The Teeny Notebook

It’s one of the writer’s essential tools. Because almost any writer will find that ideas, scraps, tidbits, lines of unattached dialogue, descriptions, etcetera, run past their brain many times a day. The more writing you do, the more this happens. And some of that might be worth saving. So it’s essential to carry a teeny notebook and scribble things down.

It’s also nice to be able to go back and look over that stuff when you’re shy of inspiration. It can be a place to start. Or at least you can boggle yourself–exactly what was I thinking about when I wrote down ‘purple pantsuit with yellow flowers’?

If you’re more the type who says things out loud, you can always get one of those little voice note recorders to perform the same function. This makes it easier when you’re driving and an image strikes. Most cell phones have a voice note recorder, though a bit more complicated to use than a specific device for that purpose.

Alas, there’s not yet a solution for being in the shower and getting an idea you want to write down…


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cliff Burns
    Jul 13, 2008 @ 09:23:36

    I’m NEVER without a pen and pad, even one beside the bed should an idea or title or character occur to me while I’m in some strange, hypnogogic state. Funny what can occur to a person out of the blue–Annie Dillard talks about a religious epiphany she experienced while staring at a tree in the sun. Artists have to be prepared for such moments, when the skies clear and an image or notion appears seemingly out of the blue. That’s magic…

  2. asherose
    Jul 13, 2008 @ 10:00:54

    Exactly. These gifts from the gods of inspiration should not be spurned. And we all know that saying to oneself, ‘oh, I’ll remember that all right–that’s good!’ means it will fall out of short term memory and be tragically lost.

  3. Gary Murning
    Jul 13, 2008 @ 10:24:13

    I have a couple of PDAs, a smart phone and a tiny digital voice recorder that can hold up to seventeen hours of dictation (which can then be automatically transcribed by my voice recognition software) — and still I’m strangely fond of scraps of paper! It’s a nostalgia thing, I think 🙂 I don’t use the old method as much as I once did but I always feel that I should… that these newfangled methods are somehow sacrilegious! 🙂

    But this is so true. Relying on one’s memory just isn’t a good idea (especially for me!) In the early days, I spent many a frustrating morning trying to remember something that had occurred to me the night before and which I’d been too cocky to bother writing down. Not any more!

  4. dianegallant
    Jul 13, 2008 @ 10:30:16

    This is exactly what I do, too. I carry a small notebook around with me and will write in it whenever I either get a story idea or a bit of dialogue or an image or whatever.

  5. asherose
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 09:20:48

    Gary, now that’s a lot of different ways to keep the ideas going! Do you find it needful to go through and organize them nowadays?

    I, too, have a thing about paper. In fact I have a deep desire to own notebooks and paper pads and journals and especially pens of amusing colors. Lots of them. I do tend to start my works by hand, and then transfer them to the computer when they feel viable enough, or I want to print them out.

  6. Gary Murning
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 10:59:00

    All of my devices, on the whole, synchronise automatically, Kathleen. What I alter on one is updated on the other. Not that I use all them at the same time! It’s mood dependent, and, also, environment is a consideration. Using the digital voice recorder isn’t really feasible when it’s noisy, for example.

    To be honest, pads, notebooks and journals — as much as I love them — are rather inconvenient for me. I have a physical disability that makes working longhand (or typing, for that matter) pretty labourious. Hence my use of, predominantly, voice recognition software. But paper and pen, I’d have to say, would in an ideal world be my preferred method! For notes, at least!

  7. asherose
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 11:00:16

    I bow down to your technological astuteness! I’m not worthy! 🙂

  8. Gary Murning
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 11:02:09

    Not a geek, yet, but I’m gettin’ there 😉

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