The Not-so-simple Necessary Notebook.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that all writers love stationery – and can spend hours (and dollars!) in those gorgeous stores. After all, almost any writer’s guide will tell you to keep a notebook on hand so you can scribble when inspiration hits!
Ah yes, notebooks. I have so many notebooks. It truly was an addiction for a while. I’d hit those sales at the start of the school year – rush in and buy a zillion little notebooks for five cents and a ton more exercise books. This was despite the fact that I hadn’t used up all of the previous years stockpile. I just couldn’t resist.
I’d have an exercise book or notebook for each story I was working on (which can be up to four or five at least in the planning stages), plus a notebook for recording dreams, one as a journal, one as a goals/to do list, one for ideas… another for other ideas…
The trouble was I wouldn’t have the right on me at the ‘write’ time – so I’d scribble notes relating to one book in that back of the notebook for another. I’d see something in the street and get an idea and scribble that in the middle of whatever notebook I could get my hands on. Dialogue in the middle of another. Random names I like in a page somewhere else. A thousand notebooks for a million ideas. Of course, do you think I could then find what it was I’d written when I wanted to?
Of course not. It became ridiculous. And frustrating.
So I decided to pare back completely – to one. That’s right, ONE notebook. It’s pretty (pink) – I figure if I’m only getting one, then I get to get a posh one, right? It’s a small enough size to fit in my handbag and to be able to fit a decent amount of words on each page, but it’s not too big to be too heavy or awkward. And in it I write everything – my journal elements, plans for the day/week, notes from non-fiction I’ve been reading, dialogue snippets from the wip plus character analysis etc. I’ve also been starting from the back page – a page with random words I like, another page with character names I like, occupations, settings, other random ideas. But all in the one book. So now I only have to flip through and find what I’m after. If it’s dialogue for the wip I just put a line through it once I’ve keyed it in – so I can still read it, but I know I’ve used it…
And so far, so good. It’s really working for me and I’m doing more analysis on my stories as well as more journaling – which hopefully helps my writing in general.
For a while I was going to be terribly sophisticated and use different colours for different entries (eg blue for the current wip, red for dreams, green for new ideas)… but of course that’s completely impractical…
But you know there’s still that stationery hunger to fill… I walk past those shops and feel them calling to me.
Naturally, I have a plan… I read an article about ‘de-plasticifying your life’ – things like using a Sigg instead of plastic water bottles etc. One of the tips was to use a refillable ink pen rather than using and discarding biros all the time – that way you’ll leave less of a plastic legacy. Nice idea, huh? Only trouble is I’m left handed and my writing is messy enough without leaving ink smudges all over the paper. But the thought of a ‘proper pen’ to go with my posh notebook, is so romantic…
So I’ve been browsing the lovely pen market… oh okay, it just gives me a lot of excuses to look at this lovely Johnny Depp ad… Montblanc anyone???
So is your house littered with notebooks and pens or do you keep all your notes online? Are you totally organised and have files for ideas? Or perhaps you do the dialogue on the back of receipts thing too? Let me know in the comments below and be in the draw to win a signed copy of your choice of my current releases:
Out this month in the US is To Love, Honor & Disobey, in the UK you can get Unbuttoned by her Maverick Boss, while in Australia/New Zealand get Caught on Camera with the CEO.
To find out more about Natalie’s books, visit her website.
PS. Yesterday's winners are Linda and Page. Email Instigator at firstname.lastname@example.org with your information to claim your prize. Also, don't forget to check back in next Friday for Free Book Friday (Conference Edition).