Writing

Why Every Writer Needs A Notebook

  • December 17, 2011

Writing Notebook

Just as photographers carry a camera with them, the best and most famous writers of all time carried notebooks with them at all times, and as an aspiring or already established writer, you should too. If you don’t believe me, here is a list of famous writers who all used notebooks. By the way, the names of these folks were found here and here. By the way, the second forementioned list is of writers who used Moleskine notebooks. My notebook is my second most prized possession, second only to my digital camera.

What’s In My Notebook
I write everything in one notebook. Some folks use multiple notebooks for each interest, and recently Moleskine has started to capitalize upon this new trend. I’m a bit of a minimalist when it comes to writing and photography; when out on location, I typically bring only what is necessary to get the job accomplished, and leave the rest of my gear safe at home.

To get the most out of my writing, I typically jot down anything that comes to my mind that has a good chance of being useful in the future. Sometimes, I’ll write down random quotes, ideas, or concepts that I’ve found to be interesting or inspiring at the moment. My notebook is a mashup of my personal journal, facts and figures, doodles, thoughts, memories, writing kick-starters, or anything else that I wish to remember. I’d be devistated if I was to ever lose or misplace it, which is why there’s always no-questions-asked cash reward for the safe return of my notebooks written detailed on the inside of the front cover on page one.

When The Nervous Breakdown approached me and asked me to be a writer for their website, their instructions were too vague enough for me, and I was unfortunately forced to politely turn them down.

The Nervous Breakdown asked me to put all thoughts aside and to “…throw a bunch of shit at the wall and see what stinks.”

I rarely, if ever write for any websites besides my own, unless of course, I’m being paid to do so. But that didn’t stop me from allowing Current Photographer to license some of my material, with full credit. The deal with Current Photographer proved to be one of the greatest keys to my success, in terms of exposure and the eventual traffic revenue to my website.

Practical Information Gathering
In recent years, we have seen a multitude of television programs that document the disastrous effects that hoarding has had on peoples lives. Since the Internet has become a popular and massive source of information, we have started to see a new breed of so-called information hoarders, or digital hoarders. If you don’t believe me, check out this article about digital hoarding and the Internet.

Sure, to some, any blog might appear to be an information hoard, and a notebook filled with drivel that only the notebook owner might find interesting might appear to be a hoard of sorts. There is a difference here; anybody can collect useless information, and just about any computer-savvy person can post a blog filled with the same useless content, but it takes intelligence and talent to post useful and informative things.

Keeping a notebook or journal is a great way to track your journey through life, to keep track of trends, moods, travels, interests, or just about anything else, as long as you fill it with useful things, not just anything. The difference between hoarding and practical journaling is having a specific focus and goal and sticking to it. Hoarders generally collect anything they can attach emotion or feeling to, regardless of what it may be, and will generally keep this habit a close secret, whereas people like me choose to display it publicly in blogs and websites. Believe it or not, but there is a clear difference.

Going Public Via The Internet
This may sound rude, but I kind of miss the early days of the Internet when TomSlatin.com made its official debut in 1998. In the early days of the Internet, website hosting was quite expensive, and a domain name registration would typically cost anywhere from $50 to $100 per year. At the time, the commercial software that automatically coded WYSIWYG HTML was expensive. The costs involved in maintaining even small websites was prohibitive to all but the most serious of folks who truly wanted and/or needed a website. This meant that with the exception of a very few select people actually had websites, and those that were willing to pay, sometimes a considerable amount of money to have them, took the time to create some brilliant and creative things.

These days, the opposite is true. Domain names are cheap, with some being under $3 for a one-year registration. Blogs have taken over, and sites like Tumblr make it so easy to create and host content, that it seems that just about everybody is doing it. Everybody, it seems, except for those who should be doing it, like a friend of mine who is an English professor at a local university, who has literally stacks and stacks of notebooks, but never learned how to use a computer, and unfortunately, it is very likely that none of this valuable and brilliant information will ever go public.

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3 Comments on Why Every Writer Needs A Notebook

  • Ileandra Young says:
    December 18, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    I must admit, I don’t leave the house without my notebook in my handbag now. I get terrified that I’m going to see something awesome and will miss/forget it if I don’t write it down!

    Reply

    • Thomas says:
      December 19, 2011 at 11:36 AM

      Right, but you are already an established writer, so this must come as absolutely no news whatsoever to you.

      Thanks for letting me know that I’m not the only one who brings along a notebook wherever I go. What I really should be doing is backing-up my notebook to cloud storage in case of physical loss of the notebook itself. Still, I’d be devastated if it ever did go missing, backedup or not.

      Reply

  • Kristina D. Cannon says:
    December 26, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    It is true that writers need their notebook every where they go but today they don’t need a pen and a notebook all they need is a laptop 🙂

    Reply

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