It’s National Notebook Day!

Today is National Notebook Day and I am absolutely here for it!

I think my love of notebooks/journals began when I was a kid. I’ve always been a list maker—of things to do, places to go, and books to read.

As I got older and those lists began to encompass more and more topics, it was only natural to corral them into journals and notebooks.

Two of my smaller notebooks from The Happy Planner, they easily fit in my book bag.

I don’t use notebooks just for future plans. I also use them to document my daily activities. Doing so is my way of being able to get up from my desk at the end of the day and have tangible proof of my accomplishments—that I actually did stuff—and that’s important to me.

A few of my activity journals from past years.

So in addition to keeping a daily log of activities associated with my writing, I also use notebooks to:

  • Track healthy habits, like my daily walks, exercise routines, and hydration.
  • List places I want to visit on my next trip to England (BTW, I would have to take up residence in England for the next three years to visit all the places on my list!).
  • Jot story ideas and brainstorms, with notes about plots, characters I think would be interesting to write about, book titles, etc.
  • Reading journals for favorite authors or book series.
  • “Punch lists” for my new house. I moved last year, and because of COVID I put off making any improvements or changes to the new place because I didn’t want strangers/tradespeople in my house. So for the last year I’ve been entering tasks in a notebook, with a new page for each room. Now that we’re getting close to lifting restrictions, I can use the notebook as a checklist for all the painting, electrical upgrades, window-cleaning, kitchen remodeling, etc. that needs to be done.
  • Budgeting and financial goals
The notebooks I use on a daily basis stand ready on my desk.

Right now I have about 45 notebooks on my shelf, ready to be placed in service whenever I get a bright idea I want to write down; and the truth is, I’m always on the lookout for journals.  Hardbacks, paperbacks, spiral bound, 3-ring, and disk-bound—all are equally desirable because it’s typically the cover that speaks to me when I’m deciding whether or not I want to buy a journal.

Did I mention I have a lot of notebooks? Here are a few I haven’t used yet.

Do I have a notebook hoarding problem? Absolutely not! I just prefer to celebrate National Notebook Day every day of the year.

And if you love using notebooks and journals, too, I raise my ribbon bookmark to you!

Related Post: New Journal Find

It’s Banned Books Week; You Know What To Do

Recognize any of these book titles?

Each of these books was banned or under consideration to be banned in the United States of America.

If you love to read, you already know about the transformative power of books.

You also know how to take a book from a store shelf, skim the first few pages, and put it back as you say to yourself, “No, that book’s not for me.”

And yet there are people in this world who want to take that experience away; people who want to substitute their own judgment for yours, and tell you what you can and should read.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracks challenged and banned books, and has some interesting statistics and graphics on the topic, which you can view on their website.

You can also visit to see a schedule of events and read-alongs being held this week.

Banned Books Week may seem like an obscure cause to celebrate, but for me it’s an important one. Among other things, it serves as a reminder to me to support authors who have been challenged—and sometimes vilified—for writing the stories that were in their hearts.

I hope you’ll join me and tune in to Banned Books Week, and celebrate your right to read the books you love.





The Magic of 45 Words

It’s often said that a simple act of kindness can make a tremendous difference in a person’s life. I’m here to tell you it’s true.

“Kindness” doesn’t have to come in large gestures. You don’t have to donate a million dollars to a charity to be considered kind.

In fact, I’d argue the greatest acts of kindness come in small, bite-size, everyday doses that take only a moment or two of the giver’s time, but make all the difference in the life of the recipient.

Here’s what I mean:

As an author, I had a pretty good 2019 (more about that in my next post), but toward the end of the year I was laboring to finish a Regency romance. I started out liking it very well, and I made good progress on my word count and finished scenes.

But once I’d written about 80% of the book, I started to have serious doubts that anything I’d written was even passably good. Then I began to tell myself the same things I always tell myself about my stories:

“This is horrible.”

“No one wants to read this.”

“If anyone does read this, they’ll hate it, and give it a one star review, and I’ll never sell another book again.”

But this time those self-doubts wouldn’t go away. I started to fret and worry about the characters, the plot, and the setting of the story. Every time I sat down to write, I felt as if I were slogging through knee-deep mud. I struggled to type even a sentence. I felt as if the book would never be done and I seriously considered abandoning it.

Then, right after the New Year I received this direct message on Twitter:

I can assure you without hesitation this message is one of the best late Christmas presents I ever received.


I don’t know how long it took the sender to compose her message. Seconds maybe? Perhaps minutes?

But her kind words of encouragement and thanks meant so much to me, and put me right back on track.

And guess what? I finished the book! That reader’s kindness worked like magic in helping me regain my writer’s mindset so I could complete the story I was working on. I will always be grateful to her.

I’m also on the look-out for opportunities to spread my own version of a kind word to another author; to tell her (or him) how much I enjoyed her book and look forward to reading her next one.

I’m not talking about leaving an anonymous book review, although they’re important (every writer knows our careers live and die by some mysterious book review algorithm that no one understands). Instead, I’m talking about actually reaching out to another writer directly. And every time I do so, I’ll have in the back of my mind the Twitter message I received and the difference it made for me.

How about you? Have you ever been the recipient of a simple act of kindness that made a big difference in your life?

Mr. Darcy: A Man with a Plan

Hello, and a happy weekend to you!

Today I’m posting on the Austen Authors blog, talking about Jane Austen movie adaptations. Do you know, some of my favorite scenes in 1995’s “Pride and Prejudice” never appeared in Jane Austen’s original novel!

Here’s a hint about one of those scenes:

I hope you’ll join me at Austen Authors and share your favorite movie scenes, too! Just click on the image below.