'New' writing folder - an old Deskfax!

My 'new' writing folder
I know many people can write straight into their laptop, but I'm more analogue than that! I need to make notes (LOTS of notes!) on paper first.

I'm a big-notebook person, I can't lie. I may manage to use small notebooks for shopping lists and to-do lists, but when I'm writing, even A5 feels small. That said, A4 can feel a bit on the big side, especially if I'm writing while travelling. And what size lies between A5 and A4...? B5

B5 is 176 x 250mm (or approximately 7 x 10 inches; A4 for comparison, is 210 x 297mm or 8.3 x 11.7 inches). For me, it's big enough for taking a decent set of notes, but not so big it entirely fills my handbag with no space for anything else.

The B paper sizes aren't common in the UK. I think they are more commonly used in Japan, and certainly the majority of B5 or B6 notebooks that I have are Japanese. (B6 is, as you may have guessed, halfway between A6 and A5). Japanese stationery is almost invariably excellent - lovely to write on and fountain-pen proof (essential for me).

So, what is this 'new' writing folder?

Well, it's not actually new. It's been made out of an old Deskfax, which I think dates back about 25-30 years. A Deskfax is a short-lived version of Filofax, with 9 rings instead of 6 (three sets of three). I'm not a fan of ring binders for writing (tried it a few years ago, thinking it would be great, but it wasn't), but I am a fan of Traveller's Notebooks and the idea of keeping notebooks together in one cover.

To buy a cover to hold B5 size notebooks would be expensive, especially if I wanted to have any pockets or anything inside, to keep pens or Post It notes. But, I knew that the Filofax Deskfaxes were the right size. So... I had a look on eBay, found a battered old Deskfax for sale and bought it. Then my husband helped me to remove the rings, I put elastics in it to hold notebooks, and gave it a good polish so it didn't look quite so lived in.

This is what it looked like when I got it:

A bit scuffed and scruffy
But the interior layout is why I wanted it for a writing folder (click on the picture to make it bigger):

Even I recognise that B5 notebooks aren't small and so the idea of carrying them around may well not appeal to anyone other than me. But since there are these extra features in the cover, it's actually all I would need to take with me on a writing trip. I could pop a couple of bank cards in the slots, along with some business cards; some money in the zipped pocket; two pens; some Post Its... if I needed other things, they could probably go in the zipped pocket too. The 'floppy disk pocket' could probably double as a phone pocket, to be honest. Pretty much everything, all in one place.

I've punched three holes in the spine, top and bottom, and put elastics in it so that I can carry four notebooks in the cover. I could actually put four slim notebooks on the elastics and also put the back cover of a thicker notebook into the slip pocket in the back cover, though that would make it very chunky.

I tend to use slim notebooks (60-80 pages) for initial thoughts and when I'm noodling around, working out which of the myriad of ideas buzzing around my head might actually have enough legs to make it to being a book. Once I've decided on an idea, a bigger notebook is called for, but even then, I sometimes put one type of notes in a separate notebook to make finding them easier (plot notes; location notes etc.).

For less than £14, I'm pretty pleased with it and will be road-testing it today as I head down on the train to a writing event.

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