Dianna’s office bookshelf with notebooks © Dianna Huff

“I had a dream about you last night,” said our web designer Rachel Cunliffe. “You planned a trip to Iceland, or Greenland, or someplace like that, and you had everything organized in your notebook. You were so precise about everything. Then I woke up.”

Trip planning via a notebook . . . yep, that would be me. I laughed and told her that when I die, my son will have to cull through my dozens of notebooks and will come away thinking, “My mother was a complete nutcase.” 😀

The header image is a photo of one of my bookshelves, which is in my office closet, showing some of my notebooks and my archived Planners. I have more — notebooks, that is — and tons more books; I’m a voracious reader. I often put myself on book buying moratoriums. It’s really bad, or good, depending on your perspective.

Being a daily writer, however, is how I’ve created the life and business I’ve always wanted.

Behind the scenes . . .

To research my Keep It Made USA write up about C.J. Bates, the company that used to make crochet hooks and knitting needles, I made a day trip to Chester, CT. Unfortunately, it was the Presidents Day holiday, and the Historical Society was closed.

I sat in the local cafe and began writing the notes of what I had learned, which wasn’t a whole lot. See the left side of the notebook page. In my notes, I wrote “call the historical society.”

My notes from the C.J. Bates field trip – © Dianna Huff

Finishing my lunch, I decided to walk the small village and get a feel for it.

I came upon a woman sitting on her front porch; she called out “Hello!” and in that instant, I could hear my intuition saying (ok yelling!), “ASK HER! Ask her about the C.J. Bates factory.”

I did, and guess what? She turned out to be Cary Hull, the Director of the Historical Society. She said, “Let’s go do a tour.” She got up, locked her front door, and off we went. Her house was a short walk over from the Historical Society.

You can see my some of my notes from the amazing tour on the right side of the page in the notebook image above. Who knew a small village nestled on the CT River used to be the crocket hook and knitting needle capital of the world!

Once the tour was completed, she pointed the way to the old factory, now a theater. Read my post, and view the photos: Gone, But Not Forgotten: C.J. Bates — Manufacturers of Crochet Hooks.

I will never forget that day. It’s when I knew for sure my calling is to tell the story of small U.S. manufacturing companies and the people who work in them. Or as one of my colleagues said, “You’re telling the story of the forgotten American worker.”

What you write about manifests

It’s old-school to be sure, but a notebook and pen is a fantastic way to generate positive change for all areas of your life, including work and business.

Shiny tools have their place, but *nothing* replaces your own original thinking and putting your thoughts on paper. The more you write, the more your life will reflect the hopes, dreams, and goals you write about.

I *really* wanted the C.J. Bates piece to be the foundation for future in-depth pieces about manufacturing in America and what’s happened to us.

Today, it’s the number one visited piece on my blog. People read it and then leave the most amazing comments about C.J. Bates hooks and needles, the company, and working at the factory.

I’m lost without a notebook and pen

I have lots of notebooks, each with a specific use: gym workouts, my daily journal, blog interviews, factory tours, and notes from when I attend presentations given by community orgs, such as beekeeping (love those!).

I also keep a notebook for each client, where I record meeting notes as well as my own strategy and marketing ideas and goals for the client.

“Ah,” said Rachel, “I see now why you’re always saying writing is so easy for you and that you don’t understand AI tools. It’s because you write every single day. You put your ideas on paper, and then you make them come to life.”

Yes. Exactly. It’s why I’m so careful about what I write about, and stay away from negative posts and people on social media. Words, good and bad, have power behind them.

When I go back through old notebooks, I’m amazed at how much I’ve manifested or changed in my life or with regard to my clients’ businesses — all from writing down ideas, dreams, and goals.

Filed under: Behind the Scenes