In Which I Lament My Lack of Creativity

Earlier this year, I wrote about my new Midori journal and how I was totally going to personalize it.

And I tried.

I bought washi tapes. I tried to draw. I tried to add cutesy things like stickers, too. (At one point I was seriously thinking of getting a Polaroid, so I could take pictures and stick them in my journal.)

I decorated the fuck out of my journal.

And then I realized I hated it.

I spent a lot of time watching videos of people sharing how they’d decorated their Midoris and Filofaxes, and it was fun. Some people are just super talented, able to draw and create beautiful images within the space they are given.

I am — as you probably can tell — none of those things.

The last time I drew on a notebook, I was in college (okay, grad school). I have this thing for drawing on the margins of my school notebooks while the teacher is lecturing.

Pro-tip: let me just tell you kids now that your teachers/parents/guardians are wrong: doodling is fine. The fact that you would rather draw cats in multiple costumes and poses is not going to affect your schooling. Doodle away. (Source: I graduated and have a job.)

[Quick digression: this reminds me of the time I showed up in school without a notebook, and had to write my notes down on bus tickets. Good times.]

So where were we?

Creativity. Okay.

So I realized that I really am not cut out for washi tapes and pretty margins. I can’t do that. I can’t keep that up or I’ll kill myself via ballpen to the brain.

I tried my best to make the Midori work, because it was so pretty and perfect, but I couldn’t.

You know what I’m working with now?

Two Moleskines.

The first Moleskine is my planner. I use Fantastical 2 on my phone to keep track of bills, meetings, schedules, and deadlines, so my planner is pretty much just has the tasks for the day. Every Sunday I write down tasks for the week, then I work them into my daily task lists. That’s it.

The second Moleskine is my journal, and it isn’t fancy at all. I just write down my thoughts and other similar shit and it’s now so filled with angst that anyone who sees it will think it belongs to some stupid emo kid.

No drawings. No doodles. No washis. Nothing.

And it works — for me, at least.

This is when I realized that I’m not creative at all. I’m staid. I’m boring. I’m all logical and shit. No colors and fun and personality.

I just like things that get things done and that’s it.

How corny is that?

It’s not that I’m complaining, really. However, sometimes I do wish I had a bit more imagination, like maybe I could be someone who drew pretty pictures and had an eye for flair and color.



I’m not that.

 I’m a Squidward, is what I am.

Maybe I just can’t handle complicated things? If I’m over-thinking something, chances are it’s going to suck. I think my brain is so simple it cannot handle complications.

Not that I think it’s bad. It’s just… boring.


Pen and Paper

Last year, around December, I briefly toyed with the idea of using a paper planner again. Eventually, my phone won out. I figured I could just download apps and create a “planner” in my phone.

I even had a journal. (I used Day One.)

Now this isn't a knock against technology. I love my phone (his name is Watson) and I cannot live without all these awesome gadgets.

However, seeing my friend post his Filofax project on Facebook every single day slowly led me to reconsider.

See, I think writing is romantic. I mean the physical act of putting pen to paper. It just seems so old and nostalgic. A bit more real, maybe?

But what really drove me over the edge was the nth time my Day One journaling was disrupted because of bloody autocorrect. I mean, there I was, typing in my heart and soul, and it distracts me. It's irritating.

So I figured, why not look into journaling on paper again?

I've tried this several times in the past. I had a Moleskine; I tried Field Notes. Nothing stuck, though. I got bored. Also, I'm constantly scared that someone will find my journal and read the contents. Yikes. I tend to be a drama queen, so the things in my journal are really for my eyes only.

Anyway, my first choice this time around was the Filofax. However, I couldn't find a local seller and didn't want to risk the highway robbery that ordering from overseas would entail (local Customs is a nightmares to deal with).

So I did a bit of googling.

And I found the Midori.

At first I was scared, because it isn't the usual planner/journal. I know how to use a Filofax; I've had several variants of it in the past. I know it's logic. The Midori, though is rather unusual. Well, maybe I should show you first:

I got the Midori Traveler's Notebook set, plus two refills (001 is lined, while 003 is plain). I also got 008, which is the zippered plastic pouch.

This is the set itself:

It says, “for all the travelers who have a free spirit”. This gave me pause, because I'm the furthest thing from a free spirit. I am a happily desk-bound spirit.

Moving on. The set contains the leather cover and one 003 notebook. You can customize the Midori by adding the refills you want. This is how you personalize it, pretty much.

With my current setup, I have three notebooks and one pouch. The first notebook is the 001; I use it as my planner. It's just my daily list of things to do. I still have to fix the system a bit. Right now I focus on daily tasks but I lack an advanced planning system. I do have a weekly planning page that I drew up myself, but I'll continue tweaking this overtime. I might even get an actual weekly notebook next time. We'll see.

The second notebook is my brain dump. It has my goals for the year, plus long-term projects I'm working on. It contains my wish lists, my ideas, and anything that I might happen to think of.

The final notebook is my journal. I love it. I love writing! It's a lot more fun than typing in my deepest, darkest feelings, that's for sure.

By the way, I have a bonus Field Notes notebook that I slip into the zippered pouch's pocket. It has my contacts (the landline numbers that I don't keep on my phone) and a few work-related details like IP addresses.

And this is how it looks!

The leather is going to get scuffed over time, and that will give it the old, Indiana Jones-y look.

My current pen is a Pilot Frixion, and this is noteworthy because I have not bought a pen of my own in years. I just steal them from my sisters, my mom, or my office colleagues. I like the Frixion because it's erasable haha.

I'm thinking of getting a Lamy Safari, though! I already know what color ink I want 😀

I've started decorating my Midori (I have christened her “Maddy”) with washi tapes and I plan to get sticky tabs and a highlighter and stickers and a pen holder and… you know what? I have a shopping list of everything I need to make Maddy perfect.

Slippery slope.