Monday, February 15, 2016

3 Notebooks Every Writer Needs

College can be busy. And that's only one stage of an even busier life to come. For us writers, we have to get used to snatching moments to write whenever they come. A lot of the time I write on my laptop or jot things down on my phone. But let's face the facts here. In the middle of class, you're not always allowed to have your laptop or phone out. And you're not always going to have access to your laptop or phone in real life either. So what do you do? Your ideas need a place to be stored or they're going to vanish! You need a backup plan.

You need a notebook. From my experience, you need three notebooks. They need to be in your backpack, purse, or whatever at all times to be available to store your strokes of genius whenever you have them. I carry these three notebooks in my backpack throughout the week. I bring them out for lunch breaks and even during class! Since I started using them regularly, I have had a surge of creative productivity. Want to hear about them?

1. A Life Notebook 

So Pretty!

Let's face it, the day can get pretty crazy. Things can go really bad. You get sad or mad. Things go really, really well. You get happy or excited. Our emotions from either end of the spectrum can overwhelm us throughout the day. Maybe it's not an emotion per say, but a problem or thought that is growing in your mind. Recording these while they are fresh can help you release them. Once they're on paper and out of your head you can process them and deal with them.

As a Christian writer, I also use this notebook to record lessons God teaches me throughout the day. I record encouragements and doubts, triumphs and failures, and how they impact me.

This notebook is not meant to be a diary. You don't have to make it personal and secret. Try recording your thoughts and experiences from a different point of view. Who knows, these insights might prove useful in future character development.

2. A General Creativity Notebook

As writers, we notice things that other people don't. That's a unique talent of ours. We notice. We observe. Throughout the day, any number of things can strike you. The person who sits alone at lunch, the look of the trees in the winter, or the color of the sky at sunset. These images in your head deserve to be recorded!

A general creativity notebook is where you want to record these snatches of life that you observe. That could be anything from creatively describing a person's appearance to jotting down an interesting section of conversation. You never know what random detail will spark a story in your mind. This notebook could become a future goldmine for you if you work to keep it full.

3. A Main Novel Notebook

Because your main story needs it's space!
This is the notebook where you keep those tidbits that you just know could be used in your story! Character descriptions, setting ideas, character quotes, the possibilities are endless!

Sometimes, I've been sitting in class and something the professor says will give me an idea. I take out my novel notebook (looking extra studious) and write it out in class. It's amazing the story ideas that come to you in college classes.

I like to fill my notebook with FreeThinking exercises too. I choose a character or plot point and just write out my thoughts until the thoughts stop coming. Through this exercise, I've been able to clear out my head enough to make breakthroughs in character and plot development. 

What You'll Need

This is all up to personal preference of course. But here is how I went about creating my three writer notebooks.

Pretty Main Novel Notebook!
For my Life Notebook and General Creativity Notebook I wanted to go with something small. You want them to be able to fit into your purse or your backpack without taking up too much room. The pages will be tiny but remember you're not writing a whole story in them. They're just for recording snippets. My two notebooks come from Punch Studio. I loved the designs on the front. They keep me inspired! Make sure you either make or buy notebooks that appeal to you aesthetically.

My Main Novel Notebook needed to have more space for creativity to spread around. At the time, since I was already buying college notebooks, I bought one more and set it aside as my Novel Notebook. It's a Five Star single subject college-ruled notebook with a pretty plastic cover. It even has a pocket inside where I can stick any random notes or inspiration that I need to.

I keep all three of these notebooks in my backpack, so I always have access to them. Even though I've only been using all three for a few months and I'm already seeing a big change. My writing habits are growing and I'm feeling much more productive amid my busy schedule. Remember, not all college classes/or real world situations allow you to have your computer nearby. You need to be able to capture all your creative thoughts immediately!

Have fun making or buying your own writing notebooks! Tell me if you have any other tips for capturing ideas or making use of free time for writing. Do you already have a creative writing notebook? How has it changed your writing habits? 
Have a great day, everyone! 


  1. that's such a cool idea, and the notebooks are also gorgeous. O_O I love the idea of having a journal dedicated to things that the Lord is helping you journey through. I kind of dedicate one of my tumblrs to that, but like you said, sometimes you don't have access to a computer or your phone. Plus lets face it...snuggling up in a blanket beside the fire with a BOOK AND PEN in hand kind of beats a laptop or a phone. Haha. Love this idea

    1. Thanks, Katie! Its great to have you stop by. Yes! Snuggling up under a nice fuzzy blanket with paper and pen is the BEST. I loved your post "1000 letters to Him" I look forward to seeing more!

  2. This is a nifty idea! I have so many notebooks. This is a neat way to sort them. ^ ^

    1. I'm so glad you like it! Even with this method somehow I always manage to write an idea down somewhere else from time to time. Oh well, as long as we get the idea down that's what counts. I should have included the sticky notes I always use as an emergency back-up plan to these three notebooks. :)


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