We’ve all heard it before. Look at any list of writing tips, advice from history’s famous writers, recommendations from your local writer’s group or favourite blog. Carry a notebook. It’s painted as one of the most valuable methods to finish your book, one of the ways that you can look like a writer, feel like a writer, write like a writer. But, when all is said and done: Why?
What makes a notebook beneficial? Why not rely on your smartphone or tablet? They’re handy and you won’t run out of paper or ink. Or why not rely on secondhand paper—the back of a grocery receipt, or the bottom of a parking ticket? For that matter, why not rely on your memory?
- Your notebook is a promise. Carrying a notebook is your commitment to your creativity. It says that you’re ready to blindfold that pesky editor who sits on your shoulder. We all have them: practical, objective, revising every flaw and criticizing every idea before our book can truly form. Your editorial voice does have a place, but it’s not here—your notebook should be a haven for free thinking, a stepping stone to a first draft, and an invitation for your creative side to flourish.
- Jotting notes down leads to insights, deeper connections, and aids non-linear thinking. A notebook is a warehouse for your thoughts, ideas, and daydreams, a toolkit of smaller intentions that form the blueprint for bigger and better concepts—one idea fastening to another to reveal clear patterns. Try reviewing your notes after a week, or a month. What connections do you see?
- Your notebook is distraction-free. Let’s face it: most of writing involves “applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.” But inspiration does strike, so it’s critical you be prepared to catch the spark and put it to paper. Your notebook won’t lose battery charge, send you emails, or ask for bill payments. Life throws book-ready details at you when you least expect it—and it’s much easier to chase the muse with pen and paper than with a beeping cellphone.
The next time you’re running out the door, tuck that notebook in your pocket. You have a book to write.
Written by Sarah Mitchell, FriesenPress Publishing Specialist
Edited by Christian Fink-Jensen, FriesenPress Marketing Manager