Keeping a Writer's Notebook

Keeping a Writer’s Notebook suggests something right-click writers miss: Writing Down Your Own Thoughts.

Given the cut-and-paste ethics have mutated the word “inspiration” to be more akin to music sampling, there’s something to be said for seeking inspiration off line.


Pocketmod PDA

I’ve kept one for years. Good post DCrux!

Yes, but why? And what should be in it?

Never Be Blocked: Keep a Writer’s Notebook gives some hints.

SitePoint did an article a while back on keeping a copywriter’s swipe file. I felt it’s a recipe for carbon-copier-writers, despite the article’s admonishments.

What counteracts the ill effects of the copywriter’s swipe file is the notebook section where you interpret three, five or twenty different “swipes.” This instills within a writer the working knowledge of how to write copy.

For other types of writer’s I suggest a variety of exercises.

One I’ve mentioned here before is to sit before a brick wall. Count up three bricks, across five and write a story about that one brick.

For something which might be more appealing, do some crowdwatching. Pick individuals and couples or even groups and make up a story for them, writing the story down in your notebook.

Do this, and you’ll be far less likely to come here wondering what to write about.

These are all great recommendations, especially for those of us who constantly run into that CREATIVE BRICK WALL. When that happens or if I am in dire need of a writing break, I outsource my writing. But maybe I should put the writer’s notebook into practice, and keep notes. Thanks guys.

I keep my inspiration pad separate from my ideas and doodle pad… their both housed in the lovely Microsoft OneNote (the best app for the job I’ve found) and any quirky idea I’ve ever come up with (post the apps release) has been funnelled into the application, whether short scribbles scanned in, doodles on my graphics pad, blocks of text or anything else that I started writing but never got round to implementing :slight_smile:

Alex, I have to say I agree with you. I tend to keep my scribbling separate. I used to keep a daily journal, have done so before I even became a Journalist. Now, I keep notes on my computer. Creative ideas on one folder, things I have learned on another, and just simple everyday thoughts on yet another folder.

Seek inspiration everywhere, be it offline or on!

Seek inspiration everywhere, be it offline or on!

Then apparently not…

Website Themes Require Words Go With The Pretty Pictures talks about using your own website theme as inspiration. A vanishing small percentage do.

An advanced writing (branding) exercise is tying the skin into the rest of the site and, thus, turn a superficial styling into a theme. And I wish making the text and pictures refer to each other on a site weren’t an advanced skill, but that’s just not the way the web worked out. Sharing a common bucket doesn’t get the job done.

Consequently all the gimmicks look more like an episode from the TV series LOST. You think a website is going somewhere with its design, but you’d be wrong. Try using the skin you haven’t connected to anything for writing inspiration …be the first on your block; er blog.

Separation of style from structure, and content from style was supposed to be a back-end development concern. Nobody tells you a real design brings all the separated pieces back together into one coherent whole. Sharing a common bucket doesn’t do the job.

I’m not much for pen and paper anymore, aside from writing down todo lists and writing on calendars. I’ve been writing on the computer since I was 8 or 9 (16 years or so), and that process comes more naturally to me. I almost can’t write on paper, I’m too used to being able to jump my cursor around, inserting sentences out of order, reordering paragraphs.

I don’t publish fiction anywhere, but I do write it occasionally just as a creative outlet. I keep the work as text files on the computer, written in plain old Notepad.

written in plain old Notepad.

And this leads to software for writers.

One project which has become interesting recently is Keynote.

While I keep ideas on my computer, I also keep a pen and ink notebook. You see something while driving or shopping, hear something on the radio, or discuss an idea with a friend that just could turn into something special. Sometimes maybe just a memory crops up and you think, “Gee I could write about that!”

My writer’s journal is my “brainstorm”. What ever comes into mind goes into it.

DCrux, have you seen this tool? It’s pretty interesting too: :slight_smile:

Haven’t seen this particular project. However, I have InfoSelect which is commercial software.

I downloaded it. Looks like a pretty sharp learning curve in order to use it. :frowning:

It’s a bit bare bones but it is a productivity tool, those “Getting things done” apps are usually pretty funky to get used to, I use MyLife Organized to manage my schedule and that took me a week to get used to, but now I can’t imagine living without it, it’s improved my workflow so much so that I can’t work fast enough to keep up with the ever growing to-do lists. If only my brain were as scheduled and speedy as my computer, I would be sorted! :lol:

the notebook seems great. sometimes i prefer to write something with the use of pen and paper. i can think more with i do that.