I got my first 「マイブック」, an empty book published by 新潮文庫 that offers you a page a day to write your own story, notes and thoughts.
「マイブック」has the exact same appearance than any other book published by 新潮文庫. I like the beautiful cover and the paper that may not be the best support to use a fountain pen but undeniably gives authenticity to “my book”. The inside is not totally empty, it comes with a table of contents, each new month being a new chapter. You will find the date on each page and a ribbon mark (that fascinates my cat) makes it easy to use.
I bought 「マイブック」too late to write anything in January and, therefore, just started the day I got it. Writing a little every day is something that I want to do since high school but never did. Our ancient Greek teacher made us see the importance of writing every day, our own thoughts and the ones of others. Although taking notes when we read literature can be used for further inspiration, the idea was not as much to record things that could be useful later than improve ourselves through writing. When I understood that, it was an inspiring moment, but I have never been able to write regularly.
When seeing that writing in my own language is difficult, no surprise that writing in Japanese looks like a far-away ideal.
Will 「マイブック」help me write in Japanese on a daily basis?
Every time I failed to keep a dairy or any other form of notebooks, I blamed the support or the method. But of course, if you don’t go jogging every morning like you promised yourself you would, it is rarely your shoes’ fault.
Therefore, using「マイブック」will does not transform me into an assiduous writer but it somehow makes it easier.
First, as any other Japanese novel published by 新潮文庫 or other Japanese publishers, it is small and light, which makes it very easy to carry. I always thought of a diary as something that would be placed on one’s desk and opened once a day, before going to bed, to record the events of the day. Because it is so light and easy to carry, 「マイブック」opened new possibilities to me. Instead of writing at a given time every day and wonder what I should write about when facing the blank page, I simply open my book every time I want to write something, no matter the time of the day. Sometimes, my page is already full and the day has not even really started yet. Having a small and light notebook is a good way to make the best of inspired moments.
It’s easier to open your notebook when you want to write than wanting to write when you open your notebook.
A small size also has the advantage that I don’t feel under the pressure to write a lot. The paper quality is the same as most novels, very thin and most of the pens that I use will create ghosting on the reverse. Also, being a book and not a specialised notebook, it won’t lie completely flat and is not lined, making it hard to write straight or near the binding. The result is that I have given up any attempt to make it look nice. I almost see it as a draft of my day, my blog or my Japanese study. The advantage is that I can write and draw more freely without thinking of the result. It is not as much the contents that count that the act of writing, and, at the end, the physical object in itself will not have as much value as what it brought me.
Don’t try to make your notebook look pretty or clever, try to get better by using it.
Finally, Japanese books are one of the reasons why I learned Japanese. Of course, the main reason is that I wanted to read Japanese literature, but I have always liked the small size books that look so even and cute on a bookshelf and are so handy to carry about with you. I remember the first time I set foot in a Japanese bookshop (in Paris) and saw for the first time hundreds of these books piled or lined up. I think that this triggered my desire to learn Japanese, even though I concretised it only much later. It may sound strange, but those small books really fascinated me and I have always wanted to buy one. This is why I particularly appreciate that my notebook should be a “real” book!
I love 「マイブック」 because it is small, light, easy to carry and because it is an object that I have been eager to possess for a long time. For all these reasons, it does help me to write in Japanese every day, but of course, it will take some time before I can safely say that I got into the habit of writing on a daily basis. We will see, I will make updates of how I am doing on this blog or twitter!