Tuesday, 16 October 2012

I write ... So I'm a writer ... Right?

This past few weeks I have not actually been too distracted from writing at all and this is mostly down to my notebook. My lovely writerly notebook that keeps me being a writer no matter what else I am doing...

I had something of an epiphany a couple of weeks ago when, challenged with unavoidable distractions, I realised that to say (even to myself) that I am too 'stressed' to write is like saying I am too tired to sleep or too hungry to eat. Quite simply no matter what is going on, I need to spend some time (even a couple of minutes in a day) with my notebook and I need to do this as much as I need any of life's other essentials.

It's taken years for me to get to this!
I've always enjoyed a good bit of stationery - Best Christmas present ever was the post-office, so many different bits of paper, so many possibilities! - My current notebook was a present from a colleague, a 'gentle' encouragement to keep on writing. In itself this is a marker for how far I have come, I no longer hide my writing like a 'dirty' embarrassing secret, I actually tell people it's what I do ... well some people anyway.

Successful writers tell aspiring writers to get a notebook and write in it and kind writers go on to say that once you have a notebook and you are writing in it, then you are a writer!

It sounds easy doesn't it!
So why has it taken me so long? Well I am very very slow to catch on and took me quite a time to work out WHAT to write...

Then a couple of years ago, when I really started trying to be a writer, studying about writing and really trying to write, I found this quote and it galvanized my relationship with my notebook.

Two years on, I can see that having this quote has helped me develop into a writer. It has liberated me to enjoy time with my notebook.

  • to reflect on memories (recent or distant or imagined)
  • to explore possibilities (for stories or characters or settings or conflicts)
  • to play with words and and phrases and ideas 
  • to make lists (about why I'm happy or sad or cross; about what I need to do next to stop being cross or sad; about what I need to do to my characters to make them happy or sad or cross)
Quite simply, this quotation gave me the freedom to pick up my notebook every day and spend time with it and by some freak of human brain magic this developed into a habit, a writerly habit; a disposition; a compulsion. 

How about you? 
What does your notebook mean to you and how does it help you be the writer you want to be?
Reply below or use #notebook on Twitter.

Oh and if you haven't got a notebook then GET ONE and write in it every day ... and if you're not sure what to write, write this quote and see where it takes you...


  1. I love my notebooks! It's a well known thing in my family that 'TK Maxx' has the best cut price notebooks and I pick up new ones regularly!
    I carry one everywhere for notes, lists etc...ideas!
    Hope yours works well for you!

    1. Hi Lisa, will give TKM a try! Any excuse.
      I am completely notebook dependent but this has really moved me on with my thinking about writing and, more recently, my actual writing of WIP.
      Thanks again x

  2. That is a truly gorgeous notebook! I'm not surprised you love it. The phrase is a real inspiration too. I think I use my blog as my notebook now, although I always used to keep a diary in the old days. I have tons of hardback diaries I'll have to hide from my daughter when she starts being nosey about how life was when I was a teenager, ;o) It's lovely to find another person who shares the same passion for words! Keep writing!

  3. On behalf of my notebook, I thank you!
    I think keeping a diary is a brave thing to do! Not something I've ever really got on with which is why I think I struggled so long with the idea of daily writing - the quote really helped me over this hurdle and of course, when I do look back, I can track all kinds of things going on in my life as well as that of my characters.
    Hope you manage to keep yours from your curious offspring - especially whilst they're still teenagers!!!
    Thank you for your comments and encouragement xx

  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE notebooks! And yes TKM is a great place for beautiful satin, beaded, inspiring books to scribble in. I too have been obsessed with stationery for as long as I can remember. Just the possibilities of what that paper could lead to is enough to give me butterflies! Writing every day (whenever possible) is the only way for me. Good luck with your WIP - if I can do it, anyone can!! :)

  5. Amanda, you are very kind in your encouragement ... And it's always great to find like-minded notebook 'nutty' folk to share ideas with Xx

  6. Really, you can never have too many notebooks. I have one in my everyday handbag that I bought in the Lake District, a smaller one with a magnetic clasp in my more eveningish bag, the one from Paris on my desk, oh - and a big foolscap one on the couch next to me to use while watching TV (cause you never know when inspiration will strike).

  7. I agree completely travellingbag - although I did get myself in a muddle so tend to just have one 'one the go' now, which I carry everywhere, with plenty in reserve!
    I love the idea of a foolscap one for BIG ideas!!!
    Thanks for your comment x

  8. I have horrid handwriting that refuses to be legible so i only ever use my notebook for emergencies (like during meetings when I must write my thoughts down so i can concentrate on my other job).

  9. DJ thanks for your honesty! My handwriting is somewhat erratic but I do think differently with pen and paper than I do on a keyboard - definitely messier though.