This has become one of the must have and must write about topic for writers and possibly to all creatives as well. So I’m jumping onto the bang wagon and write a post about it.
When I was a lot younger and first started to write, no one ever told me that I would need to keep notes. During that stage, most of my writing was about what was happening in my life. It was more like journal writing, hence no notes were ever needed.
It was the time when I started uni and took up writing seriously that I was told the importance of keeping a notebook. I became obsessed about carrying one at all time and made sure I had one in each room of my house. And to make sure that I was a "real" writer, I made loads and loads of notes in all the notebooks. After awhile, I realized that I was writing down notes for the notebook’s sake as well as to satisfy my vanity. I imagined people being impressed by my writing attire. The note writing took precedent to writing stories!
After this realization, I made a careful study of my notes in relation to my writing projects. The discovery was astounding. As I was never into pre-planning a story, it only made sense that I jotted down notes while I was actually writing the story. Those "notes" in the notebook was more like a to-do-list or a reminder of what sort of research I needed to do for the writing projects. Story ideas and story writing never landed in the notebooks at all!
I know that lots of writers would grab their notebooks, go out say to a shopping mall and write down their observations. I admire greatly to writers who do this. In my case, I don’t really do that or I may have done it but not on a conscious level. I tend to soak up my surroundings and recall the experience and observation when needed.
At present, I’m still keeping a notebook in my bag out of habit and to satisfy the natural worry-er in me. (You know, the "just in case" theory.) But I found the most convenient notepad is the index card. I learn this from Anne Lamott, author of "Bird by Bird – Some Instructions on Writing and Life", which is one of my favourite books on writing. These cards are small and easy to store. Like when I walk my dog, I just get 2 or 3 of the index cards, fold them in half plus a pen, stuff them in my jean’s pocket and off I go. I also keep 2 in my purse.
All of these notes taking business also reflect the way I write my stories. Before computers became affordable to most people, I relied on paper and pen to write. But since computers have become a lot cheaper and more users friendly, I have given up the traditional way and right now could only write with my laptop. In fact I found the idea to write a story with pen and paper alien!
How about you, fellow writers (and extends to fellow creatives as well)? Do you use a notebook? And what do you put in it?