Friday, March 1, 2013

Filling Up Notebooks

Confession. I'm a victim of the Palmer Method. I went to Catholic School and learned to write cursive in those notebooks with the dotted lines through the center. I spent many an hour looping my ds, ps, and qs to just the right height, my wrist never touching the desk. Somewhere along the line, I rebelled, and now even I have a hard time reading my scrawl.

But that doesn't stop me from filling up notebooks.

Recent circumstances have led me to a block of time here, a block of time there, and a lot of travel in between. Firing up a laptop became cumbersome and my writing time dwindled. I knew I needed a different approach, so I went back to basics. Marble notebooks.

I bought one in hot pink for my WIP. It makes me happy to open it up and write in it. It's completely portable and I'm finding a different connection to my writing in putting pen to paper. Typing up my scrawl a day or two later gives me another opportunity to add emotional depth and description I missed in my first go round.

I'm liking this notebook thing.

Anybody else out there going Luddite on their drafts?

Photo credit: npclark2k from


  1. Can you believe kids aren't even taught cursive anymore??!!

    I collect notebooks. And we're not talking fancy ones...character ones, special colors, special paper, ones I'm just drawn to for whatever reason...there's definitely a different connection with pen to paper vs fingers to keyboard. There's an intimacy there that sometimes gets lost click clacking away. (although that's a nice sound too...)

    If I'm stuck at a certain point, I sometimes jot down a question(or two or three) at night before I go to bed then write a little in longhand in the morning. It's definitely a great way to get "unstuck".

    Long Live the marble notebook!!!! (I always need a new stash when school begins too!!)

  2. Hello Judy,
    I fill out my notebooks every 2-3 months. Love scribbling and hearing the scratch of 2B pencils on smooth paper. Typing the draft into the laptop does help me revise the ms. It's great to meet fellow-notebook writers!


  3. Nice to know others grab paper and pen or pencil sometimes too. I prefer q pencil any day. Maybe it's because it takes me back to school days when I loved a writing challenge best of all. Pencil was the tool, long before stories and reports were required to be in pen.

  4. I'm not much of a laptop writer. I always start my drafts with pen in a cheap, lined notebook (preferably a pretty color). I don't switch to the computer until I have a few drafts on paper. I need that tactile satisfaction!

  5. I've always loved paper, notebooks, pencils and pens. As a child, one of my biggest treats was to be given money and taken to a stationery store.
    Now, when I'm stuck finding the perfect word, I turn from keyboard to pencil and paper. What fun to make messy lists and scribble out the wrong choices!

  6. Robin, I collect notebooks too, but I've always collected small ones to jot notes down when ideas occur on the fly. I bought a few in Italy that I particularly love.

    But now I've begun a new love affair with the marble kind.

  7. Claudine -- welcome! Do you draft novels in that 2-3 month time span?

  8. Linda, I totally get that being back in school feeling. After all, that's what we're writing about, right?

  9. Sharon: Just wondering, do you sketch while you write?

  10. Gale, I still love stationery stores. And I, too, get real satisfaction from crossing out. I only write on one side of the paper, so I can blacken out what I don't like as deeply and completely as my hand and brain need.

  11. Glad I'm not the only stationery store freak!

  12. I always adore a new notebook! It's empty pages seem filled with possibility!

    But I do find myself starting a lot of drafts in a file on my computer now. I guess it just depends what I have around.

    (I have written first drafts in crayon too. When I have found myself inspired with no pen in sight. I guess a writer writes with whatever material they've got! :o) )

    1. I am looking forward to completely filling my notebook of pink possibilities! And maybe, just maybe, I'll add a few crayons into the mix.

  13. I am looking forward to completely filling my notebook of pink possibilities! And maybe, just maybe, I'll add a few crayons into the mix.