Diary of a Writer – October Writing Prompt

A modest selection

Notebooks, notebooks, notebooks…

A staple of any writer’s toolkit and the one we love most, is our notebook. The picture shows but a modest selection from my immodest collection (no, numbers will not be revealed, but suffice it to say the completed ones can be considered as a useful addition to the attic insulation).

The big, plain A4 was in my goody bag at the recent, and excellent, Scotswrite conference of the Society of Authors in Scotland. I love these for jobs like editing and critiquing. I also still find it easy and therapeutic to write long-hand when the pc isn’t available or there’s a wee glitch to be sorted. Something about seeing the words appear and then the crossings-out makes it all very real. The two wee ones are from another goody bag – Romantic Novelists’ Association – and as meet-up swag. Thank you ladies, Annie Burrows and Christine London. The next size up were brought to the launch of Bella’s Betrothal by fellow Capital Writer, Jane Riddell – the elegant black and silver, and bought by me in the V&A – who doesn’t like shoes?

The medium sized ones comprise one for note-taking and, the dark one, for recording everything I send out and how the work fares. Some of the pages have lovely red £ signs indicating a sale or licence fee (I have plays, folks).

So, how many do you have? Did you start out sewing together pages to make a book, aged 6? Doesn’t the simple sight of a notebook prompt you to get started?

12 thoughts on “Diary of a Writer – October Writing Prompt

  1. I’m not going to make a public confession of how many notebooks I have. It’s my guilty secret/pleasure. However, I do recognise your collection as something very similar to your own. Some of mine were gifts or giveaways. Others I saw, lover and bought. Some are in use, others are almost too lovely to actually use 🙂
    I did make my own notebooks as a child but as my dad was a bookbinder, stationer and printer I had access to all sorts of freebies – paper pads, stapler and paper clips.

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  2. How I wish I could confess to such a collection, Anne. I do have a small notebook in the left hand pocket of every coat, and in my bag and keep a spiral notebook to hand when watching TV. I write articles and sometimes a snippet in an introduction to a location sparks an idea. However apart from these and another recording submissions I am far more likely to grab the nearest scrap of paper when the muse strikes. Only yesterday I came across the much edited draft of a poem written three years ago which was on the back of some advertising junk and could so easily have been thrown away. I think my problem is getting past that first blank page in a notebook.

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    • Hi Ann, thanks for dropping by. I do know what you mean about the first blank page. It’s pristine and glossy… However, your own use of notebooks sounds much more productive. Keep it up, Anne

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  3. An early starter in amassing paper, I used to tear out the unused pages from school jotters. Today I have lots of lovely notebooks and try to keep a wee one in every handbag (and try to remember to write legibly in them … I’m afraid sometimes my scribbles are indecipherable or otherwise obscure!).

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  4. Nice to be granted a glimpse into your collection, Anne. I have, on occasion, become rather precious about notebooks. There are certain ones I’ve bought and never used (keeping them for some, yet to be determined, special project!) only to have them pilfered/ scribbled on by one of my sons – most annoying! Notebooks aren’t fattening and I would argue can be positively good for mental health – who doesn’t get a kick when jotting down some interesting fact, which just might be used later? May your notebook collection grow and grow!

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    • Hi Rae, Yes, it’s definitely a ‘writer’ thing. Glad the boys are showing signs of being their mother’s sons, but maybe they’re just jotting down fantasy football teams. Anyway, preferable to the lipstick on the wallpaper events… Anne

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  5. Oh, the joy of notebooks. I try not to buy ones that are too nice to use, but despoiling the first page is always traumatic, which is probably why I always have to cross something out within the first four lines. Mine is calling me now, so it must be time to write some words.

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