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!

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…….

I might spontaneously combust.

For me, being a writer is cyclical, it mirrors lots of things in my life. I love regimes, lists and repetitiveness. It’s an ongoing joke in our household that I make regimes but can’t stick to them, Flip says if I stick to something for 2 weeks straight I can call it a regime! You’re on buster!!

Writing is more than a regime, it’s a passion, it’s something I have to do or I might actually spontaneously combust (has anyone looked into wether this is the actual cause of spontaneous combustion in people? No. Didn’t think so, come on science, keep up with me here!). It’s a feeling from deep within, it flickers like a small spark and grows into a flame before engulfing you in a full on inferno (points to anyone who sang burn baby burn, disco inferno just then).

Writing is a way of life, come on, you know I love a good cliche, but this is actually true. I constantly write in my head, even if not on paper, computer, or phone, it’s still being written in my imagination. Small snippets or scenes here and there, or even full on short stories sometimes. I have an ongoing story that I come back to when I daydream, it’s been going on for years and although the characters change the story is still continuing, it’s like an add on to real life, running simultaneously alongside my everyday life. I can’t stop it. It’s a compulsion. More than a daydream, it’s an epic book that would more than rival the size of war and peace!

But, remember I said I was cyclic? I go through phases of being an enthusiastic, outgoing, very proud, writer where I will buy hats and bright clothes and want to wear make up, disabilities permitting! Then I will start to doubt myself and begin to dull down the enthusiasm for my skills and write lots of prompts but less actual stories. I will wear less patterned clothes and give the hats a miss. I will stay indoors a bit more and not sit in the garden so much. Then the final stage is where I begin to think I’m just rubbish at everything, life in general but especially writing, my inner critic takes over completely and I will wear darker colours, blacks and navy blues, I will scrape my hair back and buy jogging bottoms and pyjamas because I’m not going out anywhere and I don’t want to see anyone and I’m never going to be an actual writer.

Let’s get one thing straight friends, I have several disabilities that prevent me from doing things but I cope, through writing, this process has nothing to do with them, it is the writer in me that goes through this. Why am I telling you and dragging the conversation down? Because we all feel it, we all have an inner critic that likes to beat us up from time to time but we also have the disco inferno within that will make us combust if we don’t write. So this, my friends, might actually be the most normal thing about me!

Spontaneous combustion. Something to think on.

See ya soon!

Word of the week (7) Late! Yikes!

I must apologise for my tardiness on word of the week, there was no big drama, no life hanging reason as to why I didn’t do it, no incident to render me incapable. To be perfectly honest, and I do like to be honest with you, I couldn’t motivate myself to write this post. Rude I know! I just left you hanging without a word dear friends, I am sorry.

This word actually describes me!

I am a paralian! It means a person who lives by the sea. I live in a beautiful seaside town with a small high street and a busy harbour. My town is famous for its oysters and people come from all over the world to try them. I live in Whitstable in Kent. Look it up, you won’t be disappointed. Lots of the buildings here are interesting and we have great road names like ‘middle wall’ and ‘Squeeze gut ally’ I have no idea why they are called that, I should look it up really.

Are you a paralian? Tell me about it, what is your town like? Do you overlook the sea? I don’t, but I am on a hill so I have a sea view.

See ya soon folks……

Word of the week (6)

This word is not just a word, it’s a way of life. At least, it is for me.

A philocalist is someone who sees the beauty in everything. I do see the beauty in everything, do you? One of my best friends once said to me that I see life in HD and she was absolutely right, I really do.

I’m going to keep it short, but I would like you to look for the beauty this week. It is there, trust me! Become a philocalist! I dare you!

See you soon……