Friday, March 14, 2014

The Notebook

Like many authors, I have a notebook. I don't carry it around with me, though that's the usual recommendation. I have too much other stuff I have to haul from one place to another. (My husband jokes that purse could double as a boat anchor.) However, I do keep the notebook next to my bed, in case I'm struck by inspiration in the middle of the night. More than one of my tales has had its origins in one of my vivid dreams.

The most important purpose for my little book is to record my ideas while they're still fresh, before all the myriad pressures of my daily life push them out of my mind. Once I've scribbled down a title, or a plot premise, or a character sketch, I can let go of it and move on to the next challenge, knowing it's all there for me when I return. (Well, that's relative. Sometimes when I go back, I can't read my scrawls, especially if they were written in the dark!) That gives me a sense of freedom and relief.

I guard that notebook as carefully as if it were covered with gold leaf. It's the repository of my imagination.

When I'm feeling glum about my writing, I sometimes flip through the pages to revive my spirits. It's hard for me to find the time to write. I get frustrated because my output is so low. Then I look at all the story ideas in the earlier pages of the notebook that actually have made it onto the page and into the world, and I realize that, slow or not, I'm making progress.

The ideas waiting to be born - the stories I plan to write "one of these days" - also encourage me. Even if I never have another inspiration, I have quite a backlog to fuel my future efforts.

If you write, and you don't have a notebook, you might want to start one. It's more than just a practical tool; it can be a valuable source of moral support.

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