Stationery Plans for The New Year
“And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been.”-Rainer Maria Rilke
With every end there is a beginning, and the new year offers us a wealth of beginnings, ripe for the taking.
Who doesn’t enjoy a fresh start? Newly washed sheets, the first page of a notebook, a new fragrance for a new season, an exercise regimen carefully planned for a healthy start after a December of indulgences, perhaps a new pen.
As 2021 came to an end, I found myself thinking about how I wanted to approach 2022 differently than in previous years. I’m suspicious it might be because it is the last year of my 40’s, and it certainly has something to do with the times we find ourselves in. There is an odd compression and expansion of time that most of us have never experienced before and somehow making resolutions and planning the way I always have just didn’t seem quite right.
Most of us have traveled far more in our minds over the last two years than we have on planes, trains and automobiles. The pages of our journals and notebooks have been the records of our footsteps far more than the sidewalks and roads and I’m pretty sure that there are lots of dated calendars for 2020 and 2021 that are left empty and have hopefully been turned into scrap paper rather than been thrown in the dust bin.
For many years I had multiple dated planners. One for work travel, one for personal travel, one for anniversaries and birthdays which I was always late for because of all of the work and personal travel! I also had journals for my personal notes, notebooks for my work notes, class notes, board meeting notes, morning pages, and art inspiration. There was a five year diary (actually I filled out two completely,) an address book, and I am sure there were other books and notebooks that I have forgotten about. I lugged much of this stack around with me as I traveled most days/nights of the year and I always had far more writing supplies with me than clothes (can some of you relate, my people?)
But, these are different times.
In the past couple of years, I have admittedly been one of those people who has wasted some paper, especially the dated kind, so this year I have decided to approach my planning and journaling…
(Here is where I should tell you that I transitioned to my new planning system in September, so I have had some practice with the tools I am about to share.)
THE 2022 PLAN
My stack is down to 3.
You read that right.
It’s a short stack, rather than a full stack!
First up is a A5 Slim Notebook Cover in Undyed Leather.
This is for work notes. Frankly, I don’t have many notes for my store. Somehow I manage most of that in my head, but as my freelance writing business has grown, I found myself needing a space and place just for that work. This notebook (which I have filled with an A5 Life Noble notebook,) has all measures of practicality covered while being really beautiful. I can’t wait to see how it ages and I am doing my best to keep my retentive self from seeing marks and aging as a flaw. Take that for a metaphor!
So, I learned about this bullet journaling thing!
Do you know about it?! Just kidding. I know I am WAY late to the party on this one.
I am so grateful that I finally joined in, though.
I finally read my autographed copy of Ryder Carroll’s book (he signed it with a Montblanc 146 with a fineliner refill, btw,) and watched a ton of @lindseyscribbles on YouTube.
In the bullet journal, I have built a whole bunch of trackers, I have my calendar and my daily logs.
No dated planners here, folks. I make my own calendar and I cross out things that don’t come to pass with abandon. No pages wasted and generally not a lot of time spent bemoaning what might have been.
I’m using an Archer and Olive notebook (160 gsm paper!) and I have it housed in the Leather Journal Cover for Leuchtturm 1917.
Lastly, I have a personal journal. This I use for morning pages, future writing, testing out inks, plotting things for my website and any inspirations I stumble upon. I didn’t want this notebook to feel too precious, so I use an Everyday Book for this. I like the slim profile and how light it is in my bag.
I love all three of these books so much. I feel organized, unconstrained and I’ve had bunches of fun here and there with little stickers and bits of washi tape so that my twelve year-old self is also entertained.
Another part of the plan has been minimizing the tools that I use and keep on my desk.
The most important one for me has been the Brass Combine Tool.
I use this for everything in my bullet journal. It’s an all in one tool for making spreads and it’s as beautiful as it is useful. It also easily slides into any of my leather covers when I take them out on the town.
I have three Brass Binder Clips on my desk.
I love opening my books on my desk at the start of a day and clipping them open to see my full plan in front of me.
My wood Pen Bed is where my daily writers live and I switch these three pens out nearly every week. I love how the pen bed makes them look so special without taking up too much space. When I take them on the go, I transfer them to a Leather Flap Pen Case for three pens. This was one of my first Galen Leather products and it is a favorite. Of course, there are more than twenty options for pen cases at Galen, so many that I wrote an article about how to pick one, which you can refer to if you need a matchmaker!
I just moved, so I always have the Tape Measure Handy and everything is stored in a Stack and Store Wood Ink box. No messes on my 2022 allowed.
I’m not sure my system is finite (I’m sure I’ll see sparkly things in the corner of my eye that I have to have at some point,) but for now it feels easy and like the perfect fresh start for the year.
I’d love to know what your set-up tricks and tips are and about the tools you’re enjoying the most.
Leave them in the comments!
Happy New Year!
Wishing you all a fresh start and a year of simplicity, joy and good health.
Stationery Plans for 2021
I’m someone who has always enjoyed making resolutions. I love sitting down and reviewing my previous year’s accomplishments and dreaming up what I want to achieve in a new year. Putting pen to paper for this exercise is one of the things I look most forward to. These are the types of things I love to think about when I’m about to commit to what I am hopeful to achieve: Which pen is deserving of this important plotting and planning? Which ink color makes sense for the tone I want to set for myself? Which paper? Should there be ephemera and stickers? The answer to that is ALWAYS, dear reader.
Often, I like to make my resolutions sitting in a coffee shop, maybe with a latte and a nice pastry. Some years I have been on the road and the backdrop of an exciting city has inspired me to dream big. This year I am sitting on my couch. Like many of you, I am looking at the same view I’ve looked at for most of this year. It is impossible to ignore that this was a year of loss and challenge and subsequently, many of my resolutions were not aligned with the realities of 2020. But this year ended up being an excellent teacher for me and it informs many of the resolutions I have for this coming year.
I thought I’d share some of them with you because analog tools and stationery from Galen are a big part of what makes me joyful (that’s why I’m here!) and joy is BIG on my 2021 agenda.
Herewith are my 2021 resolutions:
Write more letters.
I am a terrible pen pal, and I can give you a list of people who would gladly confirm this. I also hate to speak on the telephone and I’m notorious for not answering personal emails and texts in a timely manner. While I’ve always been aware of this shortcoming, 2020 put a big spotlight on it. While I did a better job this year of reaching out to friends and family via the dreaded Zoom and phone, I still haven’t managed to reply to the stack of letters and postcards that glare at me from my Galen Writing Box. I have now put that beautiful, mahogany box smack dab in the middle of my desk. It makes it hard to avoid and that is the point. It is gorgeous to look at, but it’s also a reminder to make connections with people I care about.
2. Write daily morning pages.
I read “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron a few years ago and am currently making my way through her book, “Walking in the World”. One of the common exercises between the two books is daily writing. I have already started so that I am in a groove when 2021 dawns. Right now, I’m good for three to four days a week, but in 2021, I’m aiming for seven out of seven. The basic premise of morning pages is to write three pages, stream of conscious, each day. On the days when there is nothing to say, you write one word over and over. I also have a set of prompt cards that I sometimes use to get me started (which may be cheating, don’t tell Julia). I do this writing in the Galen Everyday Books. I love every size of these books (you can see my previous blog about them,) but for this exercise I especially love the giant B5’s.
3. Figure out how to use a calendar again.
Who else bought a planner last year that they’re now using for scrap paper? My 2020 planner is a wasteland of what was to be. From March until now there are blank pages and white space galore. In the last few weeks, maybe for the first time since becoming a responsible adult, I have been late for or missed several appointments. It’s a terrible feeling. I need to start writing down where I need to be and when I need to be there, again. To show you how serious I am about this, I’ve done a really daring thing and bought a DATED calendar. It is patiently awaiting January in my Galen A5 zippered leather cover.
4. Organize my desk.
I shared with you that I’m writing this from my couch. This couch and I are in a seriously deep relationship with each other. It’s probably time for a little distance and there is nothing I love more than a clean desk ready for writing. I’m looking forward to eventually acquiring the new Stack and Store system to tidy my desk, but in the meantime, I have my three favorite pens (don’t tell the other ones,) on my Galen pen rest, my A5 pad on my clipboard ready for to do lists and my brass binder clip to keep stray papers in check.
5. Commit to a Gratitude Journal
I ‘m actually well into the swing of this one. I started keeping a gratitude journal in October and I hope it is a practice I always keep. I do this in an A5 leather notebook which is a very luxurious container for gratitude. I love that when I complete it, I will have 400 pages filled with what I’m grateful for. Sometimes it is simple things, like cheese (ha!) but it is also a place to really reflect on how fortunate I feel and a reminder to pay that fortune forward whenever possible.
6. Read more.
One of my greatest indulgences is to curl up with a book. Both of my parents are voracious readers, and it is something that I have loved to do since I was very small. While I find it impossible to let go of physical books (I love how they smell and I love paper too much,) those of you who have made your way to e-books will find the leather planner covers a great way to make your e-reader a part of your everyday carry.
7. Research pigments.
I spent a lot of time in 2020 making my own watercolor paint and pastels. There was a lot of trial and error in these pursuits with an emphasis on the latter. This is because pigments each have their own characteristics, uses and behaviors. I could spend a lifetime learning how each of them are best served. I have a stack of articles and books to start digging through to continue my studies (with the goal of FINALLY making a lapis lazuli pastel that adheres to the paper). I want my notes to look as beautiful as the materials themselves, so I’m indulging in my most decadent set-up: A leather zippered 10 slots pen case with A5 notebook holder and an A5 leather notebook as the insert.
8. Find my passport.
Okay, I know where it is. I just haven’t had much hope of using it. But optimism is a key ingredient for 2021, so I am going to fish it out of the junk drawer, put it in a Galen passport cover (I need to choose a fun color,) and put it where I can see it to remind myself that I WILL travel again and until then I can do lots of traveling in my imagination.
9. Use up some ink.
I am hoping #1’s, 2, 3, 5 and 7 make a dent in the ink I have. There are many colors on my ink wish list, but they don’t have a chance of coming into this house until I use up what I already own.
10. Find quiet places to write outdoors.
One of the things that I haven’t been able to use as much as I’d like to this year is my medic bag. This is such a special product for Galen and for me. I want to make sure it gets lots of adventures in the new year. While I don’t think being indoors in public places is going to be possible for much of this year, I want to make a point of seeking out fresh air and changes of scenery to spark creativity and take more time to appreciate the dynamic and beautiful city I live in. I think the medic bag will be the perfect way to take my desk on the go.
This is just some of what I’ll be up to this year (I’ve spared you things like the nuts and bolts of running my business and that I need to stop baking and eating too much bread). I encourage you to make your own resolutions and if you’d be willing, to share them in the comments. Let me know how Galen Leather products figure into your plan for 2021. I would love to hear from you. You always inspire me and give me great guidance and ideas.
I love that you threw in finding your passport and then mentioned getting a cover from Galen. Now you just added to my list! :) and thank you for mentioning the morning pages. I haven’t done those in awhile. I have written letters this past year though. I invested in some nice stationary and wasn’t even afraid to use it! Huge growth during this pause in life.
What a beautiful post and such an encouragement for the coming year. I struggle to believe that we will ever return to what we once considered a normal life for the most part because I don’t think that is in the cards by the powers that be. That said “they” will never take away my hopes, desires and positive expectations for my future.
Tom Vander Well
Great post, Katy. I am also an “Artist’s Way” veteran and Morning Pages were/are transformational in my life journey. I also have a 2021 resolution to write more letters and make a dent in my stationery supply. The gratitude journal is something I haven’t done. I may have to give it a try. Cheers!
Robert Michael Carlysle
What a cheerful and inspiring post ~ lots of good ideas here.
I absolutely love reading about your inspiration for 2021. It has inspired me to do a bit more myself. I will introduce myself to morning journaling now. Thank you!
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Katy worked in a stationery shop for nearly a decade, so She’s educated on many products and stationery client questions. She is also stationery - planner - fountain pen fanatic.