Writer, you NEED to keep a notebook

“I’ll remember it later.” It’s the lie that sentences countless ideas to oblivion each day, especially for writers, since we’re ceaselessly coming up with and processing new ideas.

Fresh ideas have a knack for hitting us out of nowhere: in bed, in the shower, out for walks, at our day job, during meals, etc.

So we say, “I’ll remember it later.” Except we don’t, because that’s one of the biggest fibs since I read and agree to the terms and conditions.

The solution isn’t a mystery: keep a notebook. Or, if you don’t like the bulk, try sticky notes. Or a phone app. Anything that lets you jot down ideas as quickly as you can and come back to them later.

Arnold-do-it-now

I stubbornly refused to follow this sage advice for a long time, and I wonder how many great ideas were lost because of my pride. I thought my brain was a steel cage. Turns out it’s more like a wad of Silly Putty.

Now I keep a notebook. Jotting things down has become a healthy habit. Here’s  a sample list of what sort of ideas get barfed onto the pages:

  • New story ideas
  • Character and plot points for current works-in-progress
  • Future blog post topics
  • Potential character names
  • Novel title ideas
  • Daily schedules
  • Character relation charts
  • Map sketches
  • A to-read list
  • Character traits
  • Word-count objective charts
  • Random memos and errands
  • Nerdy pickup lines (just kidding…or am I?)

Not only do I use my notebook to record and store all those lists, plans, and brainstorming results, I also write in it. For a variety of reasons I prefer to write scenes and chapters on my laptop, but sometimes I need to go by hand, whether that’s due to Internet distractions, travel, really good weather outside, etc.

So I’m joining forces with all the other voices urging you to start keeping a notebook with or near you at all possible times. You won’t regret it, and your future brilliant ideas will thank you.

And no, you probably won’t remember it later.

gru

Do you keep a notebook already? What do you write in it? Where else do you jot down fresh ideas? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share and subscribe!

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13 thoughts on “Writer, you NEED to keep a notebook

  1. YES. Great advice. I have a whiteboard over my writing desk and it’s beyond helpful. I also keep journals to write down more detailed notes….Or notes that I don’t want up on my wall like, “Decapitate that one girl.” That tends to freak people out. =)

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  2. Great advice! I’ve been keeping a notebook for a little while now but I honestly have notes everywhere. Sticky notes on my computer, emails I sent to myself when my devices were gone, several lists on my phone app. And they’re all full of the most random of things; names, book titles, character ideas, story plots, family trees, poetry, interesting places, even quotes from great authors.While some of these are easier for me to get to than others, my notebook is my favorite to write in and then flip through to relive some of my craziest midnight epiphanies!

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    1. I don’t trust myself with sticky notes, mainly because I know I’ll end up losing them 😀 But I do keep a drawer full of random index cards (besides the notebook). ‘Midnight epiphanies’–love it!

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  3. Love the post! Despite my apparent disorganization I have several places where I keep things. I have several notebooks for story ideas, a couple notebooks for blog ideas and blog post schedule, one corkboard to pinup ideas on a current project, and two more cork boards to pin up random ideas and notes to myself, I also have several small pocket sized notebooks to take with me to write down ideas (later I transfer the ideas to the idea notebook), writing prompts, or anything else that hits me. It seems like a lot, but some days I have the memory of a goldfish!

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  4. I have multiple notebooks of all sorts of shapes and sizes dotting different spots in my home. I still have the water proof notebook on my wishlist on pinintrest though. So many ideas pop up when I’m in the shower. I think that’s the same with most people.

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