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Keeping a Writer’s Notebook

NotebooksWriters love blank books. We hoard blank books sometimes, like we’re dragons. We like to have a stack of blank books waiting around for just the right project.

For some authors, suggesting that they use one of their precious hoard to write notes is anathema. But I’m suggesting just that–picking one of the notebooks from your hoard and using it as a writer’s notebook.

What do you put in a writer’s notebook? A little bit of everything. Like this article on writer’s notebooks suggests, you can include “ideas, questions, thoughts, true stories, invented stories, rough drafts for poems, songs, or stories, bits of dialogue that you overhear, and more.” It’s a repository for ideas, but it can be so much more than that. You might write something experimental in such a notebook, and maybe you decide that it’s too weird for you, but future you might look back on that experimental bit and see the outlines of something they can work with.

This article includes some additional suggestions on organization and other ways you can use a writer’s notebook for things other than ideas. It also talks about having one writer’s notebook as a messy place, and another where things are more organized.

But you don’t have to go too overboard with this. Just having one writer’s notebook is probably fine, especially if you’re curating your notebook hoard to perfection.

(It should be noted that some authors may prefer a digital notebook, and I use my phone as a form of writer’s notebook, with loads of ideas typed in through the notepad. But there is something satisfying about writing on paper now and then, even with technology at our fingertips. If you’re a digital idea keeper, give a paper notebook a try to see if it changes the way you generate ideas or think about them, just as an experiment!)

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