It is challenging to write a post with one hand because your cat has claimed your other one.
But anyway, notebooks.
I read countless posts, articles, and writing tips that constantly pushed, “Keep notebooks, keep a journal. Have a writing notebook, have a random notebook, etc. Just keep notebooks about everything!” So, the know-it-all writer in me is like, “Yeah, sure whatever. I don’t have time to keep a million journals on everything.”
I don’t have the time not to keep journals and notebooks on everything. Notebooks are essential to any writer. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, historical fiction, fantasy, anything! my first recommendation to you is to keep notebooks. You may find that keeping one Mary Poppins type notebook for everything works for you, or you might like to have a different journal for every subject or topic.
I myself have six main notebooks that I would like to introduce to you.
There are only five in this pic because one was started after I took this.
1) Journal/Personal/Diary/Observation. (Blue-floral in the top left corner.)
I write my few diary/journal posts in this one. Third person, unspecific. I always refer to myself as ‘she’ or ‘her’. It’s an interesting perspective and a good writing exercise. I also try not to mention any other names either. My friends’ names I can’t help much, but with family I always say, ‘her brother’, ‘her dad’, ‘her mom’, etc. Also, any random quotes, phrases, random things that speak to me or I want to remember I write in this one. I copy things into here sometimes from devotionals or books too. In the front are two binder-type pockets that I keep pictures, letters, drawings, clippets; anything I want to keep or remember that I don’t want to copy into the actual notebook.
2) The Nonesense Book. (middle top.)
I love this one. This is my writing/inspirational/random notebook. I brainstorm in this one, write tidbits, plot outlines and ideas, tips, writing exercises, character sketches, inspiration flashes, etc. Anything related to writing.
3) My blogging notebook. (upper right.)
I write out all my blog/vlog posts in this one. I put outlines, answer questions, write down ideas and posts I want to remember to write later on.
4) Name book. (lower left, the pink one.)
You know how when you make a typo or you hear a name in passing and you think, ‘Wow! That’s an awesome name, I need to remember that one.’ Those all go in this notebook. Character names, book titles, chapter titles, map/world names, anything like that goes in here.
Random examples from my namebook: Candiel(typo from trying to type my last name), Arno, Asil(my name backwards), Bianco/Bianca, Musava, White Desert Prince, The End of the Apocalypse, Defying All Odds(Dao), Disegno– and those were all just from the latest page I’ve been writing in.
5) Wreck This Journal.
Whoo, hoo! Here comes to fun part! Wow… where do I even begin. I found my Wreck This Journal at a used bookstore(luckily this one was NOT used XD) and I got it because it it full of randomness and craziness and destruction. Examples of the wreckage are: Climb up high, Drop the journal. Tie string to the journal; Go for a walk, drag it. Bring this book in the shower with you. Place Sticky Things here; honey, gum, syrup, glue, sucker, marshmallow, etc.
It is so fun. Written by Keri Smith, she’s also published several other amazing books such as Finish This Book and This is Not a Book. Go check her out(search for her or the book on Google). I would recommend all her books to anyone of any age. They are matchless.
6) My Heritage of Heroes book.
Looks so sweet, cute, and innocent, right? NOT! Here I plan all my evil, horrible, torturous plottingness for Volume 1 of HoH. (actually, I haven’t gotten past the “This Journal Belongs to;” page, but I’m getting there!) So anyway, I have a whole notebook dedicated to Heritage of Heroes, primarily Vol. 1, but any of the others as well until the notebook is full. I am going to copy my outline into here, names, ideas, scenes, quotes/dialog I want to remember to put in the book, etc.
Journal/notebook keeping is invaluable when it comes to writing. It helps you remember things you would otherwise probably forget, and helps you clear your thoughts. You can brainstorm and come back later to review the results with a cooler, relaxed mind. I wish I’d started sooner ^^