Author: Helen Cox

Helen Cox is a UK author. She made her on-screen debut in The Krankies in 1990. Given the choice, her Mastermind topic would be Grease 2 and when someone asks her if she is a god she says 'yes.' Oh, you want to know about her books? Best click some of the links below.

My Notebook Habit


If you’re sat there reading this and thinking: that doesn’t look so bad, you should know this is but a small selection of the notebooks I’ve collected over the years.

I know I’m not alone in my addiction as fellow author Sam Carrington recently expressed a similar affliction but my case is pretty severe. When we move house, I try and trick my husband into thinking I’ve got fewer notebooks than I really have by decanting them into several boxes, hiding them under my Star Wars collectors cards, my Die Hard DVD box set and other important knick-knacks. Of course, when it comes down to it, I’m only really fooling myself.

Like any addict, I try to make light of the condition, often joking that I do my teaching work to keep me in notebooks and blue mascara. Only problem is, it’s not really that much of a joke…

snail andrew dean and notebooks

It’s not entirely my fault. Firstly, a lot of my notebooks are gifts from well-meaning friends, family members and penpals who don’t realise the true extent of my condition. Secondly, well, look at that cute notebook just sitting there. Spiral bound. Modeled on a vintage typewriter. Nothing in the world should be that adorable. How am I supposed to resist?

snail andrew dean and notebooks1

I wish I could tell you this was a picture of ALL the map-themed notebooks I own, but there are more. The tiny one has a special place in my heart because I took it with me on my honeymoon to New York State and started writing down observations for my first novel.

As always, I packed three or four notebooks on that trip and wound up using the most portable one almost exclusively. It was a brutally hot summer and I couldn’t be fussed schlepping the heavier notebooks I’d brought along (also adorned in maps) around Manhattan.

snail andrew dean and notebooks2

These are the notebooks I use for writing day-to-day. Why do I need four? I’m glad you asked.

The dog notebook is pocket-sized and thus used for random thoughts, notes or observations that come to me wherever I am. I largely wear skirts with hidden pockets stitched in so I can reach for it without having to delve into the depths of my black hole-like handbag.

The big, leather-bound affair was an anniversary gift and sits on my bedside table. In there, I reflect on my writing or pen little segments that’ll probably never make it into the novel from the viewpoint of different characters. Helps me get under their skin.

I have a lot of penpals that send me cool stickers, because I’m so grown up like that, and the favourites make it into the inside cover of my writing journal.

The notebook with the prim-looking lady on it is exclusively for notes on my second novel. I use it on bus and train journeys mostly, plotting out how different scenes are going to work and realistically how the characters might react to each other and why.

The turquoise notebook with all the post-its in the front is my travel notebook. I use it when I go on research trips. It’s easier than wading through my other notebooks looking for particular excursions, meaning I can add texture to my stories in a quick and orderly fashion. Well, as quick and orderly as I do anything.



My friends were not surprised when they learnt my first novel was set in a diner. Eating and drinking rank high on my list of fun things to do, and I have a particular obsession with Diet Coke. You don’t need to know all the details here, but let’s just say that when a bartender asks if Pepsi is OK, I have a rather tart habit of asking if Monopoly money is OK when I pay the bill.

The notebook pictured above fuses two of my obsessions. It had to be added to the collection.



The first two notebooks above are more examples from my pocket-sized collection. The tape cassette design taps into my love for anything retro and the second is a nod to the fact that I have a penchant for guys in glasses, and love geeks in general. A point my Doctor Who-loving husband is pretty pleased about.

The second two were sent to me by Jocelyn Reading as part of a #BringBackPaper stationery swap she’s running through her most excellent blog. I love the childish, scribbly clouds on the first one and the minimalist stripes on the second. I’m not sure I’ll actually fill it with dreams, but it’s a lovely thought going in.


I picked up these American-style composition books in discount shops. I definitely don’t spend time running my fingers around the curved edges when I’m thinking about something deeply. That would be weird.

I hope you enjoyed learning more than you needed to know about my notebook habit. If you’re alarmed by it, let me help you put it in perspective: I could collect beer mats.


7 comments on “My Notebook Habit

  1. brontespageturners
    April 17, 2016

    I lived vicariously through this post as I read it! Bronte


  2. Wow! You’ve upped the ante here, Helen! Those are some seriously divine notebooks… I’m off shopping 🙂


    • Helen
      April 17, 2016

      Haha. Sure. That was the point of this post. To encourage you to buy more notebooks 😉


  3. thereadingresidence
    April 17, 2016

    I’m not alarmed at all. Seems perfectly normal to me. And now I want many of your notebooks!!!


    • Helen
      April 17, 2016

      Haha. I’m suddenly feeling like a VERY bad influence 🙂


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This entry was posted on April 17, 2016 by in Author Blog and tagged , , , , , .
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