Thoughts About Choosing the Right Paper Notebook

While taking digital notes has its advantages, for many of us the good old fashioned paper notebook is a must.

Why? If you're on the go, or even if you're not, it's faster and easier to jot down and idea or quote with a notebook and a pen than it is with a smartphone or tablet.

What paper notebook you use is a personal choice. I've met writers whose favourites, and the reasons for choosing those favourites, don't mesh with mine. There's nothing wrong with that — I don't believe there's a one-size-fits-all solution to anything.

Here's some advice to help you if you're struggling to find the right paper notebook.

What Size Do You Need?

When it comes to a notebook, size can matter. I prefer notebooks at measure around 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches (around 9 cm by 14 cm for those of us in the metric-speaking world). A notebook that size fits comfortably into a pouch in my bag or into a pants or shorts pocket.

On the other hand, I know people who prefer larger notebooks: 6 inches by 9 inches (15 cm by 22 cm) or ones the size of letter paper. Notebooks that size give them more room to spread out and, according to them, aren't as easy to misplace.

Another factor is thickness. For portability, you might want a small notebook with 30 pages or fewer. Or you might want a larger notebook with more pages to ensure you don't run out of space when you need it the most. I tend to opt for a notebook that's somewhere in between &mash; anywhere from 50 to 200 pages.

How Much Do You Want to Spend?

As you can expect, you can find notebooks that will set you back a couple of dollars. Or, you can go for higher-end notebooks that will cost anywhere from low double digits and up.

If you go through a number of notebooks (no matter what size) in a year, then buying less-expensive ones could be a good move. While those notebooks might not be as hip or flashy as more expensive ones, they'll keep your costs down.

In the end, having an expensive notebook doesn't mean you'll take more or better notes. Paper is paper. It's the quality of your thoughts and ideas that counts.

Hardcover or Soft?

This actually can matter to some people. Softcover notebooks are lighter and have more give. A hard cover, though, is a bit more robust. It can take a bashing with without tearing. You can accidentally spill liquid on it, and the liquid doesn't seep through the cover and ruin the pages. On the other hand, a soft cover makes it easier to lay a notebook flat to write. I know a few writers who claim this gives them more stability.

As I mentioned earlier, the notebook you use is a personal choice. And in the end, a cheaper notebook is just as good as a more expensive one for taking notes.