You have probably seen it in fantasy movies or games - a mage or a paladin with a massive grimoire or spellbook or whatever strapped to his side, which he would in times of need open and recite a chant/cast a spell.

I've been writing diaries since childhood, so several years ago I decided to make something GRAND, bought lots of writing paper and hacked together a thick notebook. Thick like 6-6.5cm thick, with 500-600 pages IIRC.

The question that's been tormenting me since then is 'how the hell do they write in these books?!' because obviously the closer to the bottom of the page the more your hand hangs in the air. The last few lines are written with basically no support for your wrist.

I've tried putting down something for support, but having another device the size of the book itself is not very convenient. For now I have to do it (depending on the mood) either in a way that resembles drawing with a brush (which is tiring, slow and sloppy) or supporting my right hand with my left (the pages are blank, so I have to put a lined sheet underneath the current page, and it requires the left hand to push the page down for the lines to be visible - therefore the second method doesn't work very well).

A quick Google search doesn't give any useful info, only advice about using writing mats, but I suspect they won't be very useful with a notebook this thick.

Before I dive into a futile endeavor of hacking together a miraculous wrist-supporting compact folding contraption, are there any alternatives you know of which I have missed? Some technique to hold your hand in a special way? Ways to put the book in a certain position to alleviate the problem?

The book itself is modifiable to an extent (meaning I can dismantle it and probably assemble back), so advice on reconfiguring the book itself is also acceptable.

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    What you need is a springloaded platform that you set the book on so that the weight of the pages causes it to sink down, leaving the top part flush with writing surface. That way, it's self-adjusting. Come to think of it, you could use memory foam for that maybe... wanders off, muttering to self
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 15:45
  • 1
    I like this question. Completely unlike anything we're getting on Writers, but in my opinion, completely on-topic.
    – SF.
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 8:52

2 Answers 2


I turn the book.

I write what I can comfortably write at the top of the page, then turn the book and write "from the bottom up" or from the side in or from the middle out, whatever feels most comfortable. I number the sections to mark their order.

But that is for a note book – a book to take notes in, not a grimoire to be passed on to my wizard successor. You know that those old handwritten books were written on single sheets of paper or parchment, and only bound after they had been finished, don't you?

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  • 1
    Well, the picture actually shows someone writing a scroll, probably a decree or contract, but the older, medieval images (before the advent of printing) don't show what is lying on the "book stand" clear enough. Anyway, read up on how codices were made, it explains that the writing was done on single sheaves of vellum and later bound, if at all.
    – user5645
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 8:07
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    Adding to the answer: Go all the way through the book, using only the top half of pages, then flip the book and use the "bottom" half, which is now the top half. Minimizes confusion, eases both reading and writing, and the ink has plenty of time to dry thoroughly before your hand is lying on it (except for the last few pages before you turn, of course).
    – dmm
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 16:49

This is a common problem, especially with hard-backed notebooks. Using "something to support the wrist", as you say, can work. Usually I have at least two similar notebooks on the go and use one or more of them for support. You can turn the same trick using printed books, especially paperbacks. Using books allows you to adjust the depth of the supporting wad of pages.

If you're using a spiral bound "notebook" or pad you can flip the pages round so you have just a thin stack of paper under your hand. For that though, you should write on just one side of the paper: the right hand side if your're right handed. Using just one side of the paper has many advantages e.g. you can later break open the pad and edit your text using the original cut and paste technique.

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