I am sure I am not the first writer to blog about their notebook. But I might be the first to write a first draft in my notebook while lying in bed at eight minutes past midnight covered in cats. Meh, who am I kidding?
I have had a notebook throughout my writing life from the age of sixteen to the grand middle age of forty-four. Unfortunately I don’t have my first notebook, although it could be stashed in a box in the depths of my father’s garage across the other side of the world. It was a school exercise book with a lime green and black striped cover that I’d protected with a plastic sleeve. I filled every one of its three hundred and sixty pages with angst ridden teenage grief. After that, I graduated to one with an orange and black striped cover that I did not protect with a plastic sleeve.
A writer’s notebook is special, an extension of our minds. These days I am more picky about my choice of random thought collection paraphernalia. My notebook of choice is a flip up policeman’s style pad, hard covered, with an elastic closure, and a tab for holding a pen, although I use a mechanical pencil. I buy them in bulk, well, four at a time. It’s handy to carry about, quick to grab, and isn’t reliant on a wi-fi connection.
It sounds terribly antiquated, and I have used my phone and Google Docs to jot ideas before, but there is just something about scribbling ideas in a serial killer hand at odd moments that I enjoy. It feels natural, more organic.
Perhaps it is because I grew up without a computer or the internet, but when I am using an electronic device, I find there is a disconnect between my thoughts and the words appearing on the screen. With a pencil and paper, I craft each word across the page. My hand is the pencil.
It isn’t simply pressing something and watching the letters appear. It feels creative in the rawest sense. It might be a minor distinction for some, but it makes all the difference to me.
I imagine in future years, there shall be some form of brain to text interface so anything we think and dream will automatically upload to the “Nebula”. A lot of my ideas come from dreams, so I can see this being useful. Sometimes I wake up at 3 am and remember nothing but holding a piece of toast before jumping off a cliff. Yet I still enjoy writing these snippets in my policeman’s notebook in my serial killer hand.
So here’s to writers and their notebooks, whether large or small, filled with adolescent ramblings or half remembered dreams.
Tell us about your notebook in the comments below.
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