Friday, September 14, 2012

Your Writer's Notebook

You may choose abstract or specific pictures for an Inspiration Section
in your Writer's Notebook. It's all up to you!
Hey Scribblers and Book Bandits!
     Just FYI, the free writer's contest I mentioned a few weeks ago is still going on. If you'd like to enter your 250 word-or-under flash fiction for a chance to win, you can check it out here. It's easy-peasy, and the prize is $250!
     On to our topic: If you are a writer, chances are that you have some notebook or legal pad filled with lists, wit, wisdom, observations, or story ideas. Recently, I created a sort of "writer's notebook," and it has worked out super well for me!
     A writer's notebook has several purposes. I read this in a blog post on Writer Unboxed: "Writing on paper feels less like work and, in my experience, the result is often much more imaginative, playful, and interesting than whatever I most recently typed into a Word doc" (Lewis). It's true! Writing on paper helps us get unstuck, sometimes. Aside from getting us unstuck, notebooks help us organize our thoughts, so we can more easily find things written in the past.
Here's some tips directly from my experience, if you'd like to make one for yourself.
  • Buy a plain notebook, not super fancy-dancy expensive one. Fancy-dancy notebooks don't last long, if you actually use them. If you want to use a fancy-dancy, make it for something that will last a long time, like a record of favorite quotes. Writer's Notebooks, Journals, and grocery lists get used up quickly! You can decorate your own notebook. I use to doodle and write word collages on the covers of mine.
  • Get one with several partitioned sections. I got a red, five-subject notebook for like $2 at Kmart.
  • Decide what each "subject" will be. For example, here are my subjects: 1.) Plot work and Brainstorming. This is a busy section. I restrict it to my novel ideas. 2.) Research. This is where I record all the interesting ideas I read in books, watch on dvds, find out from peeps, etc. For some tips on research, check out this blog post. 3.) Character Development. When I'm stuck in my writing, a lot of time, character-development exercises help me. Writing freeform in their voices, brainstorm about their personalities, writing scenes from their past, etc. This makes them more real. 4.) Other Brainstorming. This is a space for brainstorming other projects, like blog posts, short stories, poetry, etc. It also serves as an overflow space for the first section. 5.) My last section is Random Stuff--prayers, scenes that pop into my head, dreams, lists, free writes, school assignments, whatever. It's a free space. I don't have to think too hard, there. Sometimes, I use what I write there in other sections of my notebook, later.
  • You can write your own subjects. If you are a visual writer, you may want an "Inspiration" section filled with photos.
     A Writer's Notebook is useful in the 5 Stages of Writing, as well! For example, work from the first stage of writing, Observation, often goes into my number 5 category of "Random Stuff." During Stage 3, First-Drafting, you may use the Plot Work and Brainstorming section ALL the time, you'll need to get all your ideas out in the open.
     To find out about the 5 Stages, you can check out this post.
Good luck, Scribblers!

Works Cited
Lewis, Kristyn Kusek. "The Writer's Block Myth." Writer Unboxed: about the craft and business of fiction. Sept. 9th, 2012. Sept 12, 2012.>.

Photo Credit:
Oktavio. "Acople visual generado con una camara de PC y la pantalla." Wikimedia Commons. 24 October 2009. 14 September 2012. <>

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