Thursday, April 19, 2012

Writer's Notebooks

Several years ago, my mother gave me a book for my birthday called "A Writer's Notebook" by Ralph Fletcher, and a lovely little notebook. The book described the kinds of things found in a Writer's Notebook, how to choose a good notebook for yourself, and some exercises to get your own writer's notebook started. For example, one of the exercises is to make a list of your favorite words to say (my list includes the words harpsichord, assam, concerto, waltz, and piazza.)

Since that day, I have filled several little notebooks with my "Writer's Notes", and other things (like a list of blog post ideas). I now recognize that the trick of carrying a notebook is not unique to writers, but still do some of the exercises in my current notebook, which has been carefully chosen to meet my notebook criteria. Three of my favorite CS professors carry small  notebooks to keep track of their ideas and to-do lists - and each one's notebook reflects their personality. For example, Dr. desJardins carries a floral print journal. She doesn't feel the need to write on the pages in order, she just finds an empty page, dates it, and writes the to-do things for that day. Dr. Rheingans has a simple dark green composition book in which she writes notes from our meetings and which she uses to reference old notes she'd made. Dr. Oates has a running Notepad on his MacBook to track his to-do list, and a 3 by 5 spiral index notebook to write things down when he doesn't have his MacBook.

Personally, my notebook is a mini-composition book, stamped with Hello Kitty. I had initially bought it for Katrina, but I liked the size so much that I kept it. It's a perfect size for both my purses, but not so big that it draws too much attention to itself. One last story to demonstrate the importance of these notebooks: my friend Dave has a list of things he never leaves the house without, and on that list is his small black moleskin and a pen. Do yourself a favor, and go buy one.

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