This is the fourth post in my series on keeping a writers notebook. I can’t emphasize enough how important this tool is for cataloging and organizing ideas. I take most of my ideas for this tool from the book, The Writer’s Notebook by Ralph Fletcher. This book helps you organize your notebook and use the information you record for various purposes.
Have you gone through a particularly happy or particularly painful experience. Although it may seem secondary, capturing and writing about the event while it is fresh in your mind will possibly help you with future writing, but it can also be therapeutic.
In particular, I have found it beneficial to take negative events in life and use them in stories where I can choose to rewrite the outcome to something more pleasing than what actually occurred.
This technique can also help you relive happy events and capture every detail in a photograph of words.
Of course, in your notebook, you’ll want to capture highlights or bullet items just to give you prompts to flesh out the situations later.
Numerous writing tips will tell you that you have to read to be a decent writer. To take this one step further, if you read something inspiring or helpful, don’t count on remembering it down the road. Capture it in your notebook.
It could be a quote from an author, a scene from a book, a tip about writing or anything else that is meaningful to you. Write it down along with the source you got it from in your notebook and you can look back on it whenever you need a little push in your own work.
Review/Reread Your Notebook
You shouldn’t fill up your notebook and then put it on a shelf never to be referred to again. You can use what is in it to give you ideas, writing prompts and inspiration. It should be an incubator for story and book ideas.
I frequently go back to my notebook and flesh out ideas or throw them away if they seem dated or stale. I also cross off the ideas I’ve used so I don’t get stuck in a rut with the same plot ideas and hooks.
Your notebook should be a living, breathing journal that captures potential ideas for the future.