August Notebook Challenge: Everything Goes Composition

I hope this August started off well for everyone, and that you’re all enjoying the weekend outside. (My neighbor’s definitely are. I’m watching their driveway tennis match as I write this.) Well, for many of us this month marks the beginning of the school year, and the begrudging farewell to summer break. Luckily, I still have another month! So, do you think me stupid for giving myself some homework? (Okay, maybe insane, more than stupid.)

August always reminds me of high school, and especially of a few writing courses I took in the college across the street. My professor was post-modernist poet Catherine Webster, and I’d be lying if I said she wasn’t a little strange. I loved her classes, and since this was still in the early 2000s, many high schools in my area were exposed to the whole Freedom Writers movement. Ms. Webster then thought it only right that we do a similar project, and so, handed all of us our very own composition notebooks. (We even sent the finished anthology to the foundation.) Sadly, Ms. Webster passed away a few years ago, may she rest in peace. Now, every time I see a composition notebook (or Moleskine, since she gave me my first one . . . which I still have), I think of her and of the pure excitement and fun my classmates and I had working on them, and working together to complete our collaborative anthology. Because of this professor, I can honestly say that high school wasn’t so bad. And don’t get me wrong, I’m as socially awkward as they come, and even now I still find it hard to be in large groups of people, let alone talk to people one-on-one.

And so, to shorten this increasingly long post, I meant to let you all know that I will be challenging myself this month. By its end, I hope to have completed an entire composition notebook, and I invite you all to join me as well. (Why the hell not, right?) I plan to use it as a personal journal, and fill it with thoughts, ideas, transcriptions of songs and poems, original works, collages, drawings, notes, lists, and whatever else comes to mind. Not only is this a great way to get the creative motor running every morning, but it’s a great therapy. Composition books are cheap and readily available, and so there’s no fear of ruining the paper. After all, it isn’t a PaperBlanks, Moleskine, Rhodia, or any other more expensive notebook.

I plan to keep you updated on my progress, and if anyone else wishes to join (Please do! It’s not as bad as it sounds, I swear!), please let me know so I can follow you. If you have a blog, or some kinds of social media to follow, send me a link. It’s never too late.

Well, have a great night guys. Here’s a picture of my cover page to send you off.




13 thoughts on “August Notebook Challenge: Everything Goes Composition”

      1. On my blog, of course. Where else were you thinking? I have never journaled and likely will not start now. It’s all I can do to keep up with the blog. I just find it near impossible to write and throw little quickies out there.

      2. Oh and here I was thinking you’d join me in the challenge haha. Well, it’s great that you get something online at all. Journaling is fun but not for everyone. 🙂

      3. Like your collages, I often go online to find graphics or photos for my posts. I like giving the posts a magazine look. It’s very difficult to do. I don’t know if it is WordPress or the Rusty Grunge theme but it’s not like working in MS Publisher or Word where you can more easily move things about in text or object boxes. Unless there is something I am unaware of, it is a very cumbersome process composing the text and images on the page. Even in “distraction free” editing you don’t get wsywig. It’s close, but you still have to return to the edit page to preview the post as it will appear. It’s becomes three screens and 4 or 5 key strokes to take a look, and that for each change you make if you are trying to set spacing around an image. Between writing, searching for images, attributing, composing, reediting and proofing, I will have 8-10 hours or better in a 2500 word post. I take my writing very seriously, even the lighter stuff.

        I tried previewing a new theme and it reformatted the composition so I was afraid to try it. I didn’t want to have to go in and “fix” all the past posts. I need a new theme because I don’t like the way this one gets too narrow as the replies are subjected to hierarchy by the time line. You end of with one of two word columns. I usually tell commentors to feel free to start a new thread. If you have any ideas of a suitable theme, let me know. I would like to add an image to the header if I can do it in that theme. I just have to shoot one or find one.

      4. It’s amazing how much work you put in your writing, very admirable:). I also do the same, and understand the dilemma with the different themes. I thought of trying out a new one for my mail blog and at first, it was frustrating having to reorganize the widgets and overall set-up again because either the theme didn’t allow for a specific design, or because certain text boxes were deleted. Being coding deficient, I had to relearn the codes all over again. I like the theme 21 (or, something around this), which makes it easy to organize my social networks, widgets, and such. The magazine style makes it more serious, and I love how the headers look. I take the photos for all of mine, and then (if you’re a Mac user) use Fotor to crop, edit and add text to them.

      5. Nope. PC guy. Not against Mac, just have a lot of software tied to it. I do need to upgrade my OS from XP though so it may be time to switch. I am also a desktop/tower kind of guy. Not much tinkering you can do inside a notebook if you want to increase RAM or change drives or sound cards. I would also want a stand-alone keyboard. I can’t imagine doing what I do on a laptop keyboard or touch screen w/o a mouse. Iphone users think touch is so neat but not if you are a touch typist at a desk, your really don’t want to take your hands from off the tech pool of keyboard/mouse to reach out and touch a screen. I suppose if you got used to it one might prefer it over a mouse for a lot of things though. Do you really read my blog that much. You don’t seem to fit my demographic is what I mean by that.

        I don’t know that much about HTML but it got a book recently and when I did my About Me in the sidebar, I didn’t use their help, I wrote my own HTML link to my About page. I was really thrilled when it worked first time. I need to come up with a suitable header now if my theme allows it.

        El anciano

      6. My sister is my personal tech support I must say. I prefer my laptop and tablet because I like keeping things compact and easily transportable. However, one thing I do miss about the tower PCs is the larger screen. I use my sister’s PC when I have the time to sit down for long periods of time, though I do find using a mouse slightly awkward. HTML can also be quite tricky, I learned from online tutorials because the books I have, and my sister has, just bore me. (So much for a child of the 21st century, right?) I also don’t like the new Windows OS, though the last one I officially used was VIsta, which I hated because of the glitches it had. Though, I do want to get a separate monitor of my own so I can use the adaptor I have, and this way have two windows for multitasking. I used to do this with an old monitor, but it was taken away by its owner recently and now I’m stuck only one screen. I must also admit that aside from uploading the occasional post, I have not been reading other’s posts for some time now. I don’t have the time for this because of work and other other projects and tasks (and in fact, I’m in the process of looking for another job). Your blog is not something I would traditionally read, I will say, but who knows, maybe in the future there will be a post that catches my attention. I also find it interesting that you refer to yourself as “el anciano”. Come on man, you’re not old till you kick it! Is what I say. 🙂

  1. That’s an inspiring challenge! Composition notebooks always remind me of when I would use them as “spy notebooks” as a kid, I think I went through a Harriet the Spy phase and would just do some major creeping on all my neighbors.

    1. Thanks! You should try out the challenge, see how far you get. And, you should name the notebook Harriet the Spy! That would be so awesome, relive your childhood and even go into places you couldn’t as a kid.

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