Monday, January 31, 2011

What's In Your Writing Notebook?

On Saturday, I went to the art gallery, something I haven't done for ages, and happened upon an exhibit of some of the notebooks of contemporary visual artist Betty Godwin. It was fascinating to get a glimpse of someone else's notes and sketches. It made me think about all the stuff in my own notebooks - I have about 20 of them. My notebook has evolved from an ordinary journal to a space for working out writing ideas. Here are the kinds of things I have in my most recent one:

1. Lots of notes about what I'm working out for my latest novel
2. Ideas about upcoming blog posts for the ABCs of writing for middle graders
3. A list of interesting looking books I saw at Indigo
4. E-mail and query info for agents that I jotted down while web surfing
5. Especially useful blog articles on writing techniques that I've printed out and glued in for future reference
6. Personal notes on my life, my writing-related experiences and my feelings
7. Random notes about my novels that I write on scrap paper (e.g. old parking stubs) but have glued in here so I don't lose them
8. Weird made up words and lists of potential character names

Do you keep a writing notebook? What kinds of things do you put in it?


  1. I have a great notebook that also has little envelopes in it, so I can stick photos etc in there too. It's full of random thoughts, shiny new ideas, plot ideas and character names. I take it with me whenever I'm away from home.

  2. I have a habit of jotting things down on small bits of paper, instead of in a notebook--not because I don't have a notebook. I do. Lots of them :) I just seem to prefer small bits of paper (which I then stuff into my notebooks).

  3. I just started keeping a new notebook on my WIP -- but I have several that have several book ideas. Mostly scenes that wake me up in the middle of the night or little notes about characters.

  4. I keep a writing journal on a word doc and use it more to record the roller coaster of ups and downs. That's about it. It's kind of fun to read back later.

  5. Andrea, I love your new blue look!

    I also have notebooks, yet like Andrea H I put a lot of very important notes on bits of paper that crowd around the base of my monitor like presents under the tree. :)Maybe they do seem like treasures or gifts that way.

    Come on over to my blog and see if maybe you won anything. :)

  6. What a great look to your blog. So nice! I also love all of the things you put in your notebook. I personally like to have a book per WIP. Each of those notebooks are special because they hold memories for me.

  7. Christy, it's true. There's so much in my notebooks, they do hold lots of memories.

    Karen and Christy, I like your idea of being a bit more organized by having a notebook for each WIP. I don't know if if will ever work for me, though, like you Laura, I do keep a word.doc with thoughts specific to each WIP (maybe I should do less journalling and more writing)!

    Marcia, I love finding the bits of paper that I've glued into my notebooks, I do think of them as treasures. Wow, I'm so surprised I won your contest - thank you!!

    Girl Friday - the idea of a journal with little envelopes is awesome (runs off to make some of her own)!


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