Brett Wright has always known he loves writing and creative activities as a kid. From painting rocks to keeping a diary of his thoughts, he had evolved throughout the years with analog and creative writing by his side. Although he started his degree in journalism, he soon found his aptitude and passion for publishing. Today, Brett works as a children’s book editor in New York City. To Brett, writing is a way to document thoughts and ideas that are important to him. When it comes to journaling, he believes that any moment is worth documenting. Life isn’t just made up of big achievements or significant milestones, but the life between the big moments is worth noting too.
“I usually want to capture the freshness, the emotion of the moment, when it’s still raw. Later I can refer to those feelings and write longer journal entries and, in a way, process or articulate them better. That’s always a way for me to absorb things more completely. That’s also why I prefer long-hand journaling more than doing it through a computer. Writing things down makes the writing feel like an extension of me.”
A few months before the pandemic in March 2020, Brett had just moved back to New York City. Just as most people experience a more reclusive lifestyle during quarantine and isolation, Brett also turned to analog to reflect and be more introspective about his thoughts.
Brett bought his first TRAVELER’S notebook when he was working in Los Angeles. At FLAX Pen to Paper, he found the regular size Camel TRAVELER’S notebook, the system enticing him through the community that shares this interest on Instagram. It wasn’t his first notebook system, he had dabbled in bullet journaling and planning in other books, but TRAVELER’S notebook was the one that stuck. Very quickly, he had also collected a TRAVELER’S notebook in Camel in passport size, and another in Black regular size. The compact size of TRAVELER’S notebook had encouraged him to continue daily journaling again.
“I use my TN for a little bit of everything. I always carry my passport size with me to quickly jot down notes, thoughts, and observations I have throughout my day. It fits so easily into a coat pocket or tote without taking up a lot of space — and I feel empty if I don’t have some sort of notebook and pen on me.”
Brett uses his black TRAVELER’S notebook for work. The diary refill with weekly dates and memos is used for scheduling and running to-do lists, while a graph grid refill is used for everyday notetaking. He keeps a separate insert to track manuscript submissions, which he constantly refers to in his setup. For Brett, it is crucial to have all his notes together in one place, but also have the division and structure to keep his work items organized. Brett dedicated his regular size Camel TRAVELER’S notebook for creative journaling, collages, and a playground for his writing projects. He particularly loves the 014 KRAFT refill.
“I still take a lot of freehand notes at work, and to have all the information in one place is life-saving. Before, when I’d reach for whatever notebook or a loose scrap of paper was around, I’d inevitably lose it. At the same time, there are so many ways to customize a TN for creativity, especially with inserts specifically for sketching, watercolor, and more. I particularly enjoy the Kraft paper inserts — I love browns, and by simply using a color other than white, I feel like I’m tricking my brain into being more creative; this isn’t just for writing, but for elevated creativity.”
Living in New York City, Brett never ran out of things to document. He enjoys walking around the city because it is both inspiring and therapeutic. There is always something to look at, and the diversity of the city is what inspires him in his writing. Although the city is fast-paced, there is a culture of digital defiance where people pause to read and write in cafés. To Brett, it is interesting to observe people going about their lives in different and simple ways. That is why he always keeps his passport size TRAVELER’S notebook in his coat pocket. It may be one of his messiest notebooks, but it serves a practical purpose. Whether it is to jot down the name of a restaurant he wants to try next time, an image he wants to work into his writing, or an overheard conversation, the notebook is there to capture those thoughts.
“If I don’t write down what I’m feeling or what I’m thinking, I’ll miss something like a good line or a good thought I can apply later. I’m the kind of writer who likes to go back and read what I write. I find that helpful because as an editor and writer, you can run into those blocks, and revisiting those pages help me figure out how to move forward with the story. I’m a big believer in examining life. Socrates said ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’”
Like Brett, a lot of us aspire to become better writers but do not necessarily know where to start beyond listing out things that we accomplished. We ask Brett for advice on how to stay creative and be more elaborate in our journaling practice. Brett shares that the point of writing is to find our voice. Just by practicing writing, you start to pick up on things you may not have noticed before. Allow yourself to be as open and honest as possible. Just like Brett, you can start by collecting those fleeting thoughts and emotions in a passport size TRAVELER’S notebook throughout the day. You can also go back to your old pages and revisit memories and thoughts from the past. When you are ready to sit down and write, you can refer to them and elaborate on those thoughts.
We ask Brett what is one word that embodies the spirit of TRAVELER’S notebook. His answer is “limitless”. To him, TRAVELER’S notebook is very versatile and has a lot to offer.
“From bullet journaling to personal writing to papercraft and illustrating, you’re only bound by your own imagination. And the commitment is relatively low: if you end up not loving the way you’re using an insert, you can always replace it with a new one and use the old one for something else. There’s beauty in watching the cover age with use and knowing you’ve carried it with you through so many adventures. That’s not always the case with other notebooks and systems. But with TN, I love the security and consistency of having my regular, go-to notebooks.”
Whether you are an aspiring author or want to be more intentional with writing in your TRAVELER’S notebook, we hope you enjoy reading about Brett’s journey and how he uses TRAVELER’S notebook. You don’t have to limit yourself to only documenting special occasions or big trips—small moments in your everyday life can be just as valuable to remember. We hope Brett’s story can encourage you to start writing in your TRAVELER’S notebook too!
Have a nice trip!
Brett Wright – Author and editor
Based in New York City, Brett Wright works as an editor for children’s book publishing. Originally from Northwest Pennsylvania, he attended college in Boston, where he earned his BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing. He is also the author of the satirical Shakespeare retellings for young readers, “YOLO JULIET” and “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT #NOFILTER”. Besides reading and writing, Brett enjoys watercolor painting, photography, knitting, and generally creating anything with his hands. You can find Brett on Instagram at @brettjwright