Carry a Notebook

Do you often carry a notebook to capture new ideas as they come to you? Or is it already filled with sentences, passages and articles that move you? As writers we are often told to carry a notebook, to write things down that we observe, especially the ones that make a deep impression. After all, great ideas are everywhere. For instance, something might come to you on the way to the post office, while you’re having dinner with friends, or on a trip to the zoo. So, carry a notebook.


notebook images

In it, put things you want to mull over later, and shape your ideas until they work. During the process from conception to finished product, review other pieces, things that have worked. Others that have moved you. Ones that leave something lodged in your throat. Here I remember the start of Stephen King’s novel, IT, where it only takes a few words just to pull us in:

The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years-if it ever did end-began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain. (A Signet book, ch1, p1.)

Reading this part, I cannot help but think about the opening scene of the movie, which seemed to capture the novel’s creepy sense of eeriness, dread and fright. Even though the clown and the things that happen to the children come a little later, I am always spooked, by that opening sense of calm.


Is it the same for you? What horrific author penned a tale that has stuck with you from childhood? One that you often find yourself turning to for inspiration, impulse or chill? Remember when memory fails, our ability to capture our ideas will prove invaluable. So how or where do you capture your ideas? For me it is either collected and stored in a blue folder or written and reviewed from a small Champion notebook. In the notebook, I capture things as the come. With the folder, I look back searching for the next project or idea. So, don’t forget… carry a notebook and enjoy the rest of the week!

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