Jan 25, 2011

The Writer's Notebook

My love affair with my notebook runs hot and cold. Sometimes I dive in and scribble away many times a day, then, for no particular reason, I put it down and struggle to motivate myself to pick it up at all. Today I'm using it to knock myself on the noggin and chastise myself into scribbling again.

After all, the notebook has featured as a writer's tool in about 20 of my blogposts, including my most popular post:

I also included using my notebook more as a New Year goal in:

I have no excuses, there are plenty of notebooks lying around my house in all sorts of sizes, textures and designs. If anything, I think I have too many. I start new notebooks for each WIP (fair enough), I have a separate notebook to record how much writing I'm doing (little bit pointless at the moment), one for ideas and notes, one for dream journaling, one for writing courses, I have my iPhone app for when I'm out and about.... I could go on. I think it's easier to ignore your notebook when there's many. I'm scaling back. I'll still use my iPhone app when I've forgotten (gasp) to bring my notebook, but my idea-pad of choice is:

I love this notebook. I love the cream colour (the lined pages are also cream, that feels less mocking than blank white pages) and the way it's already a little battered. I'll just use headings to identify the different notes I'm taking: Ideas, Dialogue, Plots, Problems, etc. I let myself become distracted and now it's time to write again. What will I write? I think I'll start with my distractions, I might be able to grow something from these seeds.
I've been:
  • Writing up Spanish worksheets for my language class (you can see them here)
  • Having an icky lump removed from my head, which was gross, funny and cool. Gross, because the doctor showed it to me afterward (retch), funny, because halfway through he calls 'oh-oh!' and I think about how doctors (and pilots) should have a code word for 'oh-oh' - something like 'puppies', 'cause you don't panic when someone in charge calls 'puppies'. And it's cool, because the Yr7 & 8 boys at my school will love hearing my war tales and seeing the scar.
  • Watching the new 'Sherlock' series on TV while reading the novels on my Kindle. Really like the show that brings Sherlock Holmes to the current day, but must admit it means crossing one 'new idea' off my list in my notebook (I'm very original, just a bit slow).
  • Reading Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks. You'll notice my notebook has the optimistic number '1' in the top right corner, Agatha numbered all her notebooks. I hope mine head up in the hundreds.
  • Biting my nails while my family and writing buddies read my finished manuscript, Dog Show Detective.
How's your writing goals going? Anyone else lagging? Can you turn your excuses into writing exercises or ideas?


  1. Love how you turn what was meant as a hinderance into a stepping stone. Also, good to know I am not alone in my ridiculous 'hoarding' of notebooks.

  2. I have that weird on off relationship with my notebooks too. The cream colored ones sound really nice though. Might have to fine one!

  3. I find it helpful to take time off sometimes. I just have to remind myself to get back to writing. If I don't write, I get irritable!

    My doctor said "Uh-oh" during my c-section, but it had to do with the conversation about golf he was having with the other doctor and not the huge hole in my abdomen. I asked him to refrain from saying that until he was done...

    I hadn't thought to number my notebook... Mine has fortune cookie fortunes taped to it. Like "The world will soon be ready to receive your talents" and "Your social skills are needed now" (by some pretty desperate people apparently).

  4. Your notebook is cool. I have several, too, but I take notes in lots of places. Lately, I've used notecards. My play is coming along nicely. I'm planning a read-through soon.

  5. If by lagging, you mean crawling forward barely inches per week, dragging my tongue behind me in hopes of picking up some nourishment and, therefore, inspiration...then yes, I'm lagging. :(

    (hope you still plan on participating in our blogfest tomorrow! maybe the caffeine will help us!)

  6. You inspired me! I linked to you today on my blog.

  7. I am a notebook fanatic. My problem is having too many notebbooks combined with general disorganization. There is a plus side however. When I come across something I wrote months before in an older notebook that I had forgotten about.

    Thanks for another great post.