How Filofax kept me organised at the RNA Conference

Remember Filofax? Like many people in the 1980s, I toted a black, approx A5 sized leather folder which not only contained my diary, notes and address book, but also expenses sheets,  stamp and card holders, to do lists, maps, vocabulary lists –  in short, my life.

Came the electronic revolution, I waved it bye-bye. The next time I used it  seriously was in 2005 for research notes when I did my MA in history. I was reminded how compact it was and how easy to carry round with me.

But I recently found (to my surprise!) that Filofax is more than a folder full of stuff. I discovered a delightful system call Flex. This appeared when I was planning my trip to the RNA Conference in Caerleon earlier this month. I needed to take plenty to write on for the copious notes I knew I would be taking, but the sheets of paper tended to fall out of the plastic folder or got lost in between other stuff.

Enter the Flex folder! It has slide-in notebooks with lined pages or plain pages and when opened on a lecture theatre table for taking notes it doesn’t overlap the neighbour’s working space. And there’s a loop for a pen or pencil, slots for cards and a tear off pad for little notes.

I carried two 80-page notebooks (which was enough even for me) without busting Ryanair’s Nazi-like weight restrictions. (I love Ryanair really 😉 )

One thing was missing: an integrated burglar alarm to prevent all the admiring glances crystallising into something more nefarious.

I’m not on commission, but I let you know I’m adding this to my collection of useful things for writers.

Who’d have thought?

What do you find are the most useful tools, gadgets and gizmos supporting your writing?


Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, and PERFIDITAS. Third in series, SUCCESSIO, is out early summer 2014.

9 comments to How Filofax kept me organised at the RNA Conference

  • Liz Harris

    I wish I’d had a Filofax with me at the Conference – I’ve been left with a pile of virtually illegible, loose sheets of paper that are badly in need of sorting. My solution to this need? Shove them all in a file and shove said file in the nearest cupboard.

    I hope that the writing is going well.

    Liz X

  • alison

    I was looking through my notes to find something and was struck by the contrast with last year’s collection of tatty sheets!

    I hadn’t been sure before the conference how well it would work, but it was brilliant!

  • Alison

    The Flex is perfect for conferences/conventions and to write in on the go. I am going to Italy in a couple of weeks with Ryanair and taking hand luggage only (sigh!) so a thin notebook is perfect for writing (as opposed to my chunky A5 Filofax).

  • I love the space afforded by an A5, and the Flex looks so light and portable. Might have to look into one shortly for use in dissertation interview note-taking. Would look professional without needing minions to carry it for me. 😉

  • I am still happy with my A5 hardback. The Filofax has too many compartments though I did like yours, Alison, as it seemed more up to date.


  • alison

    Hi Alison and Sandra,

    I found it so easy to use and compact. As a writer, I often need to refer back to what I thought I heard to check that is was what I actually DID hear.

    And it’s terrific for making research notes.

  • alison


    I know you liked the Flex – I saw your eyes on it at the RNA Conference!

    I recommend it! Have at look at them here:

  • I am really glad you like your Flex. I use mine in the pocket size for driving lessons’ notes and to carry round with me all the time.
    Did you have a good conference?

  • alison

    I had an excellent conference at Caerleon! I blogged about it here.

    As you can see, I took the opportunity to look at Caerleon’s most famous attractions. 😉