New Moleskine Performance Anxiety

I’m sure I’m not alone here. You get a new Moleskine. But you just can’t bring yourself to start using it. It’s making that first mark that stops you. Once you’ve scribbled on that first page, you’ll be fine, but getting started is difficult.

It’s just another variation on stage fright, common causes of procrastination, and erectile disfunction disorder (I dread to think what ads we’re going to get on this page now).

I know I’m not alone, because there’s even been an Ask MetaFilter recently entitled Don’t let me ruin my Moleskine on the first day. Responses, of course, included the question…

Okay, so, I’m confused. I admit I’ve never owned a moleskine. But… aren’t they just very very nice notebooks? Why would you use them any way other than you’d use any notebook that wasn’t “disposable”? Seriously, can someone explain?

…which is a very reasonable point. But still. There’s something about starting a new Moleskine. Maybe it’s the fact that it cost you quite a bit of money, relative to most notebooks. Maybe it’s because it’s a really nice thing, until you start ruining it with your mindless scribbles. I think at least part of it is that you know you’re going to be carrying that little book around with you for a long time, and you really want that first page to look good. You know people will pick it up and start nosing through it, and this is going to be the first thing they’ll see. You don’t want it to be a shopping list that includes haemorrhoid cream and sanitary towels (oh no, the ads on this page are going to be bad). You don’t want it to be a drawing that goes a bit wrong, and you feel embarrased by later.

So, what can you do to get around it?

Well, a few tricks spring to mind…

  • Just do it. Just make yourself start. Something. Anything. Just stop worrying. Can be easier said than done, though.
  • Skip the first couple of pages, and start a few pages in. I always skip the first page anyway, because it’s stuck to the thick card page, and doesn’t open quite flat. I use that as an excuse to skip it, and start on the next.
  • Reserve the first page for contents. You’re not soiling the first page when you start, then, and the first page gets filled in later with nice predictable stuff.
  • Use pencil – you can always erase if you find you’re embarrased by that first page that way.
  • Pre-prepare the pages in some way. That way, you’ve already made your mark before you actually start on anything. Page numbers can be very useful later. I also like a margin marked on the right – the way I hold a pen makes it difficult to write too close to that edge anyway, so I reserve that space for notes about the page made later. I can always turn the page sideways on to write in there later.
  • Use the first page for a printed picture or favourite photo.

Any other tricks I’m missing? Or do you just not have the problem at all? Does this mean I’m going to become impotent later in life?

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