I have a confession to make: I’m obsessed with notebooks. Moleskines, compositions, spiral-bound, leather, it doesn’t matter! I’ve been collecting and using notebooks since I can remember, and while I’ve managed to reign in my collection over the last few years, I still have plenty of empty notebooks to use up. What’s a girl to do with so many blank pages?
Start a writer’s notebook!
What is a writer’s notebook? A writer’s notebook is where a writer can keep all of her ideas, prompts, random stories, and other inspirational content. In other words, it’s a place to keep your inspiration (loosely) organized.
What to Include in Your Writer’s Notebook
There are no formal rules for a writer’s notebook as it’s all about what you find inspirational, important, and relevant. However, you should absolutely include things that get your brain moving and makes you think. Here are some things I like to include:
- Names I like (for character creation)
- Writing prompts I find online
- Short stories I create
- Overheard conversations
- Newspaper clippings
- Fortunes from fortune cookies
- Doodles and drawings
I don’t record in my notebook every day, but when something stick with me or it’s something I want to remember, I jot it down. Many of the images, stories, and other snippets don’t make it into a blog post or my novel, but a writer’s notebook is a gold mine. It’s something you can go back to when you’re stuck.
Here are some of my favorites in my current journal:
- A quote someone posted in a freelancer Facebook group: “A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later.”
- This Foo Fighter’s lyric: “How could I forget you painting stars into the sky?”
- An old fortune cookie slip: “Your tongue is your ambassador.”
- A fragment from a piece I wrote in college; it was the first time that professor told me I exceeded at showing, not telling: “Muggy Florida air beats against us when we exit the garage. His black Corolla is humid inside and smells like bubblegum mixed with sweat. I wrinkle my nose and kick at the pile of empty Gatorade bottles on the passenger side floor.”
Benefits of a Physical Writer’s Notebook
One word: offline. Getting a physical notebook to jot down your inspiration isn’t for everyone, but being offline is beneficial. It’s away from the distractions of the Internet (looking at you, Pinterest) and a safe place to store your thoughts in the event the Internet is down or your cloud account didn’t back up properly.
I love technology as much as the next millenial, but even apps like Evernote, Scrivener, and Google Docs don’t help me keep track of my inspiration. Word processors and apps are great for writing first drafts and to do lists, but nothing locks down your creativity like an old school notebook.
Do you keep a writer’s notebook? If so, what do you include? What inspires you?
Don’t forget to join the Writer’s Nook, a Facebook group for writers and bloggers to network, share ideas, and offer support and advice.