Tag Archives: creativity

Hands off my notebooks!

I have an obsession with notebooks that’s bordering on unhealthy; I have a shelf dedicated to my (unused) notebooks in the office. I also love backing cool new ideas on Kickstarter and Indiegogo (you should see my computer keyboard that feels like a typewriter!).

So you can imagine my excitement when I saw The Perfect Notebook: the notebook to end all notebooks, one that will make me more productive, happier and healthier, and a better friend, employee, wife and mother.

It’s pretty plain looking, but it has a “modular disc binding system” – you can move pages around in it. I like that; it made me click on the promo video. That’s when it all went wrong.

The video shows a young professional woman struggling to juggle everything in her life: she should be getting more done at work, she should be getting her startup off the ground in her spare time, she should be eating right and going to the gym. She should be better at life.

ThePerfectNotebook-Video

But don’t worry, help is at hand! All she needs to do is switch all her clumsy files and lazy ways for The Perfect Notebook and she’ll be running a marathon and a multi-million dollar business in a matter of weeks. The pages are already printed with the stuff she should be doing, and some space to write her own goals. She just has to get stuff done and tick away.

I’m a productivity tool junkie, so why did this notebook – which technically combines lots of my favourite things – turn me off so quickly? This made me think about all the reasons I love notebooks.

They’re simple.

Get a load of pages and bind them together. It doesn’t matter if it’s lined, squared or plain paper, fixed with staples, glue or thread, bound in leather, fabric or card, the notebook’s core structure is simple. And it works.

They’re multipurpose.

Granted, the first page of my used notebooks almost inevitably spells out all the ways I’m planning to use that notebook to change the world, but by page four it’s usually home to shopping lists, reminders and scribbled down phone numbers.

They’re inspiring.

Some of them are beautiful and all of them make me want to pick up a pencil. They inspire me to write down my ideas and worries, my daydreams and doodles. My notebooks are where my thoughts come together somehow, a meeting place for words and scribbles. They give me the space to be creative and pragmatic all at once.

They’re non-judgmental.

My notebooks don’t tell me I should be working harder, or make me hang my head in shame if I miss a gym session. They just listen to my incessant rambling, which is rather lovely.

 

Even though The Perfect Notebook claims it can make me a better person, I’m sticking firmly with my imperfect notebooks instead. Would you make the switch?

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Word invention challenge: Week four

Week one
Week two
Week three

The more I work on this challenge, the more words seem to just pop into my head. My list of rejects is growing much faster than the daily list (maybe I’ll publish that one day too). Actually, all the listing is one of my favourite things about this challenge. I’m quite listy myself, I don’t think I’d get anything done without my ‘to do’s and ‘action’s. Every now and then a word just pops up from a jutch, sometimes even from someone else. Unfortunately, jutches are so common that the words they often produce have integrated into the language already (like snain and fantabulous).

I’ve learnt a lot about words, language and my own creativity this month. I tend to constrapolate, for example – I hold myself back by building walls that don’t need to be there. So I fought against this: a few of my new words (indlewink, okigollop) are just made up from nothing. They sound nice and are fun to say. I approached this challenge rathely – by the end of day three I already had a list of 20 words – and that’s the way I approach all my work as a wreditor (as long as there’s a deadline, of course). In fact, sometimes I’d sit so long without even blinking, let alone taking a break, that my leg muscles would constretch beyond belief. One of the many reasons I now have a ball to sit on.

I’m not sure how I feel about this challenge coming to an end. Actually, I think it’s made me realize that making up new words is fun, so I might just continue to do it (as appropriate, of course) forever. Some situnarios call for special terms (special swear words could be fun) and there are certainly words in other languages that don’t (yet) have equivalents in English (like gezellig… if only that was easy to pronounce).

For now, I’ll take a break from the formality of the challenge – I’ve made my 31 words in 31 days (and a whole lot more besides). Now it’s time to enjoy the weekend and think about what February may bring. I think today calls for a bit of wine drinking, okigolloping and chatting in Amsterdam with my lovely visitor. So farewell January, goodbye word invention challenge, and hello new perspective on language!

  1. Listy (adj.) – a person who bases actions on lists; a very organized person
  2. Rathely (adv.) – quickly, promptly; eagerly, vehemently
  3. Constrapolate (v.) – to constrict possibilities when extrapolating
  4. Jutch (v.) – to say a word that is a mix of two other words unintentionally; to switch and jumble two words (also (n.) – a word that results from jutching)
  5. Contretch (v.) – of muscles: to tense backwards; relax extremely
  6. Situnario (n.) – a situation in which a scenario takes place; usually referring to a negative or stressful event
  7. Okigollop (v.) – to eat something without thinking when someone tells you to
  8. Wreditor (n.) – a person engaged in writing and editing as a profession

Thanks to Emily for situnario – a word we invented in Australia far too many years ago.

That’s it! 31 days of January, 31 new words. What do you think? Are any of these usable? I’m planning to stick them on my wall, and will attempt to use each of them at least once this year, for real.

Have you been inspired? Have you made up any words? Share them in the comments!


Word invention challenge: Week one

My favourite week of the whole year is the week between Christmas and New Year. Seven days of excitement, of rushing around apily, tying up loose ends and sketching out plans for the year ahead. It’s the time I get tough with my to do list, ditching all those permending items in favour of more realistic, achievable objectives. It’s a week full of hope; a week fueled by reinvention and excitement.

HappyNewYear“Pop!” The champagne bursts free and we clink and embrace – here’s to 2015! I tell my husband that one of my (many, as always) New Year’s resolutions is to make up a new word. Actually, you know what? I’ll make up a new one every day in January. How hard can it be? He kwinks at me lovingly. Knowingly. Another mad idea.

We sit and sip our champagne, watching the fireworks and letting the grunkles melt away from our faces – it’s as if the evening’s celebrations are wiping out all of 2014’s negativity. It’s technically 2015 already, but the new start will come when we wake up. (Which gives us free reign to carry on enjoying the bubbles and snacks, one last time.)

After an unusually lazy lie-in, we are woken by the sound of two needy cats scratching the bedroom door. Even more unusually, we let them in and they leap onto the bed, bunting and preowing away, enjoying the cuddly attention (and giving me some wordspiration). Their pawing tickles, giving me a movitch that won’t sit still, so I jump up, ready to face the day. The year.

Like many people, I intend to be super fit and healthy in 2015. It’s nothing new, of course – I’ve been on a pretty intense training schedule for over a year now – but January adds something of a shine to the regime. I’ll be doing a lot more chegging and scoffing far less chocolate this month. I boil the kettle and put a couple of eggs in a pan, with a big grin on my not-so-grumpled face.

Hello, 2015. It’s nice to meet you.

Words of week one

  1. Preow (v.) – to purr and meow simultaneously
    Also (n.) – the noise made by purring and meowing simultaneously
  1. Permending (adj.) – permanently awaiting decision or settlement; permanently pending
  2. Kwink (v.) – to wink and air kiss simultaneously, usually directed at a person
  3. Movitch (n.) – an itch that starts in one place and moves when scratched, evading relief
  4. Chegg (v.) – the practice of eating mostly chicken and eggs. Common in bodybuilding and strength training
  5. Apily (adv.) – like a bee; to do something in a bee-like manner
  6. Grunkle (n.) – a small furrow or ridge on a smooth surface, usually a face, caused by grumpiness

Bonus (made in the writing of this article): Wordspiration (n.) – a word-inspiring influence; something that inspires the creation or use of words.

What do you think? How am I doing? What’s the best word so far? This is more fun than I could have imagined.