Beside my desk (and on top and inside and most likely in various other places around my room) there are notebooks. I use them to journal, to collect ideas, to think, to study, to plan, and to dream. Every book I've written has it's own notebook (or several). In these notebooks I collect ideas, I follow tangents, build character profiles, paste pictures that inspire me or articles relevant to the topic I'm exploring. I attempt to draw scenes (note: I am not much of an artist), experiment with voice, play around with dialogue. And I plot in these notebooks too; sketching story arcs, cutting and pasting chapter outlines or itemising content. I also use the notebooks to keep track of my writing progress - what I wrote today, what was difficult, what a publisher has requested I change, what I am pleased with, where I think I'll head tomorrow (or whenever I get to sit down with the project again). To anyone else the sequence of entries in these notebooks would be nearly illogical, and certainly unintelligible. But to me they hold the heart and promise of what I'm working on.
A notebook can be messy because it promises resolution. It can be cluttered and clumsy, because I'm the only one that has to read it. It holds both the dead ends of a project and the spark of life.
I love my notebooks. I choose them carefully, begin them with a mix of trepidation and excitement, and find myself at home within their pages. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I love stationary stores so much? Perhaps it's why I always keep a little stash of new ones tucked away and waiting for just the right time. Like yesterday. When I chose this one from that stash and began something new.
The Penny Drops
In high school I used to write what I'd call 'thinks' - little bits of writing about whatever topic or issue I was mulling over at the time. I still write these little pieces.
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