Nothing is more guaranteed to make a writer swoon than a new notebook. Recycled, lined, branded, cheap, expensive, spiral bound, it doesn’t make a difference – a fresh and clean notebook always feels good in your hands. I’m sure you all have your favourite kinds but in the end they all mean the same thing to us – a dumping ground for the madness inside us.
It’s like downloading part of your mind for future reference. It makes it a little quieter in your noggin and it means the info is safely archived and ready for action anytime…after you’ve turned your office upside down looking for the right notebook that is. When you leave ideas swirling around in your mind it can be easy to forget them. Some people say this is a great way to filter out bad ideas and that the ideas worth remembering will always stick around. They obviously haven’t met someone with a memory as bad as mine! Just because an idea is amazing this is no guarantee it will resurface later when you’re grasping for new plot ideas.
So I write everything down, from snippets of dialogue, to scenes that play out in my brain, potential book titles, names that interest me, character traits of people sat next to me in Café Nero…yeah, that’s right I’m watching you drink your latte – anything that comes into my head and I think is interesting enough to keep. It’s a great way of building a reference file for those quieter moments in your writing life.
If the words are flowing then great, carry on – but when your inspiration dries up you can always turn to your trusty notepad and flick through the pages to stoke your imagination.
Writing things down is also a great way of defeating so called ‘writer’s block’. If you’re struggling to start that new novel then sketching out random ideas in your notebook can be a great way of getting back into the writing zone. You can try either freestyling; writing random things that seem to make no sense at the time and seeing where they go, or you can flick back through your other flashes and ideas fleshing them out until they turn into decent stories.
A writer’s notebook is essentially all the good parts of a writer’s brain – ideas in their purest form, not swirling round in a vortex of self-doubt and banging into ‘did I leave the oven on?’ thoughts. They’re a quiet place where flashes of inspiration can sit back and relax until they are needed. They’re a resource that will still be around no matter how advanced technology gets – at least they will in my house!
So go find yourself a shiny new notepad, go on treat yourself, and get scribbling…and remember to always carry a notebook with you.