I started writing in my Moleskine daily when I incorporated it into a daily package. A group of things I do together.
I live about two miles from downtown Mill Valley, California. A town of 14,000 people, 12 miles North of San Francisco. The heart of Mill Valley, is the Depot Bookstore & Cafe which opens onto a small town square.
The cafe is the best nearby place to sit and write. It seats about 50 people. That's about 40 more seats than you can squeeze into the local Peet's across the street. Peet's admittedly has better coffee, but the Depot's coffee is pretty good and the people-watching, cafe and comfortable seating makes it better for casual writing.
But I digress. The point is that this is a whole little downtown with quite a lot of character and only a modicum of cheesy touristy stuff. It's got its fair share of high-end touristy stuff, but hasn't succumbed to T-shirt stores. You would like it.
Luckily, the eggs and toast breakfast served at the Depot cafe works for me. I eat the toast dry (no jam even though they have great jam here) and ask for 1 slice rather than the default two slices to avoid temptation. You probably don't want to know, but I eat the toast with eggs -- combining the two which allows the eggs to serve as the topping on the toast and the toast to add a little variety to the eggs.
I love food and hate food shopping, prep and dishwashing, so an eggs, toast and coffee breakfast for $6.47 works as a daily habit. So, I walk all the way from my house or drive about six blocks and walk from there. Either way, I get at least two 20 minute walks. One going and one coming back.
The route I take is on Ethel Avenue which is up above the main drag - Miller Avenue - and in the trees and hills enough to make it easy to get some good exercise if you walk briskly on the downhill parts. The nature, including Redwoods along the way, is a major plus. And, hardly any cars drive on Ethel. It is really narrow so one car passing per walk would be above average.
The walking and breakfast combo would be great in and of itself. But, I add in a large ruled Moleskine notebook and daily entries to ratchet things up a notch. I date the entries something like: Dec 9 (1) Saturday. The parens around the 1 is really a circled 1 and I number the pages in an entry that way.
All my moleskine pages are numbered in spreads. One page number per spread of two pages. This hasn't really been of much use but sometimes I will refer to another entry and having a page number to refer to helps. Although, the date would also probably suffice. Whatever. I like having the page numbers just in case. I can see how far into the book I am.
Finally, what do I write? it varies. I have gotten into the habit of entering stock market index numbers, the crude oil price and value of the dollar. This might be a way to get into writing. It's easy. No thinking. And, I've found that the stock market's ups and downs affects my software sales, so it is of some interest. And the value of the dollar impacts foreign sales. It's fun. I usually read the business page while I'm there and those stats are available.
I also frequently enter short quotes or notes extracted from things I read in the papers there. The SF Chronicle is almost invariably available free. Sometimes you get a treat with the New York Times. I'll read a bit of that if there's something really good.
I also report on things I've done in the last 24 hours. Daily diary kinds of things but that's very short usually. The main goal of my writing is not to document my life, that's a secondary thing. I like to capture some of the highlights. Things of note. When traveling, I'll write more about what I've seen that day. Average days, I might write more about what work I've accomplished.
The big topics are (1) what do I need and/or want to do that day or soon, (2) my ideas and observations and (3) work ideas, observations, analyses which could be ideas on marketing my software or how to do something in software or a new feature I should add and (4) goals and wishes and possible future scenarios for my life.
My Moleskine is thus a thinking tool and way to keep my focus and advance my work (for pay and otherwise). It's almost like a listener. If you've ever wished you had two of you, this is one way to do it. I'm the reader/listener and the writer. Putting things down in writing lets me converse with myself I guess. It gives some distance. It's powerful.
As this post is getting quite long, I'll just say that on good days I write 6 to 8 pages and some days it is more like one. This writing-walking-breakfast thing is a major part of my life. It is wonderful. Perhaps if I didn't work at home it wouldn't be as desirable to get out somewhere everyday. Perhaps the conversational aspect of the writing wouldn't be so valuable.
I love it. It feels like a healthy and useful luxury and I hope I can always carve out a space in my schedule to do it. So far I've been doing it for close to a year and there's no end in sight.