Lotte Jeffs is a writer to her core. Putting pen to paper has been at the heart of her career as an author, journalist and creative consultant. Since becoming a mother she’s spread her talents from the written to the spoken word with her podcast Some Families, which celebrates LGBTQ+ parenting alongside co-host Stu Oakley.
Lotte took some time out of her busy diary to tell us about what the handwritten word means to her and how she’s reflecting on and her post-lockdown plans for the future.
On pen & paper
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been an avid list-maker. I recently found some of my notebooks from when I was seven-years-old and my lists were things like ‘play with Sylvanians 10-11am’, ‘arts and crafts 1pm-2pm’. I can’t decide if it’s cute or tragic. Either way, I’m still that person!
I still get that ‘back to school’ feeling in September. New stationery is a must at this time of year. It’s like a fresh start. Having a beautiful array of notebooks and pens on my desk makes me feel calm, inspired and organised.
I mainly use my notebooks for daily lists but I’ll also use the same book for creative writing or work notes, so when I look back over them they are very eclectic in terms of content. I’ve been doing some advertising copywriting work this year and when I’m writing brand tag lines, I can fill half a notebook with options. Somehow the act of handwriting helps me formulate my thoughts in a way typing does not.
I like being able to look back over my notes and crossings out, rather than deleting and it being gone forever. Sometimes in my creative writing and advertising work the answer to a problem or a new idea has emerged from these crossed out lines.
On turning over new leaves
I went from being the deputy editor to the acting editor in chief of ELLE magazine in a day, with no warning. It was a moment of really having to rally all of my self-confidence and think, I can do this.
Parenting has given me a focus and a purpose outside of myself. I’ve also had loads of fun, and an opportunity to be silly and playful, which is behaviour that’s harder to explain if you’re not with a kid at the time! Parenthood is a constantly evolving state of being and I enjoy that fluidity.
I love podcasting (now I’ve got over the hell that is listening to my own voice). It’s a much more intimate and natural way of communicating than writing and I don’t self-edit as I do when I write.
This year has been such a weird, non-year but actually some good stuff has happened. I’ve achieved a lot, somehow it just doesn’t feel like it. So I think I’ll use the rest of the year to reflect on the positives and plot and plan for the future.
The stationery Q&A
What do you feel when you see a blank page?
Far more creative than I do staring at a blank screen.
Your most treasured piece of stationery?
A pen I stole from the Beverly Hills hotel.
Complete this sentence: ‘Stationery is…’
The foundation of creativity.
Old journals and notebooks: keep or recycle?
Notebook covers: always get the same or mix it up?
Mix it up.
What item of stationery could you not live without?
Are you a doodler or a neat notetaker?
Doodler. But I don’t realise I’m doing it then regret it.
Lined, plain or dotted notebooks?
Lined and plain.
Pen or pencil?
Plans in your diary or reflections in your journal?
I’ve never been able to write a diary. I think it comes from being a journalist and always writing for other people.
List ticking or creative thinking?
Do you send notecards and letters?
Yes – I always send handwritten thank you cards and postcards.
Feeling the urge to put pen to paper? Leaf through our stationery collection.