The Best Twenty Dollars You’ll Spend All Year

I’m writing this from Lucca, Italy on the first leg of my Italy/Switzerland adventure.

leather bound notebook

Spark Your Creativity With A Leather-bound Notebook That Fits Your Personality.

I’ve learned a handful of things that make Europe unique, but I will save that for my next blog post.

This time I’m going to talk about a simple product I purchased in Florence that I would recommend to anyone: a leather-bound writing booklet.

I’ve always maintained a journal for sporadic inspirations, however one thing has changed from the plastic green, college ruled spiral notebook that I used before to the golden brown, handcrafted leather book, adorned with an iris on the front:

I am excited to write in it.

Over the past three days I have not been able to put the darn thing down and I think I know why:

A connection with royalty

I’m sure great writers of the past used notebooks more similar to this and it invokes a feeling that transcends time. Instead of bringing me back to my high school days with a steel bound spiral notebook, I can imagine that I too am navigating uncharted waters of literature with the greats.

It’s durable

Whenever I place my green spiral notebook in a backpack, the cover edges fray, my pages stain yellow and black and the metal spiral seems to slowly wind itself out of the little holes. Now I’m pretty sure I could stab this new leather book with a knife a few times and have trouble making a mark.

It sparks creativity

My new notebook displays a delicately drawn map of Italy, a finely carved iris and soft cut ridges. These details transport me to a different world every time I open the book. I don’t necessarily need to be moved to the world in which I am writing about, but that simple jolt at the beginning of my writing process allows my mind to sink into a different state, causing the words to flow nicely.

Yes, I understand the idea of a writer carrying a notebook isn’t an innovative idea, however I believe there are plenty of writers who could benefit from a change in the type of notebook they use to draft and create. After all, your local Wal-mart or Staples won’t carry the type of notebook I’m talking about, so why would anyone have them nowadays.

So take some time to explore the internet, decide on a leather-bound notebook that offers a design that calls out to your own creativity and get to writing. Don’t be boring either! Writing requires flare and uncertainty.

Show your colors and bring out your personality in every aspect of your life.

Let me know in the comments if you have a similar notebook or if you plan on getting one.

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About Joe Warnimont

I am a writer, marketing expert and adventure seeker. I help people write, market their writing, live truthfully and embrace their lives through creativity. You can find me riding my bike around the streets of Chicago. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.


  1. I love journals. I have different sizes of journals because I tend to collect them. My handwriting is not what it used to be (well, it always was fairly indecipherable), but since I’ve been blogging, I’ve actually been using my journals more. Sometimes it’s just to jot down ideas when I don’t have my iPad handy. Or I do have my iPad handy, yet it feels more permanent to write my thoughts down in a journal. And sometimes I feel more creative when I’m writing longhand, especially a poem. Right now my favorite journals are Moleskein but I have quite a few of Levengers sitting around, waiting to be filled. Nice post 🙂

  2. dover whitecliff says:

    Great edition to the blog! Hope you have an awesome time in Italy. I find I am the opposite for writing. I have several beautiful notebooks like the one you describe (which sounds gorgeous by the way), but for me, I hold them for the memories they bring me (one from an exchange student trip to Wiesbaden Germany, several from very good friends). I can’t bring myself to mar their intrinsic beauty with my chicken scratch.

    Instead, what allows me to write is the most butt -ugly notebook I can find. Not dirty or stained, but something hot pink or slap you in the eyeballs orange, that I normally wouldn’t have on my desk. The pages need to be rip out spiral or perforated. What this lets me do is spit out words and get them on to the page without feeling the need to be perfect. The notebook gives me permission to fight through writers block with drivel until I can put the scene I see in my head on paper.

  3. Lucky you! I love Italy. I bought a leather journal in Florence as well. The cover of mine is less ornate than yours, but a leather book is so nice to write in.

    • Hi Joe,

      Enjoy your travels! I have a leather bound notebook, with beautiful pages, but I have been scared of using such a lovely book. What words could I enter to do it justice? But you have changed my mind. It has been sitting in a cupboard for years, I take it out occasionally and run my hands over the cover, then put it back. Today, I am going to write something in it! Thank you

    • Italy was quite an experience Allen. I think everyone should go there at least once in their life. I’m glad to hear you found a nice notebook there as well!

  4. I always have a British import Black and Red which I use for dreams and thinking hard stuff out. This is large, British legal sized. I have a collection of these in my closet, filled with writings and also souvenirs, which I keep clipped to the hardboard cover.
    I have a smaller fancy leather bound book that I keep next to my bed for sudden inspirations.
    I have a tiny red notebook that I carry around for notes or cartoons if I get bored.

  5. I love an inspirational journal. My aunt recently died, and my cousin gave me a beautiful medieval looking journal as a thank you for taking the time to be with her family. I’m sometimes hard-pressed to pick a journal when I shop for one, there are so many interesting looking ones available now. Have you seen the “decomposition” notebooks? They’re a sweet take on the old black and white marble composition one we all grew up with, except these are made from recycled paper and come in a range of colors with a beautiful graphic on the cover square and inside as well. Happy writing and happy trails!

  6. My leather journal is always by my side wherever I travel. Currently, I am reaching the end and need to procure a new one. I was in Italy last month (Rome, Multepuciano, and Venice). The journals I saw were priced at 50 euros or more. You found a good deal in Florence! Is yours a refillable journal?

    • I have handmade photograph albums, boxes and files dating from my teaching days in Florence and Roveretto (near Trento and Verona) in the 1980s. All works of art but still in use and as beautiful as they were then. A thing of beauty is truly a joy for ever.

  7. Hi Joe,
    thanks for your word of wisdom. I am going to Europe for a month in September, so I will definitely buy a leather bound journal to record my adventures and inspirations. If nothing else it will be a lovely memory to keep of a great trip. Thanks, Kylie

  8. I love journals and have a large collection, but my favorite is a handcrafted, leather-bound beauty with handmade pages and a leather tie closure–a gift from my writer’s group. I enjoy it so much I’ve taken my time writing in it ’cause I don’t want to use it up too soon! d:)

  9. Thanks for the follow and liking my post. Do tell me what you liked in it and felt worthy to follow.

  10. I don’t own such a gorgeous notebook, but I’m a big fan of notebooks. I used them as journals for many years when I was a kid and a teenager. Now I carry one with me at all times. Just in case. During power outages, notebooks come in handy. And once in a while, just some good old handwriting is all we need to write a better sentence.
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful notebook, Joe.

  11. Hi Joe,
    thanks for your word of wisdom. I am going to Europe for a month in September, so I will definitely buy a leather bound journal to record my adventures and inspirations. If nothing else it will be a lovely memory to keep of a great trip. Thanks, Kylie

  12. Sadly, I sometimes think that’s what I’m missing in my writing. I haven’t written anything in a notebook since the time I finished the first draft of my second manuscript, around 10 years ago. Oh, I did some exercises in college, and they were beneficial to my writing; otherwise, I do most my writing on a computer now. It gets kind of…sterile, I guess, after a while. I should probably get back into that practice.

  13. Oh, and thanks for vising my blog!

  14. Wow, first post I read of yours and it absolutely resonates- when I was thirteen, in Florence for the first time and swooning in love with it, I bought a leather-bound notebook which to this day I have not fully filled because it feels like such a holy, precious object. When I was in India this past summer I saw a vendor selling them and I itched to buy one, and I regretted not doing it!

  15. I received a bound book upon graduating from high school. I didn’t use it until I traveled to the Balkans, and since then I have become addicted to writing on its compact, high quality page. I feel fancy, and in feeling fancy I feel creative. Yours is beautiful. Happy writing!

  16. Hi. With such a kind of notebook, I probably would not even dare write a period. Haha. It is just so beautiful I think I’ll ruin its beauty if I jot down my sporadic thoughts or even my final drafts.

    But I really like how it inspires you. Maybe it will make some good writers. But I think it will not do for me. Haha

    Take care always.

  17. BTW, how do I follow your post using my WordPress blog? Do you know how?


  18. BTW, how do I follow your posts using my WordPress blog? Do you know how?


  19. While I relate to this post, I admit that my excitement about technology makes my iTouch my bedside, roadside and finger-tip notebook now. I have written whole outlines lying in bed, quickly capturing my thoughts on the yellow lined note app, in Comic Sans! During Screen Free Week, I wrote this post on a personal blog, trying to communicate the magic I feel when I take advantage of modern technology to write.
    In a way, I think this must be close to how you feel about your leather journal. It takes you out of the common and into the rare. Remember, I’m 60 years old, and wrote in notebooks all my life. It is a TREAT for me to now have the electronic tech we dreamed would be the hallmark of the 21st century.

  20. A few years back I sat down to do NaNoWriMo– but I didn’t start until the last week of november. Armed with only a beautifully handmade journal composed of green and creme recycled paper and a pen, I managed to write 16k words in two days. It was painful and exhilarating and I would never have written so much without that notebook. There is something about the visceral act of writing in a real notebook to keep the words flowing.

  21. I take all sorts of journals and recover them with my favorite papers before using them. It is fun to look at some of my old journals and when I see some of the covers. I think that boy was I dark at that time, or wow I was really exploring out of the box things as that paper does not say me at all. Sometimes I will paste in some things on a page that provide reinforcement, inspiration, or contradiction to my cover. I love having an in progress journal that can capture all sorts of ideas and things.

  22. Hi Joe,
    If you need any tips on what to visit in Switzerland, give me a shout 🙂 I live in the french part near the lake of Geneva.
    Enjoy your European adventure and I think writing a journal is a wicked idea!
    Take care

  23. yes, of course. you may have suffered thru’ my “alongside kerouac” (hitchin’ chronicles) — during which the leather-bound notes-book was indispensible. as well as other (mis) adventures …

    still have … well, not “it” but a later reincarnation of same. ready, in case …

  24. I have two notebook applications on my iPad that I have to learn to use….soon.

    • Let me know how it goes Yige. I have a notebook app on my Kindle Fire, but I never use it. I usually stick to my desktop notepad or physical notepad.

  25. I’ve been needing such a notebook…just have been too busy writing to get one!! Really enjoyed this post bc I’ve been in the market for such a notebook. You spoke to what I’ve known but have been poo-poohing. That I deserve a classy bk like this.

  26. Hi Joe,
    It was great to read this post! I have all sorts of notepads, notebooks, scraps of paper, etc. just floating around my space at home and work. I decided to put 100% effort into making my writing a career rather than a hobby, and my first thought was that as long as my notes and ideas were disjointed and scattered, my writing would be that way as well. I made a trip to Barnes and Noble, and spent about 30 minutes browsing through the journals, picking them up, feeling the weight and texture and even inhaling the scent of the leather, paper and inks. My 13-year-old son was anxious to get to the sporting goods store, so he asked me what was taking so long. “Just pick one,” he sort of growled to me. I told him I couldn’t just pick one and buy it, I had to find the one that spoke to me and seemed like it wanted to hear my words. Of course, he just rolled his eyes, sighed heavily and headed to Starbucks for a frappuccino while, in his opinion, I slowly lost my mind in the stacks. It took a while, but it worked! I have a beautiful, leather bound book that makes me excited to get my thoughts out of my head. It’s almost like I can hear it quietly calling to me and encouraging me to succeed!
    Thanks for all your inspiration and mentoring!