One of my lusts, though, I can always indulge in because one can never have too many: wire-bound notebooks. They come in many colors and patterns and sizes; they come with tightly spaced lines, with more loosely spaced lines, with graph paper, or blank; some have pockets; some have dividers; the wire ring may be on the left, top (great for us lefties!), or right. There's a wire-bound notebook for every conceivable purpose, and obviously one needs to have one of each kind on hand, just in case!
Here's how I use them in my writing.
- Notes for novels. I start a fresh notebook for each novel. In it, I jot down title ideas, character ideas, plot ideas, timelines, lists of features of places or characters, maps, mind maps, and other aids to writing the book. Sometimes I also keep track of how many hours I work each day on that book and how many words I produced.
- Client contacts. I keep a notebook near the phone and use it to take notes when I have a phone meeting with a client or when a possible new client calls me to discuss a project. I write down the date and the client's name, email address, and phone number (even for existing clients). With this notebook, I can always find the details of a conversation quickly or remind myself of someone's name.
- Random jottings. I keep a smaller notebook in my purse so that any time I have an idea, I can write it down before I forget. I pull it out when I have a story idea, when someone recommends a book or a make-up or a costume supplier, when I see a book at the bookstore that looks interesting but I want to check whether I already have it, the name and email address of writers I meet, and various and sundry other notes.
- Conference notes. When I go to writers' conferences or sf/f cons, I see many people at the panels just listening to the speakers. If I did that, the information would disappear from my brain the moment I walked out the door. I have to reinforce what I'm hearing by writing it down and looking at it on the page. So I always carry a notebook at conferences to take notes in. (It also gives me a place to write down the time and location of parties people tell me about.) The notebooks with hard backs are particularly useful for notetaking without a desk.
- Blog ideas. I have a notebook dedicated to ideas for blog posts for those weeks in which I can't think of a topic.
- Word ideas. I have trouble making up alien words for sf/f stories. So I keep a little notebook in which I write down the words that pop up for word verification in blogs and Websites that have comment moderation enabled.
How do you use notebooks to help you with your writing? Have I missed any valuable uses?
Thanks for stopping by today. I'll be blogging again on November 5, when I'll talk a little about the brainstorming technique of mind mapping.