The Epic Saga of WriteWell Journals: Book Production Success

by | Dec 11, 2017

The last time I visited what seems like a somewhat quixotic journey to try to create the ultimate writer’s journal, I was still waiting to see if my dream would become a reality. Here’s what I wrote a few months ago:

In fact, today I’m waiting to get yet more samples, and this time, I hope to be able to show you the final WriteWell Writers’ Journal: with lay flat binding, great paper, a pleasure to hold, carry, and use, and at a reasonable price.

I look forward with great anticipation to that day, hopefully not too far off at this point.

That’s the goal I set for myself. My journal had to achieve these four things:

  • Lay flat no matter where you open it
  • Provide great paper to write on
  • Be a pleasure to hold, carry, and use
  • Maintain a reasonable price

If you’ve followed this story you’ll know that this turned out to be a much more difficult challenge than I had anticipated.

And if you use journals, but you’ve been frustrated by books that won’t lay flat, paper that fights your pen, by running out of pages too soon, or any of the other ways some journals make writing more difficult—you are the reason I’ve been doggedly pursuing this goal.

However, instead of the 6 weeks I thought it would take, development ended up taking more than a year.

But today, I’m happy and proud to tell you that WriteWell Writers’ Journals are now in production!

The Final Prototype

When I received the third prototype a few weeks ago, I had a strange experience.

While I carefully unpacked the sample books and checked them, realizing the printer had met all my criteria, I was also felt a little anti-climactic.

You mean, that’s all there is?

After all, over a year later, dozens of people talked to, piles of materials evaluated, samples ordered and received, all I was left with was a fairly simple journal.

I decided to put one of the prototypes to the test: I would use if for a month and then see how I felt about it, and if it truly met my four criteria. Even though this sample was unprinted, in every other way it was an exact duplicate of the production journals.

(My sample is in the Cranberry color. We will also have black covers available when we go on sale in January.)

I took it with me on a cross-country trip to the BookBaby Independent Author Conference. Here it is on the seat of an airplane on the way to Philadelphia, along with the Murakami novel I was reading at the time.


On the airplane to Philadelphia

I took it along with a cup of tea on writing outings, here at a picnic table in the East Bay:


Writing al fresco

I designed this journal to lie flat no matter where it opens. This is accomplished with a sewn binding (pages will never fall out!) and a binding style that separates the spine of the book from the interior pages.


Lies flat, a joy to write in

Sometimes I write, sometimes I draw diagrams. Having the room to do this easily on the wider-than-normal pages makes all the difference.

I’ve spent hours carrying this prototype journal around with me, throwing it in my backpack, tossing it on the back seat, and generally treating it like the everyday object it is intended to be.

I particularly like the textured and flexible covers that make the journal feel solid yet soft and accommodating. With 240 pages, these journals will last a while.


The journal flexes easily, yet has a solid and textured feeling

Over the weeks, I’ve grown fonder and fonder of this journal—it has become a great companion. I can’t wait for you to try it yourself.

I truly believe it will solve all those problems with journals that weren’t designed by a writer, for other writers. But that’s exactly how the WriteWell journal was designed.

Special Pre-Sale Offer Coming Soon

In a few days I’ll kick off a pre-sale because I know there’s a lot of interest in these journals and, like all offset printed books, they will be available in a limited quantity at first.

The best way to find out about the pre-sale offer is to make sure you’re on my mail list. Sign up here to make sure you get notified: WriteWell Journals Advance Notice List

Help me launch these amazing new writers’ journals. When they are profitable I’ll be able to expand the line with more options like paperback journals, bullet journals, sketch books, and all the other kinds of journals we use to capture the transitory thoughts and experiences that pass through our minds each day.

  • Sign up for the pre-order notification list
  • Share this offer with other writers you know
  • Look forward to getting your own WriteWell Journal in January 2018!

There are many more details I haven’t explained yet about the design and construction of these journals, and some innovations of my own I look forward to sharing with you, so watch for my announcement in the coming days.


tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. R.J.

    What was the printer you used for these? I want to make a similar journal but with printed sections and such, and having a lay-flat option is imperative.

    • Joel Friedlander

      R.J., the printer was Edwards Brothers Malloy who, unfortunately, went out of business soon thereafter. Finding a vendor for this project was probably the biggest challenge, so I was sorry to see them go.


    Hello Joel.
    Thank you for all the information you have posted. I am learning from each of your posts. I have myself designed a journal that I would love to publish. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any organization that will deliver a lay flat, 200 page, faux or leatherette cover, with a book mark and a security pocket. Any suggestions of who I can contact? Thank you in advance!!

  3. Belinda Kroll

    Will the pages be lined, or dotted? I’m in love with diy pages, since it gives me the ability to draw straight lines or aren’t the page without having the grid to distract me.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Belinda,

      The first run of these journals will be lined, with narrow rules. Once I get this product line off the ground, I plan to do both dot-grid and blank versions, but I wanted to start off with what I thought would most please people who use a journal for writing.

  4. Arlene

    Sadly, the cost of shipping to Canada is prohibitive; otherwise, I’d love one of these journals…

    • Joel Friedlander


      We will have flat rate shipping throughout the U.S. but I haven’t checked on rates to Canada yet. I should have that information before we go on sale and will attempt to find the least expensive secure shipping method.

      • Arlene

        That would be great, Joel. I tried to order one last year and shipping was $65. Not affordable…

        Enjoy a super day!

  5. Michael N. Marcus

    It’s an interesting project/product — not it’s not for me. My scribbles are barely legible, even to me. Typing on something works much better.

    • Joel Friedlander

      I have that problem too, at times Michael. And I don’t do a lot of creative writing in my journals, either, yet I always have one with me for notes, capturing ideas, working on layouts, and numerous other tasks. Years ago it occurred to me I could stop losing the notes I was writing if I wrote them in a journal, and having that record has saved me many times.

      I could switch to using my phone but really don’t like that tiny keyboard, and the act of writing with a pen is still appealing.



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