I had something of an epiphany a couple of weeks ago when, challenged with unavoidable distractions, I realised that to say (even to myself) that I am too 'stressed' to write is like saying I am too tired to sleep or too hungry to eat. Quite simply no matter what is going on, I need to spend some time (even a couple of minutes in a day) with my notebook and I need to do this as much as I need any of life's other essentials.
It's taken years for me to get to this!
I've always enjoyed a good bit of stationery - Best Christmas present ever was the post-office, so many different bits of paper, so many possibilities! - My current notebook was a present from a colleague, a 'gentle' encouragement to keep on writing. In itself this is a marker for how far I have come, I no longer hide my writing like a 'dirty' embarrassing secret, I actually tell people it's what I do ... well some people anyway.
Successful writers tell aspiring writers to get a notebook and write in it and kind writers go on to say that once you have a notebook and you are writing in it, then you are a writer!
So why has it taken me so long? Well I am very very slow to catch on and took me quite a time to work out WHAT to write...
Then a couple of years ago, when I really started trying to be a writer, studying about writing and really trying to write, I found this quote and it galvanized my relationship with my notebook.
Two years on, I can see that having this quote has helped me develop into a writer. It has liberated me to enjoy time with my notebook.
- to reflect on memories (recent or distant or imagined)
- to explore possibilities (for stories or characters or settings or conflicts)
- to play with words and and phrases and ideas
- to make lists (about why I'm happy or sad or cross; about what I need to do next to stop being cross or sad; about what I need to do to my characters to make them happy or sad or cross)
Quite simply, this quotation gave me the freedom to pick up my notebook every day and spend time with it and by some freak of human brain magic this developed into a habit, a writerly habit; a disposition; a compulsion.
How about you?
What does your notebook mean to you and how does it help you be the writer you want to be?
Reply below or use #notebook on Twitter.
Oh and if you haven't got a notebook then GET ONE and write in it every day ... and if you're not sure what to write, write this quote and see where it takes you...