I will be the first to admit that I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with stationery. I was the kid at school who couldn't wait for the start of term, just because it meant having an excuse to go and stock up on new pens, notebooks, and pencil cases. At university, I developed a penchant for post-it notes of various sizes, shapes, and colours. And now that I'm trying my hand at being a 'proper' writer, I have a whole new reason to browse the aisles of W.H.Smith, Paperchase, and as many quaint independent stores as I can find.
If, like me, you love a legitimate excuse to purchase new shiny stationery items, this list will give you all the reasons you need!
Probably the most alluring of all stationary items. It goes without saying that a writer needs a notebook. But what kind? And how many can you get away with buying because they are absolutely necessary?!
I have four primary notebooks in circulation and I have to admit that, although ridiculously expensive, I prefer Moleskine to pretty much any other type of notebook I've tried. They might not be the prettiest but the lines are nicely spaced, the paper is just thin enough to adopt a pleasurable texture when it's written on - but not so thin that you can see through to the other side - and they always have handy pockets at the back for storing 'bits and pieces'.
My first Moleskine notebook is a small pocket-sized one, which remains in my handbag at all times. This is the one I use to jot down observations or ideas when I'm out-and-about. My second, third, and fourth notebooks are larger and thinner. I have one for character background and world-building, one for plot development, and one for research.
2. Coloured pens
I have always loved using different coloured pens for different subjects. Back in the day, when i revised for exams, I would separate my notecards into different colours. When I annotated texts at university I used different colours for different themes. And now I use colour to write notes about different aspects of my plot, worlds, and characters. I find it immensely helpful when looking back for something as it jumps out at you from the page. Plus, it looks pretty.
3. Index cards
Not everyone is a fan of index cards, but I find them extremely helpful for sorting plot points into different orders. When planning, I wrote out the key scenes and plot points that I knew would happen. I also wrote a card for each of my characters – both major and minor – and then sorted them into order for when each event and character would appear. Again, I use colour on my cards to denote certain motifs and themes.
At various points, you will find bits of research you want to print, or scribble ideas that don't fit neatly into one of your notebooks. It's important to have a folder to keep all of these things in so they don't get lost in the chaos of your desk. Those scribbles could be really important one day and if you don't keep them you can guarantee you will miss them!
5. Post-it notes
A stationary list wouldn't be complete without post-its! These are great for flagging up ideas and questions that aren't fully formed. You can stick them in wherever you need to, and remove them once they've been resolved. It's much easier to pick out questions and interpret your thoughts if they're presented in this way, rather than scribbled in margins or crossed out.
Which stationery items can't you live without? Am I missing anything? (Go on, give me an excuse to go shopping...)