J is for Journal: A Glimpse at My Writing Notes

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Notebooks – these are only a couple of the many different books I have. I like these little size books as they fit well into different bags, and are not too heavy to carry around with me. I often pick up little books I like the covers of, or that are on sale.
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You can use your notebook to make a note of anything and everything you find useful, like, or want to refer to at a later date. Here, I’ve drawn out the Story Arc – a useful method of plotting a story. You can read more about the Story Arc here.
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Write down quotes, phrases and sayings that you like. I printed this one on to the back of one my notebooks using vintage Letraset transfers. Flicking through old notebooks full of writing notes and inspirational quotes works really well to promote your writing motivation.
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Useful writing tips and advice on good writing is always useful to read through. This mini flow-chart is an easy set-up for creating a good, well-developed main character.
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Some pages are better presented than others, I tend to use a variety of ways to record thoughts, ideas, comments, and other research in my notebooks. Try using different stationary to organise your thoughts and chaos – you might like using different pens, different colours, stickers, highlighters, printed articles, etc.
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And some pages are just messy. Even if you cross something out, make sure that you can still read what it was through your scribbled-out marks. You might use what you’ve changed later on, you might reverse your edits. It’s also just generally useful to see how your drafts and writing pieces progress over time, and/or how your ideas have changed.

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Yesterday, I mentioned that I write on envelopes that have come through the post. Here’s one of my lesser filled sides – this was bookmarking one of my writing notebooks. The other side is also full of scribbles.
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Flicking through, there are small fragments of stories (or, story ideas) that are still waiting development. Here’s a little initial paragraph idea that, although very rough, sparked one of my WIP short stories.

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Keeping ongoing notes allows you to look back and remember the process of creating particular pieces of your work. I copied this piece into this notebook from a computer file, but it has since been edited and now appears in my poetry book Rhythmythical.
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Even more, you can see parts of your original work that you didn’t/are yet to use. Originally, these (with the piece in the picture above) were all part of a single poem.
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Research – looking into Greek mythology.
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You can look ahead and explore ideas later on in your story. Here, I have thought about and made notes on events in the third book of my (then) five-part novel series.

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Brainstorming – ideas, words, synonyms, etc

Largely, I use my ‘notebook writing’ in these books – a generally messy scrawl that allows me to write slightly faster than my standard hand … hopefully you can make out some of the things that I have written down in the photos above! I actually had a really nice time looking through a few of these old books to take pictures for this post.

Do you keep a writing notebook? What sort of things do/would you record in a little notebook like the ones above?

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4 thoughts on “J is for Journal: A Glimpse at My Writing Notes

  1. Loved seeing these! My notes are always scattered–and usually end up in the trashcan. It must be fun to look back through them and see your progress. Thanks for sharing them!

    1. Thanks! I did have a lot of fun looking through these – I have quite a few old notebooks now, and all of them are different!

      My computer based notes are always quite scattered – they are not so much fun to go through! Ha ha.

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

    1. The gosh darn cute ones are the best!

      Besides these, I also keep a ‘writing diary’ type of document on my computer – but it’s really basic.

      It’s amazing how useful, or interesting, little notes that you write down are days, months, years later!

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

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