What is a writers notebook, why are they important and how do I choose one?

Do you have a writers notebook? Do you know what a writers notebook is? It’s kind of self explanatory really, it’s a notebook to write random ideas, research, advice, pictures, anything that inspires you, or that you don’t want to forget.

I love my notebook, this is what it looks like

It’s A5, lined, hardback, and I take it everywhere with me, I mean EVERYWHERE, I always have it. If I loose it I will definitely have some sort of breakdown!

There is no specific notebook you HAVE to use for this, you can pick anyone you like.

BUT….you must love it! Hear me out, if you don’t love it, you won’t use it, it needs to be perfect, so spend some time choosing. If you need some pointers on choosing a writers notebook, check out my list below.

Things to look for in a writers notebook –

  • Aesthetics, let’s be honest, it’s got to look appealing to you
  • Lines, plain, square or dots? Personally I’m a lined paper kind of gal, but I like the lines to be very specific, thin, but not too thin and the line drawing not to be too harsh. Picky picky picky! I hit the jackpot with mine, the lines are uneven!
  • Paperback or hardback? I have a paperback one for a specific trilogy I’m working on and a hardback one for my actual writers notebook
  • Weight. If I’m honest, mine is a little heavy (don’t tell it I said that!) but I refuse to change it, or stop adding to the weight by sticking things in it!
  • Paper weight. You don’t want any of that thin, see through rubbish, you want a fine upstanding thickness that can hold all your writery secrets!

That brings us onto what to put in said notebook. The true answer is anything you want but this is what I tend to put in it,

  • Words I like or ones that are new to me
  • Word or phrase origins
  • Research, for me there is a bit on forensic stuff and stuff about demons etc
  • Part conversations. Now, you know when you have a conversation happening in your head and you have no idea what characters they are or where the conversation comes from? Write it down! Just because it doesn’t make sense now doesn’t mean it won’t make sense in the future
  • Book or story ideas
  • Character ideas
  • Other people’s ideas (you know, the ones you find on Pinterest and stuff)
  • Prompts, your own or others
  • Overheard conversations (eavesdropping is wrong…….but I still do it)
  • Pictures of celebrities that may appear in your future stories, or just because you fancied some eye candy!
  • Newspaper headlines

There is literally no end to what you can put in it, stick tickets or receipts in it if you want to, it’s YOUR notebook, your choice.

Here are a couple of pages from mine,

As you can see I stick pieces of advice in mine too.

So there you go! It’s like having all your bestest thoughts in one place.

Guard it with your life! Got questions? Sure, give me a shout!

See you soon!

Make your own mistakes guys!

We have all heard and read so many helpful posts about things people wish they knew before they began writing, or mistakes that people have made that you can learn from, and those posts are great, but, I have a different theory.

Make. Your. Own. Mistakes. Simple right? We, as writers (yes, we are now calling ourselves writers, let’s get in character people!) need to make mistakes in order to learn what suits us, someone’s mistake is someone else’s success.

Sometimes going through the process of the mistake is what enables us to grow as writers. The first draft is full of plot holes and boring characters. So? (shrugs shoulders) Who cares? It’s the first draft, its allowed to be pants, along with drafts 2, 3, 4 and 5 if necessary. It can take a plethora of drafts before your characters are who you want them to be or the plot finally make sense on paper. I’m here to tell you that’s ok. You don’t have to follow ‘protocol’, you can literally do whatever you feel compelled to do. Often when I start something I have a vague idea of what’s going on and go from there, and I read through it as I go too. I can feel the glares from here! What can I say? I’m a rebel!

So do it. Go and make your own mistakes, then learn from them, or don’t, it’s your choice, your journey.

Catch ya later!

Word of the week (15)

I literally didn’t know there was a word for this, I have used sentences like ‘they look like they are sucking on a lemon’ or ‘they were so posh it looked painful’. No offence to posh people, you guys rock! This is such a great term to drop into conversation.

Mimp is to speak in a prissy manner, usually with pursed lips.

Pretty cool huh? I love listening to people mimp, it sounds so surreal!

Enjoy the word guys!

10 Unconventional Writing Prompts….

We all get stuck in a rut every now and then and it’s easy to think that we are the only ones currently without inspiration, well guess what friends? I’m here to tell you that’s just not true!

So if you find yourself in a writing slump you can have some of my inspiration, here are some unconventional prompts to see you through –

  • What if trees could speak but they only spoke once you got their name right? Maybe someone stumbled upon a big book of names for trees?
  • “So, tell me again how you came to have that mans wig in your handbag?”
  • The lady screamed blue murder, like, the words blue and murder. Why?
  • Write about a conversation between 2 brothers that just found out their childhood hero wasn’t really a very nice guy
  • Tell me about the one that got away, not a person, something else, dog? Car? Burger? Let your imagination run wild
  • Using the lyrics of your favourite song, rewrite them so they are about a guinea pig
  • Tell me why that inanimate object to your left is your best friend?
  • The soiled paper lay floating in a puddle, that was all that remained of that fateful day
  • Write a book review of a book you read at school
  • Start a story at 13 and work backwards, end the story with -4

So there you go my lovelies, sink your teeth into these bad boys!

See you soon….

Stop being a ‘Pen-Hippo’ and write!

We all do it. Some of us consciously and some subconsciously, but we all do it. It’s funny how even the most mundane tasks become of vital importance or seem like fun when you are ‘supposed’ to be writing. Procrastination is addictive.

What’s my reason for not writing I hear you ask? Well, I have taken a small break from the blog because I felt like my writing wasn’t as important as other things. This had more to do with how I thought I was perceived rather than anyone saying it. I felt that my writing was perceived as something of unimportance and therefore I was just ‘playing’ or ‘not really doing anything’ when I was writing. (I’m literally eye rolling myself here folks!)

You can treat it like a job, even if it’s not. Find some time to put aside for your writing and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not important. I find that I can’t stick to a writing regime as such, even though I love a good regime, part of what makes me unconventional is that I rarely follow the processes I am ‘supposed to’ but that’s ok, as long as I still write.

You may remember Peppermint Tea from a previous post, well she was the one that gave me the push I needed to shut up and write. If you love writing, like truly love it, you will feel like a part of you is missing, or it’s too crowded in your head if you don’t write, this process is dangerous and before you know it you are a pen-hippo (Yeah, I made that up!) wallowing in the mud of self-doubt, eating the leaves of despair. Ridiculous.

Sometimes you need to hear the harsh truth and that’s exactly what I am doing here my friends, I am telling you to stop making excuses and just write, right now, go and get a pen and paper (Oh who am I kidding, you already have one right?!) and write something down, anything. You got this! I believe in you  my friends!

So? What did you write?

See you soon…..

And so she returns, after learning a valuable lesson!

Hello, you cheeky lot,

I am back! I apologise for the unannounced sabbatical, life got busy! Too busy to write? Yeah, kind of. Well, that and I decided that I was pants at writing!

I attempted NaNoWriMo, for those of you who are not familiar with it, it’s a month-long writing marathon where you literally write the first draft of a novel. It takes place in November, so I spent September preparing, November manically writing and December dealing with the fact that I failed!

That’s right, you heard me, I failed. Turns out, I HATE failing, like really hate it. I didn’t reach the 50,000 word count. Not because I suck, but because this process simply doesn’t suit me. I lost all creativity and love for the book I was writing during this process, I hated working to a certain word count a day, it made me write a whole bunch of bunkum! I found I was literally writing anything just to reach the word count, and that’s just not my style, I allow myself more creativity than this. I write when I want to and when the feeling takes me, suppose that serves me right for trying to be conventional though?! (See what I did there?!).

But, I’m not here to poo-poo NaNoWriMo because I believe it will suit certain people down to the ground, those kind of people that cram for an exam the day before they take it, or those who spend hours in the library maniacally writing and guzzling can after can of the energy drink of their choice. I am definitely not that sort of person. I love to take my time, enjoy the process and waft up and down the aisles of the library touching the books and eating sweets!

Which type of person are you? Manic or wafty?!

Also before I bid you adieu there is someone I want to thank, she knows who she is, I shall refer to her as Peppermint Tea, anyway, she gave me the confidence to once again put my words down on paper (or internet!) and get over my writing block. Thanks, Peppermint Tea, you rock!!

See you soon……

In your face plot hole!

Hi Friends,

So guess what happened to me this week? I was merrily writing, in the yellow room, coffee on the go, birds singing outside, when all of a sudden I stopped. I literally just stopped. I was half way through a scene and realised there is a plot hole so big in my book I could probably fit 3 elephants and 2 trains through it, all at the same time!! (Cue blank stares and the occasional eye twitch).

Why did my character do that? Why didn’t they stop me from continuing? What the hell is wring with them? – All seemed like valid questions at the time, along with a small amount of self doubt and an edge of hatred – What is wrong with me? How did I not see that? Idiot! Moron! Grrrrrr! – Literally things that happened!

Then I sat back and thought, well, this happens to us all at some point and so I figured I would tell you what I did to get over it, that seemed more productive than stomping round the house saying words that should not come from a sailor, let alone a lady!

I wrote a timeline. Yep. It was that simple. Ridiculous right? They are my new favourite thing ever. I am a pantser (Someone who doesn’t manically plot, I have an idea of characters and story and I just write, I write what they tell me to write!) but having a timeline was really helpful. I could add to it as necessary and I could tract the main plot, the sub plots and relationships as I write them.

Here is an example of a timeline, its not the actual one, that’s super top secret!

Timeline
Timeline

So you can see where I have tracked the basics, that’s how it starts, the orange lines are the main story and the yellow lines are the sub plot, the romantic relationship between hero and village idiot. It gets messy, and you have to let it. Go where the story takes you my friend.

This REALLY helped me sort out the massive plot hole I had in my book and I hope it helps you too, if you want more information on it, or you just want to chat, you know where to find me!

See you soon…….