Blueline Notebooks: a Love Story

by | Core Journaling | 9 comments

I love stationery. I love stationery in a way that defies explanation. I know it’s not normal; I made peace with being a weirdo long ago.

After many journal trials and tribulations, I’ve found my life partner in Blueline Notebooks.

It’s Just a Phase

I write daily so I fill my journals in a month or two. (One time I filled one in two weeks, but I was on vacation for much of it with little else to do besides lie in the sun and eat fruit.) I’ve been motivated to write voluminously knowing the faster I fill my current journal, the sooner I get to pick out a new one. Not very zen, but there you have it.

When my journals are arranged in chronological order, you can clearly see the different phases I passed through in my journaling career. My earliest volumes are slender, one subject Mead “neatbooks” with flat, spiral-free bindings. When I realized I’d be keeping at this awhile, I started using beefy three-subject spiral-bound notebooks. Then I realized the spirals drove me batty and the scored pages would often tear, so I switched to the ubiquitous marble hardcover composition notebooks.

Through the years, my choice of writing instrument has likewise evolved, and for the past 10 years or so I’ve been using a Pilot Precise V7 fine point pen. In fact, it’s all I use. But this pen requires a certain kind of paper, because the ink is bold and bleeds through easily. Most drugstore quality notebooks won’t do, unless I only write on one side of the paper. Luckily I discovered Claire Fontaine notebooks.

Claire Fontaine makes the most beautiful notebooks I’ve ever seen. They’re French, so the sizes are different from the U.S. standards, making them even cooler. The large notebooks are taller than American letter size. And Claire Fontaine puts out such gorgeous colors and patterns. A few years ago they started making hardcover notebooks with magnetic flaps to secure the pages. Brilliant.

One day I was cruising the University Bookstore, which has a mind-boggling selection of notebooks. While searching the newest Claire Fontaine patterns, I accidentally happened upon a misplaced Blueline A9 hardcover notebook. I promptly bought a case of them and never looked back. I’ve been using them exclusively for 13 years.

Why I Love Blueline Notebooks

How do I love thee, Blueline notebook? Let me count the ways:

1. Perfectly sized

The Blueline A9 is similar in size to the generic composition notebook, though slightly narrower. It has 192 pages, which means I can finish it in a manageable period of time without feeling like I’m dragging ancient history around with me. (Three months is about as long as I like to spend in one notebook.)

Its smaller size and light weight make it easy to stash into any bag I own and take with me anywhere. This is not true of the huge Claire Fontaine hardcover notebooks I favored for awhile. Those required a backpack or large messenger bag – almost like a laptop.

2. Reasonably priced

I buy these by the case, so I get a discount. But they’re usually about $7 a piece. Based on the high quality of these notebooks and the amount of enjoyment I get from them, I consider that a bargain.

3. Extremely durable

The binding is very well made; I’ve never had one of these notebooks even think about coming apart. Unlike many of my drugstore variety comp books.

The cover also takes a beating. I can attest to this as I dropped a notebook off my Vespa while riding 45 m.p.h. and it survived, with nary a scratch.

4. High quality paper

The paper used in the notebook is heavy and rich. My Pilot V7 Precise fine point pen ink doesn’t bleed through. And the surface of the paper has a great toothy texture that makes it comfortable to write on and difficult to smudge. The paper is available lined, blank, or quad-ruled.

5. It has an INDEX!!!

When it comes to archiving my journals, I’m so anal-retentive it’s not even funny. The Blueline A9 has an index page that allows you to make a color-coded Table of Contents. It also includes a sheet of labels for the cover and spine, as well as – get this – color-coded tabs to mark off the content!

The Index has become my very favorite part of the journals, and it truly makes them personalized. I frequently use phrases cut out of magazines to make the table of contents – quotes and phrases that capture where I am at that time. I don’t usually create the tabs until I’m done with the notebook, but I often make the TOC up as I go along.

6. Archive-friendly

Each sheet in the notebook has a spot for the date and the page number. This comes in handy more often than I would have believed. It’s cake to flip through if I’m looking for a specific date. And if you want to be super OCD, you can use the page numbers in your TOC as detailed above.

7. They look really awesome all lined up

Once you start accumulating multiple journals, you may find like me that you get satisfaction from seeing them piling up on the shelf. Seeing your progress is motivating. And it appeals to my anal-retention to see a long row of glossy, hardcover notebooks with color-coded spines on my shelf.

You can order these fantabulous Blueline Notebooks on Amazon. Free shipping if you buy 4 of them! (Note: that’s an affiliate link so I get a kickback if you buy using it. Because I just KNOW you want to support this website so I can keep doing it ♥)

Have a favorite type of notebook? Let me know what it is so I can check it out!

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