Why I Don’t Use Moleskines

Because The Hairpin asked.

I don’t know if you read our sister site The Hairpin—though you should—but Kelly Conaboy had a specific request for me in one of yesterday’s Hairpin posts:

How Do You Pronounce Moleskine?

Nicole Dieker, writer at The Billfold, pronounces it “Mole Skin.”

Write something about this, Nicole.

✓ You’re right.

Okay. (I do in fact take dares.)

I have a suitcase under my bed filled with stuff I don’t know what to do with—I don’t really want to throw it away, and for various reasons I don’t want to give it away, so I put it in a suitcase and that makes it disappear.

One of the items in that suitcase is a Patreon-branded notebook that isn’t an official Moleskine but is enough like a Moleskine that I originally thought it was and am just now editing this sentence to ensure accuracy. (I received the notebook as a thank-you for participating in a Patreon creator study.)

I’ve carried a notebook with me since forever, although the practice solidified when I started practicing David Allen’s Getting Things Done almost ten years ago, which, um… how can things in my adult life have happened to me almost ten years ago? I don’t feel ten years older.

Ask A Human Who Actually Practices GTD (‘Getting Things Done’)

But I learned, through this practice, that Moleskine notebooks are THE WORST. I would never carry a Moleskine. I’ve had that Patreon-branded notebook since November 2015 and I’ve never used it, not even on the days when my other notebooks were so full that I was writing on the margins of pre-written pages.

Here is why I refuse to use Moleskines:

  • They don’t lay flat when you open them.
  • They don’t stay open, so you can’t see what you’ve written. If you want to see whatever was so important that you took the time to write it down, you have to open the notebook and move that skinny little bookmark out of the way.
  • Also, you either have to slide the rubber band thing on and off the notebook every time you use it—and nobody has time for that—or let it hang off the end of your notebook like a sock someone has left on the floor.
  • A lot of Moleskines don’t have ruled lines. Their pages are just blank, and my handwriting starts sliding downwards, and then every time I look at those pages I think “oh, my handwriting is sliding downwards” before I think “and I need to return my library books,” and that’s one extra thought I don’t need to have.
  • There’s no spiral binding for me to shove a pen into.
  • When I go to bed, with my notebook next to my pillow, open to a fresh, blank page with a pen shoved into the binding, and have one of those half-asleep ideas that I know I need to write in my notebook otherwise my brain will tell me I can’t forget it and then keep me awake all night to remember, well… you can’t do that with a Moleskine. Those notebooks would literally cause me to lose sleep.
  • The cheapo spiral-binding notebooks I buy at the Safeway nearly always have hilariously awful cover artwork. Does a Moleskine notebook include a photo of a dog wearing a bucket hat, with a surfboard that appears to be wedged into its back? No. Would I miss out on that tiny burst of joy if I used a Moleskine? Yes.
  • I guess I should mention money, because we’re The Billfold, so… I buy $2.99 notebooks with spiral bindings and covers that make me smile and then I use them until every surface is covered with words, which takes about two months. I don’t know how much a Moleskine costs, but I do know that even if I got one for free—which I did, sort of—I wouldn’t use it.

Any questions?

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