5 Great Reasons to keep a Writer’s Notebook

5 Great Reasons to Keep a Writer's Notebook

Having a small notebook with you wherever you go, can be a gamechanger for a writer for a variety of different reasons. Here are five of the most important:

1 – Keeping Track of your Ideas
Ideas, good and bad, have a nasty habit of jumping into the head of a writer at the most inopportune times.
Do you ever just start to drift off to sleep when suddenly, you have a fantastic idea for a story or a character and think to yourself, I’ll remember that tomorrow, only to find that you’ve forgotten the idea when you wake up?
It happens to all of us, but having your notebook and a pen by your bed when you go to sleep can help to solve that problem.
Wherever you may be when you have a flash of creativity, if you have a small notebook in your pocket or your bag, you can write your ideas down right away without worrying about trying to remember them later.

2 – Describing your Surroundings
If you are ever out and about and find that you have some time to kill, take out your notebook and take in the view around you.
Describe what you see. What are your eyes immediately drawn to when you look?
You can write about how warm or cold it is, how bright or dark, what you can smell and hear and also the people nearby.
It’s excellent practice for when you come to describe the settings and characters in your stories. You’ll probably even be able to use some of it in your work.

3 – Capturing Conversations
Another thing that you can do if you’re out in the world and at a loose end is to try to capture snippets of conversation from the people around you.
Open your notebook and rather than focus on what is being said, turn your attention to how the people are saying it.
Note the expressions on their faces and whether or not they use a lot of hand gesturing as they speak. Write about how their voice sounds.
Obviously, try to be discreet. Don’t copy down everything people are saying because the last thing you will need is somebody berating you in public for invading their privacy or personal space.
The point is to study how real people converse and interact with one another and to see how you can apply that to the characters in your story.

4 – Noting your own Emotions
Jotting down a few lines about what you are thinking and feeling every now and then can be incredibly insightful regarding the way characters think and feel in your work.
Think about how you react or might react to certain situations. Your characters, though fictional, will more than likely behave similarly. It can add a touch of realism to your characters and help to bring them to life in the mind of the reader.

5 – To do Lists
Another good use of a writer’s notebook is to keep track of your targets and goals as well as any deadlines you have set for yourself.
It is a good idea to list all the things that you still need to work on or complete in regards to a current project, and you can cross each item off when it’s finished.
To do lists are also useful for helping to divide up your writing workload into small manageable chunks so that you can feel more in control and quickly see the progress you are making.

These are my top 5 reasons for keeping a writer’s notebook, but there are plenty of others.
Do you keep a writer’s notebook? And if you do, what sorts of things do you use yours for?

As always, thank you for reading!

Until next time,


© 2018 GLT

Categories: Writing Tips

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. I use a writer’s notebook, but I also like to use the “notes” section on my phone for convenience. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was going to mention phone apps but then I thought I’d gone on enough. I like Evernote. It’s really easy to use and it allows you to keep separate notebooks in the one app. It’s where all of my WIPs currently reside.


  2. I make my students keep a Writer’s Notebook. They struggle to keep up with it, then curse me for getting them to care for a bunch of pages of paper by the end of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I got a spiral notebook with a unicorn on it from Wal-Mart for less than $2.00 as a writer’s notebook. So far I’ve written a variety of stuff in it, from daily word counts to story ideas to ideas for character names. I also wrote an idea for a book title with isn’t attached to an actual story, I just thought it sounded cool. Unfortunately, the notebook hasn’t done much to defeat my writer’s block but it’s still nice to have one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are all excellent things to put in a writer’s notebook and a story idea might jump out at you regarding the book title. It’s a start. Writer’s block can be tricky. Some people suggest going with it and riding out the block and others argue that it’s better to carry on regardless and force yourself to write anything at all. It’s different for everyone, so hopefully you’ll find a way through soon. Thank you for the comment 😀

      Liked by 1 person


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