Notebooks. God, I love notebooks.

This post is subtitled: Because I Suck.

Let me explain.

Firstly, we all know I like a good notebook. Well, like might not be quite the word

One day, @LizUK and I got lusting after notebooks on twitter, as we are wont to do. I said I have a special cabinet to hold all my notebooks (because I do), she said show me! (I did), and then she said “I want to do a blog about notebooks!”
And I said cool! Here are some of mine.
She said “do you want to write something?”
I said “AWESOME, yes!”

And then… Then I failed. Epically. Because I suck. Yes, I started the post by saying that, but it bears repeating.

The wonderful post Liz wrote is here and full of yummy notebooks.

As I have already spoken about notebooks in the past, I don’t really want to bore you all by talking about them again. So I am going to talk about my recent forays into bookbinding instead.

Mini Monster Notebook

I started bookbinding on something of a whim, back in September 2011. Michelle had done this course locally and told me the chap had a space free. To say I jumped at the chance would be an understatement. Make my own notebooks, to my own exacting specifications?! Where do I sign up?!

These were two of the first notebooks I made. Simple, flat back, case bound, with plain pages. And ugly ass blue cloth covers, because that is all the tutor would let us use. Aesthetically unpleasing as I might have found them, I cannot understate the sheer joy I had in making them and knowing I had MADE these from scratch.

I have always been crafty. From a really young age I made cards, jewellery, christmas decorations, quilts, and all sorts. But somewhere along the way I stopped making things, stopped creating. I hadn’t even noticed, till that first night in bookbinding class. The first moment I started folded the paper, something deep inside of me woke up, and I felt something deep in my soul click. It sounds silly, putting it like that, but it’s the closest way I can describe it.

At the time I was working in a publishing company and enjoying it, but enjoying it a little less than I had when I had started. Three years in, without realising it, my own creativity – be that writing, blogging, or crafting – had been drowned out by the creativity of all the authors I was working with. It was never a conscious thing and I cannot explain how it happened, but it did. Looking back, I can see the slow decline in my own confidence. How could my messing around with words on the blog compare to the people who were writing stories that were actually published? Why did I waste my time doodling when the fabulously talented designers I worked with did it so much better? If my boss didn’t think I was worth promoting (that’s another story, but related), how could I possibly think I was worth anything? I was giving my voice away, closing off something that made me happy, because I started to believe my own self doubt.

Then I did something totally out of character and went somewhere where I knew no-one and did a class. And I made something that hadn’t existed before. I created. And the tutor said I was good at it. I was learning something new, remembering the joy I always found in working out how things worked, and messing around with glue and craft knives and paper. And I went to work and I knew a skill people around me didn’t, and they were jealous. Of me. I had something outside of work and it was mine.

And I woke up.

It is, I admit, a ridiculously simplistic leap to say that bookbinding gave me the faith in myself to go for a new job, but I do not think that it is a total coincidence that shortly after I started the course I DID find a new job. A job I am, somewhat surprisingly, rather good at.

And nearly two years later I am still bookbinding. Still making things and learning. It is fun and frustrating and challenging and annoying and delightful.

Sort of like me.