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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Notebookphilia

Do you keep a writers' notebook to jot down those nuggets that erupt  at the oddest of times? I keep such a notebook in my bag and take it everywhere with me. I used to carry a dictaphone, but found I was too embarrassed to ever use it (you can get some strange looks). So a traditional notebook is ideal to record my lightbulb moments, but which one to pick? As you can see from the photo (left) I have an addiction - I love notebooks! There is some logic to the organisation of these tools:
one is for on-the-hoof-ideas, another for recording competition details, one for padding out features/article ideas, one for recording books I've read and another for poetry / memorable quotations. A prized notebook is a traditional moleskin, which I won for a letter printed in Writers' Forum. And the latest addition is this one on the right. I just loved the cover, a perfect notebook for a hopeful writer.

This latest fix was purchased specifically for a new project started on 1st October. Recently I kept stumbling across references to 'Morning Pages' a technique for writing a 'stream of conciousness' every day. First I read about this here on Simon Whaley's blog and then it was mentioned in Paula Williams' monthly Writers' Forum column (The Writers' Idea Store) for the October issue. And a writer friend, Heather Allison, also recommended the technique to me. Basically the idea is to write three pages as soon as you wake in the morning - don't think or plan, just write. I understand this technique is detailed in Julia Cameron's book 'The Artist's Way', but I have to admit to not yet reading this. Well three days into this initiative and I'm hooked. I've strictly stuck to three pages but could write more and so far the words have just flowed. Mainly I'm writing about plans for the day and how the previous day panned out. I've also been writing down any plot problems I'm wrestling with about or issues I need to think through and oddly as I start to commit them to paper solutions begin to pop up. Don't know if you are supposed to read back over the week's pages and not sure I want to, because I'm also recording all those nagging insecurities (the Doubtful Demon wakes early).

What do you record in your notebook? Do you keep more than one? Go on, confess now, are you a notebook addict?


6 comments:

  1. I use notebooks for 'to do' lists and other writing related jottings, but my story ideas almost always go directly onto the laptop.

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  2. Oh, I identify with that love of notebooks, as do many other writers from what I've been reading recently! Love that gorgeous new one. That morning writing idea was first mentioned in the wonderful classic, Becoming a Writer, by Dorothea Brande which was published in 1930s. An excellent psychological approach to writing.

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  3. Yes, I love notebooks and buy far too many... I keep a writing journal and general notebooks for scribbling down to-do lists, book recommendations, etc. I also have a separate notebook for a larger writing project I've just embarked upon.

    The writing journal contains anything and everything related to my writing: observations, freewriting, story ideas, plans, random scribblings... I can't do morning pages, because it takes an hour for me to wake up enough to locate stuff like pens and notebooks. But I'm a big fan of freewriting - just scrawling whatever comes into your head.

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  4. Thanks everyone for your lovely comments.
    Patsy - I'm impressed you get story stuff down on the pc. I always need to jot notes asap cos the memory is not what it used to be...
    Rosemary - you're absolutely right about Dorothea Brande, knew I'd heard about it sometime ago. 'Becoming a writer' is an excellent how to writing book, full of wisdom rather than endless bullet points.
    Hayley - have to confess I've now bought another notebook this week. One for writing poetry - or my sad attempts. I'm still keeping up with the morning pages though it does take 25-30 mins, but the freewriting aspect is unlocking some new ideas so I can't complain :)

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  5. Thanks Vikki. So far have managed to stick with the Morning pages every day since beginning of October. It's becoming a habit, which I guess is the real aim of the process.

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