Stripy notebook syndrome . . . or why you don't need a beret
Like most writers, over the years I've developed certain work habits that help me keep writing. Overall, this is a good thing, humans seem to mostly need structures and habits to help any long-term activity like writing a book. But the downside of some of these habits is when you become convinced that you can't work any other way.
A case in point is my early technique of writing a chapter longhand first and then typing up the handwritten material on a computer. For some reason the notebooks I started with were cheap black and red hardbound journals. In the picture here you can see some 15 or so of them, which contain the manuscript of LIRAEL. But at some point there was a terrible stationery drought and I couldn't find any red and black notebooks to buy. For a short period I went through a mental process that was something along the lines of "no black and red notebooks. I can't write in anything else. I can't write any more." Then I slapped myself in the head and purchased the first notebook that came to hand, a blue and grey striped book. And lo and behold, I could write in that just as well as I could in the black and red notebooks. Or on scraps of paper. Or, as it turned out, without handwriting first at all.
So not only did I not need a black and red notebook, I didn't need a favourite pen, a beret, a garret, or a special time when everything was quiet and the moon was full. There are always reasons not to write, but in order to do it successfully, you have to ignore them. Buy the stripy notebook or not. Handwrite, type, dictate, whatever works. Be prepared to change old habits or learn new ones. There are a multitude of different ways to write.