Novelists carry notebooks. 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 certain extent. But given our busy lives and writing careers, we must consider that we don’t want a book of ideas so much as we want a book.
What if we jot any random yet great ideas in the back of the notebook, perhaps, but use the front to write outlines and character arcs and lists of 20 ways a turning point might take place? In that way a notebook helps writers make progress on the present story as well as future volumes. 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.