Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Writer's Notebook

If you’re like me, you’ve heard a lot of talk about writers having notebooks. A while back, I didn’t understand what the big deal was. Why write in a notebook that no one is going to read?
Today, I write in my notebook at least five times a week for a minimum of ten minutes, more when I can.
I find that writing in a notebook that is completely private (mine will be burned at my death), gives me a kind of freedom that I can’t really find in a manuscript that I’m writing for submission / publication. In my notebooks, I feel completely free to write sentences that are too long, write in bad English, and ramble.
What good is all this?
For one thing, you learn your rhythms as a writer. You know those days when you’re writing, and it’s worse than pulling teeth, it’s like getting a root canal on every root in your  mouth, no anesthesia? If you write in your notebook regularly, you see a pattern to those days: they come and go. No big deal. So when it happens in your “real” writing, it’s not nearly so traumatic. Those days used to make me think my career as a writer was over.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m a complete believer in notebook writing.
Give it a try. Start out with five minutes. You’ll surprise yourself.
Try this.
Write a paragraph that starts with this sentence. . . This picture makes me remember the time when . . .
You can leave it here as a comment . . . or use it to start your notebook today!

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