I think I prefer ring-binder style notebooks to ones with firm spines. It's just such a pain writing on the side with the least pages because you have to try and smooth the centre of the notebook down and it's nearly impossible with a firm spine. With ring-binder style it's easy! Just turn it right the way round and BAM!, flat surface no matter which page.
I suppose it's a fair question to pose: "Why use paper at all?" I'm a tech fan and can comfortably sit in front of a screen for many a minute. And there's no shortage of "distraction free" writing apps, Uberwriter and Focuswriter to name-drop my faves, but nothing can ever be completely distraction free. There's always something else one could be doing at any given second. Even in a sealed, white room with nothing but a pencil and a notebook (ideally ring-binder style) I know I'd find some way to lose my focus. I'd probably extract all of my belly-button fluff, use the raw materials to craft miniature figures and re-enact my favourite episode of Friends, but make Ross more likeable.
In an effort to try and limit distractions, I often attempt to fool my brain into thinking that certain items are only to be used for certain tasks. For example, I have one notebook that's for studying Japanese. Nothing else can be written therein. When that tome lays a-spread, it be time to benkyo that there nihongo. Similarly I only use certain clothes and shoes for working out. This may sound obvious, but even on hot sunny days when the only clean leg-wear up for doning is some thick heavy jeans and my sporty-sportsman shorty-shorts, I'll go with jeans. Because them shorts are for them sports. And when they're on, it's go time! (for about 10-30 minutes, after which it's shower time, followed by nap time and subsequently ache time.)
Are shoes clothes? I suppose I could Google it (or "duck it" ...) but I'm using my "Creative Writing" notebook (firm spine, sad-face-emoji) and, being a retro notepad, it does not come with WiFi capability. I suppose I could get something like a Raspberry Pi and install such functionality, but instead of doing that I'd rather just make wild, crazy assumptions. Like; "shoes are basically reverse hats".
I know a lot of people like to have "background" while they do stuff. For some it's music, others TV. For me it really depends on what I'm doing. If I'm playing a game that doesn't have a huge amount of story or atmosphere, such as Football Manager or Civilization, then I really enjoy having some fun action sci-fi show playing on another screen. Star Trek and Twilight Zone are particular favourites. When it comes to doing something that requires minimal brain activity like surfing the web, shopping for Christmas presents, or reading Ready Player One, I like a bit of music. However, I will require somewhere between 10 and 60 minutes to decide on what to actually listen to.
For creative or thoughtful work I require a certain sweet spot somewhere between total silence and brutal cacophony. A busy office works quite well. I wonder if a zoo would work too, but I'm not sure how well I can deal with all the pointing and oggling. Guess I don't have to have my own cage, but only chumps share.
While growing up (physically) I always wanted to be creative. I wanted to make stories. Create heroes. Battle villains. Bring forth tears. Tickle out laughs. Despite starting 1001 projects all along those lines, it's my lack of focus that's been my ultimate handicap. Because if you don't focus on what you're doing then it doesn't get done. At least not fully, completely.
Or, it's because one doesn't have the right equipment.
And that's why I'll be buying a new, ring-binder style notebook ASAP, so I can finally focus ...
(Maybe I'll get a new pencil too ...)