The art of the notebook

Shawn Thomas Anderson_The art of the notebook.JPG

Grab your pen and paper, and let’s write!

They are the original tools of the trade. Notebooks are portable, and it’s okay if they get wet or trashed. Crisp blank pages, a creative cover, and endless possibilities—I’m a sucker for a shiny, new notebook.

“Choose your tools carefully, but not so carefully that you get uptight or spend more time at the stationery store than at your writing table.”
Natalie Goldberg

Whether it’s writing a quick scene in the car between kids’ pickups and practices, outlining a next project at the library, or meeting friends to write in a coffee shop, at some point in my writing process, I always return to the act of connecting an old-school pen to paper.

“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.”
— Jack London

Notebooks can also help shake things up and get you unstuck. Sometimes pushing the keyboard aside and creating in a fresh medium can remove writer’s block and get the words flowing.

“Take out another notebook, pick up another pen, and just write, just write, just write. In the middle of the world, make one positive step. In the center of chaos, make one definitive act. Just write. Say yes, stay alive, be awake. Just write. Just write. Just write.”
Natalie Goldberg

Sometimes it’s fun to just take a personal day and devote it to filling a notebook. Just write with the sole purpose of consuming the entire notebook in a deluge of words. Write big, write small, diagram, map out the plot, leap from topic to topic, write about how you are feeling as you write — just fill the damn book. Let it take you to places where you never thought you’d go.

“The idea of just wandering off to a café with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.”
 — J.K. Rowling