On Notebooks


You all know by now that I’ve switched from writing on the computer to writing by hand. As I’ve said before, this is a necessity not a choice. I thought today we could talk a bit about notebooks, because who doesn’t love notebooks?

My notebook of choice is the Moleskine. I love those things. Unfortunately, I’ve found that I cannot write fiction in a Moleskine. Please refer to this post: Moleskine Anxiety.

So what do I write in? Well, I started the current novel on a piece of scrap paper. The idea came to me in a flash and I had to use whatever was available to capture it before it flitted away. Then I kept on writing on scrap pieces of paper, front and back, each labeled with a circled number, so I knew which order they went. This was OK for a bit, but I knew I needed something more stable. My biggest nightmare was that once of the pages would be misplaced and I wouldn’t be able to re-create the idea.

So I found a notebook to work in. This one isn’t a Moleskine. In fact, this notebook most likely cost me a dollar. It’s very similar to the one in the picture at the top of this post. I’m not really sure what I’m going to call this novel I’m working on and if it even develops into a novel. I look forward, though, to writing my name and the title on those two blank lines. There’s something permanent and real about that, I think.

What do you use for a notebook?

16 thoughts on “On Notebooks

  1. I prefer using notebooks as well. I think it was years and years of handwriting compositions in school, but whenever I sit in front of a computer, I go blank.

    For a while I was writing on a bunch of pieces of paper stapled together. I couldn’t find a notebook small enough to fit in my purse so the small pieces of paper worked for me for awhile. Now that notebooks come in all sorts of handy sizes, I find whatever one fits in my current purse and is the cheapest. The price sticker on my notebook says it was 29 cents.

    • I’m with Susan all the way. I cannot tolerate a perfect bound composition book. The pages always, always fall out.

      That book refuses to lie flat on the table when open. I have to have flat sheets to write. Nay, I demand a flat writing surface. And when I force that book to lie flat, the binding begins to separate and the pages fall out.

      There’s nothing perfect about that binding.

      I must have a spiral notebook which allows me to write front and back and lies flat on the table.

      But, you know, if that book works for you I say rock on. I’ll be in the corner next to Susan writing in my spiral notebook.

  2. Notebooks, eh? Well, I can never do my best writing on paper… my brain works faster than my writing, which is very slow – and very messy since I’ve been off pen and paper for about 20 years now.

    But I do carry notebooks around for notes, and organizing, and listing, and writing when I’m on the go. I use spirals – those 25 cent things I get dozens of at the beginning of every school year. I have about five in various laptop bags. the car, etc.

    I need pen and paper for keeping straight my characters, my outlines, relationships, calculating years, etc. And last summer, when I spent most of the summer at the pool, I took one there to write.

    But I hated coming home and having to retype it all in the computer, and all the scribbles I couldn’t read. 🙂

  3. I tend to scribble on small pieces of paper. I have a habit of writing on old receipts and whatever else I might find in my bag. I really should get it all into a notebook.

  4. I have a love/hate relationship with paper. I remember using reams of it in a 3-ring binder when I was in school. I’ve tried it now many years later, but made the mistake of using recycled paper. That stuff is flimsier than non-recycled paper and tears so easily. I use a composition notebook (like the one above) for writing out thoughts etc. But, why not use them for writing a book, too? Especially if you can find them cheap enough. Nice post!

  5. I have a couple of moleskins, but never write much in them – although I do love them! That elastic thingee that keeps them closed!

    It’s been forever since I wrote anything in long-hand – but I’d never be able to read my writing, and I detest having to re-type from hand written works

    How exciting to have that fresh notebook all ready for all your words! *smiling* (Hope you don’t mind me visiting…..!)

  6. I have at least 20 black & white composition books. Sometimes, when I feel particularly wild, I pick up a pink one, but I’m pretty loyal to the black & white. That and black, gel, extra fine tip pens.

  7. I sometimes get an idea, or snip of dialog, or some weird string I HAVE to capture and I’ll just use my ever-handy sketchbook. Therefore I now have bunches of sketchbooks with random scrawlings crammed amid the unrelated drawings. They look the the diaries of a madwoman. Hmm. Perhaps they are.

  8. Good luck with the notebook novel, I tried a few chapters in notebooks when out and about but the results were not good. Thank god for computers, or I’d never have managed to get a book down!

    I like moleskine books too 🙂

  9. Pingback: Weekly Thursday Lull « The Struggling Writer

  10. Definitely composition notebooks. I have a stack of eleven filled notebooks and am currently working on completing another. My problem however is that everything comes to me in flashes even if it isn’t a part of what book I am working on, so I write just short bits of things. Sometimes I get a complete short story down, but they are mostly for the random things or scenes I will need later in the book.

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