubble tea shop? Your wallet? If you were organized enough to do that, you probably wouldn’t have a million notebooks at home. You need pockets.

Is there a kitten, puppy, or exceptionally cute snail on the cover? 

Is your heart made out of stone?? Look at its cute little whiskers, paws, and/or shell!! 

Do you already have more notebooks than you could ever possibly use in your life?

Bad question. The question that you need to be asking instead is: “Are any of those notebooks as absolutely perfect as this one?” 

Do you just like…really, really want to buy it?

Listen, we only have so many years on this planet. Most of us deal with stress from multiple sources every day. If buying the notebook will make you happy, do it. 

Either that or go meditate for a while, get yourself centered…and then come back and buy the notebook because you totally still want it, are you kidding? 

We hope that this guide has proved helpful. Enjoy your new notebook!