Sunday, October 19, 2014

Habits: how I keep my letter log

Letter log received: Always the same pen and ink

I am a creature of habit, and when I find one I like and that serves me well, I am pretty good at sticking with it. So I have kept the same letter log habit for many years, and I was reflecting upon it this morning so I thought I'd share my thoughts.

I've blogged before about how I keep my letter log, and that has evolved over the years so you can sort of see that evolution in those blog posts, but I explained my method in great detail in my 2011: a year in mail post.

Not much has changed since then: I still log all my mail in a small black Rhodia Webnotebook (I have many volumes of them at this point!), and log all received items using a Pilot Varsity fountain pen refilled with Noodler's Heart of Darkness ink. I love this method. It is an immediate visual differentiation between sent and received, and I can page through and see the received immediately because I always use this blacker-than-black ink in the same pen with generous flow for the task. (I should note that the Pilot Varsity is a disposable fountain pen, not technically made to be easily refillable but it's quite simple to pull it apart and refill it with whatever ink you like - I explain that a bit in this post - and the pens do eventually die or wear out, but it's just a few bucks to replace with a new one, and their quality control is quite high so it feels just like the same pen.) Above you can see my current letter log, with the Pilot Varsity and that lovely very-black Noodler's Heart of Darkness ink. The letter opener just helps to hold the book open for the photo, but it is always close at hand when I'm logging my mail.

Letter log sent: ink used in letter

I log all sent items in whatever ink I used last for the body of the letter or the postcard, so there is quite a colorful variety there. I don't often use the Noodler's Heart of Darkness for the body of a letter, so it doesn't create any visual confusion in the letter log.

The letters P or L indicate a postcard or a letter, and the numbers indicate how many I've sent that month. It helps me count for my own statistics, which I don't really do much with except note with curiosity how each month varies. I used to post my mail stats on this blog, but it felt too competitive, either with myself or with others, and that is not the point of my enjoyment of mail or this blog, so I discontinued the stat-posting.

I have thought about making a searchable Excel spreadsheet with this information; it would certainly help me find something quickly when I need to look it up. Ultimately, though, I come back to the conclusion that my mail habits are to slow down and get me away from the computer, and every time I've needed to find something in the letter log, I've been able to do so.

So, for now anyway, I'm sticking to my pen and ink habits.

What about you? How do you keep track of your mail?