I edit everything on computer, but the main focus of my writing practice is the notebook. Because I am quite a mobile writer, I rely on a notebook and pen as they work wherever I am. It’s just what works and feels right for me. If you only write on computer and have no wish to pick up a pen again, this one might not be for you.
If you’re known as a writer within your circle of family and friends, you’ll be given the gift of a notebook. Sometimes these will be lovely (sometimes TOO lovely!), sometimes they’ll be a bit weird. I wrestle daily with my own diva-ish attitude to most things in life (but WHY do I have to have a boring job?) the question of notebooks is one I’m always thinking about. Spending so much time in Paperchase is probably why. I have kept all my notebooks from the past couple of years, since my Masters. I don’t go through them as often as I should. Sometimes when I do I find one or two magical lines, or one or two whole poems that somehow were forgotten, that I can rehabilitate, rewriting it in a more now-ish voice and polish until I’m relatively happy with it. I use my notebooks for therapy as well as ideas of poetic genius (steady). Sometimes just writing down your raw feelings can help you stumble upon a new metaphor or an interesting turn of phrase. It’s good for your mental health too.
This week’s exercise is to buy yourself a notebook. Get something you like the look of. Pay attention to the feel of the paper, decide whether you prefer the paper plain, lined or squared (I usually have squared) don’t get anything too expensive or too fancy. Don’t just get one that has a particular reputation for being a WRITER’S notebook (it’ll be more expensive!) It needs to be hardy, this has to be your companion. I carry my notebook with me whenever I leave the house. I always think about Viggo Mortensen, apparently when he was playing Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, he carried his sword with him everywhere, it went back to his hotel with him, he took it out to restaurants. This was an important part of his preparing for the part. It’s important for me as a writer to be able to capture a swift sentence or phrase that rings in my head as soon as I hear it. If I don’t have my notebook with me, I’ll never remember it, hence my obsession with carrying it around.
Be method and be Aragorn, carry your new notebook with you at all times! Get into character as the writer that you are!