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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

More Moleskine Hacks

Everytime I pick up a new Moleskine, I’m reminded how much I freaking love these things. I got a fresh one the other day at Flax, so why not mention a few new Moleskine hacks?

  • Moleskine Metadata - Use the upper right corner of a page to make a small note of what that page is about. Could be the name of the project or whatever helps you jog your memory when flipping through, looking for a specific item.
  • Work the accordion - Since I mentioned the Amazon wish list hack, I’ve started toting other stuff around in my primary notebook’s accordion folder:
    • Extra $20 bill for emergencies
    • Index cards (no need to rip out pages when you wanna share music tips or phone numbers)
    • Photos of family and friends
    • Spare BART card with a few bucks on it
    • CD or DVD  (Pros only.) This is a very tight fit, but a handy way to protect a disc you don’t want shaking loose in your bag.
  • Spine Icons - I know some of you, like me, are multiple-Moleskine nerds. It’s sad, but this is how God’s made us. So, this means you might have a lined notebook, a sketch book, a music notebook, or even a storyboard notebook—all of the same size and outward appearance. Using a silver Sharpie or the like, make a small icon or letter at the same place on each spine to remind you which is which.
  • New Datebooks - Although I primarily live by an electronic calendar, I couldn’t resist picking up the new Moleskine Diary for 2005. If you need a sexy, low-key diary and love the Moleskine feel, give it a spin
  • Dream Journal - I keep a Mini-Moleskine on the night stand for jotting down dreams in the morning. Also handy if you’re dozing off to sleep and remember something you need to do tomorrow.
  • Img_3929Moleskine Smoking Journal - I’ve recently resumed the terrible habit of smoking cigars. I’ve used a Moleskine Heavy Sketchbook to paste in the labels and make notes on each smoke. You could do the same with your own guilty pleasure, whether it’s wine, candy from East Asia, or—I don’t know—labels from beef brisket, I suppose.
  • The Plume - Although I still swear by my Fisher Space Pen when I’m on the road, I’ve become a recent convert to the Pilot G2 gel pen. It feels great on a Moleskine’s silky  pages. Nice sharp line that’s more even than the Space Pen’s, I must admit. Sits well in your hand, too.

Got a novel use for your Moleskine?

Mike's picture

I have a few Moleskine...

I have a few Moleskine hacks that I like a lot. I'll probably write these up on my own homepage as well.

Hack 1, Wear Cargo Pants: I wear cargo pants almost exclusively now even if they don't quite meet up to the social pressures of my job. I carry a copy of Strunk and White and a thin paperback book (like Stephen King says, always carry a book with you) in one pocket. Right now its H.P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness". In the other cargo pocket I carry one or two Moleskine plain pocket-sized notebooks. I carry my Waterman Expert 2 loaded with G2 .7mm black ink refills, a Pentel click eraser (white art-style eraser in a little plastic pen-sized tube), and a Rotring 600 .7mm mechanical pencil or Faber Castell 1.2mm E-Motion pencil. The cargo pants (my favorite are Eddie Bauer ultimate cargo pants), also hold my cell phone and iPod, my wallet, and keys. Since becoming a Moleskinner, these pants do the job very well.

Hack 2, Use Waterman pens with Pilot G2 ink: I use Pilot G2 .7mm rollerball refills exclusively now. I performed some experiments on Moleskine paper and G2 ink and while I spare you the details, I will say that G2 ink on a Moleskine page will last as long as the page holds together. G2 ink is cheap (about a buck a pen) and available almost everywhere in the US including major office supply stores, grocery stores, and drug stores. Every Waterman rollerball pen I have tried can hold a G2 refill. Right now I use a Waterman Expert 2 with a G2 refill for all of my writing. It's expensive but cheaper than a Palm Pilot. If you don't want to spend a lot on a fancy snobby pen, get a Pilot Dr. Grip Gel. It runs about $5 and for the money its the best pen in the US.

Hack 3, Number your pages. In my story notebooks, I write the page number of the book and the page number of the story I am working on. In each corner of every page I draw a small rectangle with enough room for the page number of the Moleskine and the page number of the story I am working on. This way, if I ever happen to start a new story before finishing another, I can keep track of which pages go with which stories. I keep an index of all of the stories in each Moleskine on the first page of the notebook with page number references. Five hundred or a thousand years from now can dig up my old stories and publish them in some giant tome. I don't do this for my normal walking-around journal which is usually piled up with work notes and drawings of swords and vampires.

Hack 4: Print out my Writer's Tips PDF and keep a copy in each Moleskine. I wrote a Writer's Tips PDF with useful writing tips on one side and a page from the Operina 1522 calligraphy book. The PDF pages are meant to be printed to two sides of a single piece of paper and then cut in half. Folding each half twice should allow it to fit into the back pocket of a pocket Moleskine. The sheet includes tips from Orwell, Strunk and White, Heinlein, and Edward Tufte along with a list of overused metaphors I collect in my travels. The page from the Operina matches the writing style I choose to follow these days, a writing style of Chancery Italics both legible and easy to write.

Hack 5, Use the Plain Pocket Moleskine Notebook: The plain pocket notebook allows you to have any sort of notebook you want. Without any lines at all you are free to work it into an address book, a phone book, a journal, a schedule, a scrap book, a sketch book, or just about anything else. No lines means freedom to do whatever you want. The size of the Moleskine pocket notebook means you can carry it wherever you go. It fits in purses or pockets easily and allows you to jot down that brilliant thought whether you are at the office, on a plane, or waiting in line at a grocery store.

Hack 6, Use Moleskine Hyperlinks: By numbering every page in your Moleskine you can add a "continued from page 53" or "continued on page 92". These Moleskine hyperlinks help you keep track of multiple threads of thought happening all at once. They also help others understand your thoughts when they dig up your priceless Moleskine in a thousand years.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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