Welcome back to Stationery Love – the series where people share their love of all things stationery with us.
Jennifer Wilson spills the beans on her Stationery Love addiction and I just know you’re going to be nodding along (which is, of course, what I did 🙂 ). Enjoy!
Welcome to Stationery Love!
Let’s start with your memories … do you have any memorable experiences either sending, receiving or purchasing stationery?
I like buying stationery as a way of remembering a place, or an experience, even though I may not subsequently use it for anything connected with that place (although I do try sometimes!). With pens, I’m an absolute addict for named pens, branded with names of historical sites, museums, or towns / cities I’ve visited. That way, whenever I use that pen, I think back to where and when I bought it, what I thought of the place, and what I was thinking and feeling at the time. I’m starting to get the same with notebooks, picking up lovely designs in gift shops, museums etc. all over the place, rather than just stationery shops.
What do you look for when purchasing stationery?
With pens, it can be hit and miss, as I buy for places rather than anything else, but if I find somewhere has good pens, I’ll happily stock up on my next visit. I’m currently a fan of the pens from the National Library of Scotland – always good quality!
In notebooks, I value a good quality paper. I cannot write on paper that’s too thin, as I tend to start pressing too hard when I hit a writing flow, so I always try and feel the paper before buying a notebook. I like an A5 notebook, as they’re handy for fitting in handbags.
How often do you purchase stationery Jennifer?
Too often! My Empty Notebook Shelf has started to overflow, and I’m currently making myself do the unthinkable, and go back over half-started notebooks which, for whatever reason, I stopped using. I’m not letting myself buy ‘normal’ notebooks until at least half the content has moved onto the Full Notebook Shelf, and I’ve cleared some decent space. Mind, it won’t stop me making the odd purchase of any ‘special’ notebooks which happen to come my way!
Tell us about your “collection” of pretty notebooks/pens/folders/binders etc.
My pens are filed by ink colour these days, and I’m making myself use those up as well – once they’re dead, they go into an old shoebox if they’re nice, I just cannot bring myself to throw them away…
It’s the notebooks where the real collection lies. Plenty are chain-bought, from Paperchase etc., but I’ve got two lovely ones which I picked up in Rome Airport on my way back from a writing retreat, and now I’m planning on taking myself off there sometime in 2018, I’m now keeping hold of them so they can ‘go home’ and be used when I’m out there.
It sounds a bit daft, but I really do take such pleasure in having such an array of beautiful notebooks, although, having said that, I have found myself in the ridiculous situation of not being able to choose the next notebook to start working in, or to assign for a new project. In those situations, I have been known to go shopping for a new notebook just for that, and keep the ones I’ve got for when it ‘feels right’ to use them!
What colour ink do you use the most?
I have a system… I use red ink for dates and main titles, like at workshops, or for a particular project (such as a blog post), blue ink for workshop writing prompts, subheadings and the like, then black for the actual writing. I blame my parents – it was always drilled into me to use good, strong black ink “in case it needs to be photocopied.” The rule’s stuck!
What can’t you do without Jennifer?
Fabulous notebooks. I could write with boring pens if I had to, but never in a boring notebook, or loose-leaf paper – I need my notebooks…
When did you last write something? What was it?
I’m currently working on the first draft of a third Kindred Spirits novel, and am brainstorming scenes and character sketches at the moment, working out my synopsis before I jump into the main writing. My goal is to get at least a couple of hundred words done each day, so I did my daily target before starting writing this post, although that was on the laptop. The last thing I wrote by hand (in a nautical-themed, material-backed notebook) was a reworking of a poem from a workshop last Monday.
Paper or electronic diary?
Paper, but I do also make sure I have everything in my phone’s diary too, so I can set reminders and make sure I don’t forget anything. But for years I wanted a proper Filofax, and finally got one for a gift after starting work, so now I make sure I get a new refill every year, and keep it open on my coffee table so I can see what each week holds for me.
Rollerball or fountain pen?
Rollerball. I’m too scared of smudging! Even smudgy rollerballs get relegated to the old shoebox.
And finally Jennifer … The real thing (ie Moleskine) or an alternative?
My heart says Moleskine, but my head says alternative! I do own two Moleskines, a small A6 one and a lovely, bright pink A5 version, but silly as it sounds, I’m almost too scared to write in them… I never quite feel anything I write is good enough for the notebook! I’ve just been given a Paperblanks notebook as a birthday present though, and told I have to use it, so hopefully I can fight off these feelings soon enough.
Friends and I did come up with a back-up plan though, that once I’m a rich and famous writer, my old Moleskine will ‘miraculously’ be found, with original draft synopses of each my dozens of million-selling novels, and be sold for a small fortune. There may have been a tiny amount of wine involved when this plan was hatched.
Thank you for being my guest on Stationery Love today 🙂
Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who spent much of her childhood stalking Mary, Queen of Scots (initially accidentally, but then with intention). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consulting since graduating. Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and continues to develop her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. She is also part of The Next Page, running workshops and other literary events in North Tyneside.
My two July guests will be ending this cycle of Stationery Love and I thought it fitting to end with the same giveaway we started with …
Love stationery? Love getting happy post? The SherbetBox is sent out to subscribers each month, packed with stationery exclusively designed by the awesome illustrator Claire Keay.
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Claire is generously donating July’s SherbetBox for one of my UK blog readers this month (you can check out my October reveal on YouTube).