It is no secret that I have a fondness for notebooks. Big thick ones with pretty covers, thin little back ones, those with lines and those without. All notebooks are perfectly acceptable to me.
Two weeks ago I wrote about how much I love New Years because of that energy it gives.
The same principle goes for a nice, clean notebook.
A notebook in and of itself is just a bunch of pages with potential. You can use it for traditional journalling, to keep a schedule or bullet journal. I don’t want to talk about that – what I want to talk about today is one of my favourite types of notebooks and that is the writer’s notebook.
The topic of this month’s posts is inspiration and this week I decided to do a bit of a DIY tutorial instead of a writing lesson. So find an open space and gather your ingredients because today I’m sharing with you how to start a writer’s journal.
How to put together a writer’s journal.
Part one: the outside.
This is not a necessity but I’m decorating my own notebook this year. Normally I’d just buy those pretty books that are already decorated but this year I’m on a bit of a budget and those are almost six times more pricy than the plain notebooks that you can buy anywhere.
So I’m going to be decorating it myself but if you prefer to buy a decorated notebook then just skip this step.
A plain notebook.
General art supplies (E.g. scissors & glue)
Coloured paper or anything else that you feel like decorating with.
Here is a pick of my stuff.
Now that everything is gathered you should start by simply wrapping it in a base paper.
I did mine in black paper, because I really like the clean and elegant that black paper gives.
From there off on I simply decorated as I saw fit. I suggest you name it and of course make it look pretty to you.
You can see that the name of the book (idea pile) is written in the most OCD bugging way ever. This is simply my personal way of creating journals because I like them to not be completely clean and straight forward. I want them to catch my own attention and to invite imperfection into my work.
Inspiration often comes in really raw and a backwards. So if I tell myself I have to do everything perfect I would never write a word.
You can do yours however you want but I really suggest you adopt this mentality whenever you write in your little book. You need to allow yourself to write gibberish at the start.
I then went and did my little pen holder slash bookmark which is basically just a ribbon with some stretchy material stapled onto the back. I cut small holes so it could hold my pen and then decorated it with only one single button instead of the six that I bought originally.
Here’s a photo!
This is the end result of my notebook, so let’s opens it up and discuss what goes into a notebook like this one.
The inside of a writer’s notebook.
First I started off by writing my name on the inside.
You see when I was little we were given these little girly diaries with the small lock and everything. On the inside there was always a space to write down your name so anyone who found it would know that it’s yours. I still do this today because of more reasons than simply for if I lose it.
I like acknowledging that the little book is mine because for some reason it helps certify to me that this little book does indeed belong to me and everything I write in it is my own. It’s like saying this little book and all the wonderful pieces of junk on the inside is mine. So hands off.
This of course goes along with some contact details for in case I do actually lose it.
The second page is dedicated to a simple list of my projects.
This probably shows more about my personality than I would like you to know because it really highlights how goal driven I am. I like seeing what I’m busy with right at the beginning of the book so I can have parameters within to work so I can keep focused.
Not everything that goes into the little book has to do with my projects but I still like reminding myself that these are the most important things I’m working towards and that I shouldn’t let myself get too sidetracked by all the inspiration I gather.
This leads me to the third and fourth pages which are dedicated to story seeds.
If I have a vague idea that can be summed up into a line or two it goes onto these two pages.
This has always been one of my favourite parts of my writer’s notebook because these ideas tend to come at bizarre moments and later on when I feel like writing I can use them for prompts that will almost certainly inspire me.
Those are the only really set pages I have for any notebook so I’m quickly going to give you a list of 5 other things you can put into a writers notebook.
• Progress report: You know those main projects that I showed earlier on page two? Yes pick one of them and find a way to measure your progress with it. Set a few goals within the project and then make tick in little boxes as you work towards it or something.
• Character file: Draw a stick figure of your character and then get writing. Figure out what a character’s name is and work on making them real within the pages of your notebook.
• Short practices: This one should be really obvious. If you feel like writing grab some inspiration and just start writing anything and everything down. Focus on what words you use or how you are expressing the scene. Even if it’s not perfect at first you’ll have a solid idea down on paper when you’re done.
• Draw plot maps: There are different kinds of plot maps and so I suggest you go figure out which kind works for you and then you can use your notebook to build your ideas into stories.
• Write down encouragement: This is a little silly of me to say for this kind of notebook. Normally encouragement goes into something more like a personal journal but I think you can work it into this sort of notebook too. When you feel unmotivated just go to a page and after taking a deep breath write down all the reasons why you love writing. It’s a good exercise and then if you feel unmotivated again later you can return to it and be reminded why you write.
I really believe that writing on paper is good for you because it doesn’t have a backspace, which I think is really important when you’re just trying to get ideas down.
There are more things you can put into a notebook but I’m going to leave you here and let you go and experience it yourself. So go now and finish that notebook of yours and get writing.
Although, before you go – answer me this:
Are you new to the whole writing journey or have you been on your way for years now?
Any comments are welcome!