If you’ve read Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, you already know all about the logbook. Back in December, I made a pledge to start keeping one myself, it seemed like such a good idea at the time. I love the idea of keeping track of the things I’ve done, seen, eaten, thought, whatever, on any given day. As I mentioned back then, I’ve been doing this sort of thing in doodle form for a while, just not in any planned, deliberate way. So I figured just getting a notebook (who doesn’t need another excuse for a new notebook?) and having a plan to do this everyday would be enough for me to make the commitment.
So I got my notebook, hacked it appropriately (OK, I added a pen loop with some neon orange duct tape and called it done), and got to work. I logged daily for all of January but, I won’t lie, I missed a couple of days here and there and I had to backtrack to catch up. Then February hit and I found myself going back to fill in missed days more than I was logging stuff in any regular way. By mid-March, I reluctantly and regretfully ditched the habit altogether. Why? A few reasons:
- The more I was backtracking to catch up on days I missed, the more I started thinking of logging as a chore, as one more thing I had to get done before lights-out. That’s not how it’s supposed to work! I thought about just letting go of days when I don’t log anything but then I worried that I’d have more blank pages than full ones! That’s probably not how it’s supposed to work either.
- I’ve kept a journal, off and on, since I was a kid — I am thoroughly drawn to that sort of self-reflection. So as I was logging the pithy, factual stuff, I was sort of struggling to see the real value in it. It felt a bit like a forced combination of stuff that’s in my calendar and stuff that’s in my everyday notebook. Speaking of which…
- I am a one-notebook girl. I know people who carry notebooks for different things, whether those are different parts of their lives (work, home) or different purposes (lists, notes, etc.). My default has always been one notebook to rule them all. My notebook is doodle pad, my to-do list book, my place to scribble notes at work meetings, my reminder book, my phone book, all of it (I’ve only just (as in in the last couple of months) decided that I need a separate sketchbook and that’s only because my sketchbook needs to hold up to watercolour). So all that jotting down of stuff in my logbook felt slightly redundant, especially when a lot of that same stuff was already in my primary notebook.
Lesson learned? I already sort of (kind of, maybe) do keep a logbook, it’s just not the kind of logbook I thought I should be keeping. And I think I’m OK with that.