Writing Time, Part 28. Notebooks and Novelists

Novelists carry notebooks.notebookvellumsmall

It’s a symbol of the
job, like a 1940’s journalist’s fedora. So, it’s lucky that we love stationery. We get to spend lots of time trying new notebooks for size and paper quality and how they fit in our carryall, and whether we want one that is pocket-sized so we don’t have to carry that carryall all the time. That’s what I call shopping fun. Especially when it’s clearly necessary to go looking for an ideal writers’ carryall.

All the advice to writers I’ve ever read on notebooks says, Write down your excellent ideas. I agree—to a point. But consider that you don’t want a book of ideas so much as you want a book.

What if we jot any random yet great ideas in the back of the notebook, but use the front to write outlines and arcs and lists of 20 ways a turning point might take place. In that way a notebook helps a writer make actual progress on the story. Ten minute outlines in a notebook serve us beautifully when we come to draft the next scene.

I hope it’s another brilliant writing week for you. Cheers Mel

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