Sunday, September 5, 2010

Win A Customized Composition Notebook


School supplies. Were there ever any two sweeter words in the entire English language? Not for me!

I love new notebooks, Crayola Crayons, fresh pens, unsharpened #2 Ticonderoga pencils, Pink Pearl erasers, and most of all...composition notebooks.

I didn't always feel this way. At first, I hated the composition notebooks because you can't easily tear sheets out. But now, I love them, especially to take to conferences. You see, at conferences and conventions, you don't get a desk with a surface for writing. So...a composition notebook with its sturdy cover is both a notebook and a desk top all in one handy, dandy item.

Recently, I took a bit of flak for showing up at a fancy writer's meeting and whipping out my composition notebook. One of the celebrated writers at the table said, "I haven't seen one of those since I was a kid." I think he meant it as a diss, but I don't care. I have composition notebooks with all sorts of nifty info in them. They are sturdy, they are tough, and they fit neatly on my bookshelves. Take that legal pads! Boo-ya spiral bound notebooks!

To make the most of a composition notebook, I have a trick. I leave the first three pages blank. Then I number the pages inside the notebook. When I'm finished with the notebook, I go back and create a table of contents on those first three pages. This leaves me free to change subject, to put anything I want inside, and I quickly find what I want by refering to the table of contents.

I love dedicating an entire notebook to a conference or an organization! I have a notebook for my Sisters in Crime meetings and for my Mystery Writers of America meetings as well. I just use different colored covers to tell them apart.

Here's another cool use for composition notebooks: Decorate the covers and give them as gifts. See my samples above. To learn more about how I made each of them, visit my blog.

CONTEST


Want me to make you a customized little composition notebook? (Actual size is about 3" x 5.") Comment on this blog post! I'll choose one lucky comment author to win a notebook in his/her favorite colors. Why not share this offer with a friend?

35 comments:

Joni langevoort said...

I'm a sucker for school supplies, too, and you forgot my favorite: Elmer's glue. I used to spread a thin layer on my palm and see if I could peel it off in big sheets. (I know, get a life.)
These notebooks are great, and I love the idea of leaving the first pages blank for a table of contents! I recently did a TOC for my scrapbooking stickers, and it makes it so much easier to find them now.

NL Gassert said...

Oh, I love my composition notebooks. I have one in my purse right now; it's a bit tattered and I need to get a new one soon. I like using them better than steno pads precisely because pages don’t come loose.

I hadn't thought of creating a table of contents. That's a great idea, Joanna, and sure would save me a lot of time when I can't find what I'm looking for.

Nadja

Emilie Richards said...

Your creative never ceases to amaze me. Great idea.

Kate said...

I am an engineer and we call our books either "field books" or "lab books" depending on where you work. I have several stored away with all kinds of odd information in them. They were essential before laptop computers, and I still use them.

Anonymous said...

Of course I want a notebook decorated by YOU!! I have seen your handiwork and am in AWE! I would keep all my secret thoughts complied in that book. Can't wait for you to come back to come back to St. Louis and sit around the sofa at Puddinhead Books.
Stephanie Koenig

Jane Jeffress Thomas said...

My favorite blank books are the speckeldy ones. They have tough covers too. Bad if you want to tear out a sheet though because they are stitched inside and if you rip one page our, then its pair at the end of that signature comes out too. You have to remember to rip it out along the red line. :-) Love your notebooks. Happy Labor Day.

Jane Jeffress Thomas said...

Hmmmm. Something isn't working correctly with posting tonight. Must be the moon. :-) I love the speckeldy notebooks. You have to be careful when you tear out a sheet to tear out along the red line though because if you tear along the stitching, then you lose the attached page in that signature. Love your notebooks. Have a super Labor Day.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Joni, you're a crafty kind of girl, aren't you? I've done that glue trick. Pretty neat. A TOC for your stickers! Wow, come organize my office, girlfriend.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Nadja, it makes such a difference. It really works! Glad to know I'm not the only one who carries hers along with.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Emilie, from an author with so many books to your credit, and all those quilts, who's the creative one?

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Kate, love that term "field books." Sounds so earthy and practical.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Stephanie, I hope you'll keep dropping by. We're having a special event here at our blog that involves Nikki at Pudd'nhead. Shhhh. It's going to be way cool. I loved my evening with all of you. It was such FUN!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Jane, you've just been tapped by the Blogger-geist. It's a pesky spirit that only bugs those who comment on Blogger.

I like the tear-out sheet notebooks for other work, because I hate those raggedy edges. I have to use my Fiskars personal paper trim on them every time.

Chris said...

I'm so weak for notebooks and pens... I never thought of using composition books the way you do, but it's brilliant.

And I'd love to win one of your gorgeous customized composition books.

Jason said...

Those are so awesome looking! I would love to win one!

Jase

Camille Minichino said...

Terrific contest idea, Joanna. I'm going to STEAL it for Tuesday!

I also love comp. books. There's nothing like those "marbleized" covers to to say "knowledge within!"

Bookwoman said...

I love school supplies too. I can spend hours just browsing. My favorites are pens and notebooks. I love the idea of decorating a notebook. What a great gift idea.

Janel said...

I just got done packing my son's book bag to start school tomorrow. While shopping for supplies I bought myself a set of colorful permanent markers and a few notebooks with covers that are meant to be colored in.

Monica Ferris said...

Joanna, what a brilliant idea, numbering the pages and leaving room for a table of contents at the front of your notebook. One of those great ideas that, when you hear it, you wonder why you didn't think of it yourself.

I love office supplies; I can't go into an office supply store without buying at least one more item than is on my shipping list.

Julie said...

I'm a librarian, as well as a writer and lawyer, and the table of contents idea is genius! Satisfies my librarian's need for organization and accessibility of information. I'm definitely stealing that. I have fond memories of going to the local 5 and dime to get school supplies, including those 3-ring binders covered in blue fabric. Oh, boy, am I old!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Chris, I am a sucker for office supply stores. Love them!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...
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Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Camille, you are my favorite thief. Steal away!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Bookwoman, they make lovely gifts. Small but very personal and useful. I used to be a motivational speaker and I urged people to always carry a notebook. It's amazing how much easier life is when you can take notes.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...
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Joanna Campbell Slan said...
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Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Jase, consider yourself entered in the contest.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Janel, I haven't seen notebooks like that. I bought one for my niece, and it looks like someone scribbled on it. She's a very artsty kid, so I thought she'd like it.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Monica, a friend also taught me to turn the blank first pages of any book into a personal index. See, I was always taught not to write in my books, but her idea turns every book I read into a personal companion. It makes it really easy to find that quotation you loved, or the passage you admired. On my e-reader, I can also note passages and add my own comments.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Julie, I have re-covered those fabric 3-ring binders and other binders of crummy cardstock. I bought beautiful paper with a high cotton content and covered the original cover, the way you would if you were binding a book. It's just beautiful. I'll have to show it to you all sometime. I also used paper towels as stuffing and covered a small album for my niece for her little boy. I used a blue and white ticking fabric, and cut the letters "BABY" out in red felt.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...
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Joanna Campbell Slan said...
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Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Congratulations, Kate! You won! I used a number randomizer to pick a comment, and you're it! Just send me your postal address at joannaslan@aol.com

Also, tell me more...colors? interests? Any special image?

Betty Hechtman said...

I love your idea of decorating the composition books. That way each one stands out

Marlyn said...

I think I may have to subscribe to fewer blogs. I keep missing the cool contests!