When you are running a small business, sometimes you have to take a step back and square yourself with the day to day of it. The ups and downs can be pretty tough. Since I have been doing this almost thirteen years, I think I have come to terms with the rise and fall of business: cash flow, burn out, and all the other less fun aspects of running the place. I feel pretty lucky to have customers and students who are loyal and I love the diversity of the work that I do, but when I started making the Fillion, things really began to change for me. Having a product to sell meant a more constant source of income, but it also revived something inside of me that had kind of been lost in the shuffle of book making.
I think the real reason I love making and selling Fillions, goes back to my love for writing things down. I have an English degree and an MFA in Creative Writing so it is no surprise that I gravitated toward books. But scraping stinky glue off of old spines, hand-painting patinas onto new leather, repairing corners where the cloth has worn away, remounting pages of cookbooks or Bibles, or building custom boxes to house family heirlooms? I know that is a pretty odd way to use a creative writing degree. The thing that I realized a little late in life, though, is that my incessant need to make things with my hands was not being satisfied by writing poems, no matter how much I thought of writing as a craft. And now, I realize that making things with my hands isn't nearly enough without the craft of writing things down.
In the past, my addiction was the "new journal" rush. Sitting down with a new, blank, crispy journal is simply the best feeling there is if you are into paper or into writing. And now, that I use the Fillion for all of my journalling, I find that I am constantly looking for an excuse for a new notebook to add to my Fillion.
Currently here is my Fillion setup:
Notebook 1: Arkansas Cities
My husband and I use this notebook to research places in our home state that we know nothing about or that we want to learn more about. We usually do this on road trips.
Notebook 2: Miranda/Naomi
Ok, this notebook is split in half. I like to call it a duplex. The front half is dedicated to my oldest daughter and the back half is dedicated to my youngest daughter. I like to write funny or interesting things they say or do, accomplishments, and other significant memories I want to keep. When I get to the middle of the notebook, I will start a new one. I do have one rule for myself for this notebook-- when I write for one side, I always write for the other side at the same time.
Notebook 3: Journal
Ok, this will be a more serious journal that I keep that is mostly coherent and that I may want to archive.
Notebook 4: Dump
This journal is where I scream on the page or where I allow myself to write incoherently for pages at a time. This would be a journal that would be fun to ritually burn once filled. I can imagine a ritual where I read through it and transfer out a couple of savory bits I want to keep for future use but after that I literally light it on fire. Good riddance. I am totally going to do this.
Notebook 5: Poetry Drafts
So this is where I am making serious attempts at poetry. This book will be used to transfer actual poems to my computer for final stage drafts. This might be a book I archive (burning is always an option).
Notebook 6: 2017 Books
This notebook is dedicated to keeping track of books that I read this year. Each one gets a summary and a rating. I will archive this book.
Notebook 7: Blog
This is the latest new notebook that I am using to write down ideas for this blog and flesh them out a little for future use.
Notebook 8: Watercolor
This is an unbound notebook with watercolor paper for when I am feeling like I need to draw/paint something out. I am not an artist nor do I hold myself to any standard here. It is simply a different way of getting things onto paper. For some reason, I tend to be weirdly noncritical of my artwork. I save all that for my poetry.
Notebook 9: Patricia's pocket
This is not a notebook at all, but to me it is absolutely crucial. I stuff things like ticket stubs, napkin poems, and other random fodder in the pocket. It features a paste paper I made myself. I am not trying to sell you a pocket here, but these are so amazing and essential, I can't imagine why you wouldn't buy one. HA HA
The point is, I keep thinking of new reasons to add a notebook and new notebooks I need to add. Even though I literally have hundreds of notebooks at my fingertips at all times, I am still giddy when I pick up a new blank one and sit down with a pen in hand to start it. And even though I have packed up and shipped off hundreds of Fillions, I still experience that old "new journal" feeling over and over through my customers.
So, thanks! I am seriously honored to be able to make something that you may find useful. I would love to hear how you use your notebooks, too. If you happen to be on Instagram, I would love to see photos of your notebook set up. Tag it #fillionloveclub. Facebook users can go to Fillion Love to post pictures.
Also, with this blog post, I am launching a new product called the Writer's Notebook Kit. This will be your excuse to buy a new notebook and some fun ways to fill one up! Whether or not you use a Fillion (these will work with the standard or A5 size Fillion), this may be just the excuse you need to buy a new notebook! Each kit will include one handmade notebook and a writing project/assignment/challenge along with all the accessories you need to completely fill your notebook! Some of these will be pretty CRAFTY and others will be geared more toward nurturing the writer inside, but they will all have writing as a part of the assignment. Sometimes, I will bring in guest writers and artists to help me design a notebook kit. These notebooks will always be limited edition. Some editions will be smaller than others.
The first one will be limited to 60 and will ship out on October 31.
To pre-order... Writer's Notebook Kit - Family Recipes
Here is a sneak peak at the contents for the November/December Writer's Notebook Kit!
P.S. I just added the Family Recipes Kit to my Fillion :)