Ways to Keep a Creative Writing Notebook

Introduction:

If you're interested in creative writing, a writer's notebook can be a great way to collect your thoughts and let your mind roam freely through different ideas. Keeping a great creative writer's notebook takes a little bit of practice, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Here are some ways you can start and maintain a great writer's notebook for yourself.

Find the Perfect Blank Notebook

It sounds simple, but you need to find a journal or notebook that feels like it fits your personality. If you have a notebook that fits in with your creative side, you'll be more motivated to write in it. Specialty fabric-covered journals or hand-bound notebooks are decorative, artistic, and individual; I tend to stay away from stereotypical Mead notebooks with cardboard backing because they remind me of the notebooks I use in class. I personally love to write in journals that aren't lined, because a truly blank page can really let creativity flourish. Another option is to make your own journal if you're craftsy; the journal itself will be a work of art and a source of inspiration for your writing.

Keep It Private

You'll want to feel 100% comfortable with writing anything and everything in this notebook, and you'll want to have enough trust to let your guard down and become vulnerable in your writing. If you're constantly worrying about if/when someone else will read it, then you'll hold back and not include some of your potentially best ideas. Remember, you're not writing for an audience in this notebook; you're writing for yourself. So feel free to completely be yourself!

"Freewrite:" Let Your Thoughts Flow Freely and Unexpectedly

Don't try to "plan" or pause to think for extended periods of time before putting your pen to paper. Some of the best, most original thoughts and phrases arise from letting your subconscious appear on paper. Freewriting encourages you to keep your pen moving the whole time--even if you think your thoughts are silly or nonsensical--and this reduces the amount of judgment you place on yourself and your writing. If you get comfortable writing "weird" things, or sentences with different syntax, then you will open up more creative doors for yourself and be able to take more risks in the future.

Don't Just Write!

Doodle, draw, trace objects, add color, cut and paste interesting articles, photographs, poems, anything that inspires you! Some ideas...Experiment with different textures on the page, tear pages in interesting ways, try drawing a picture with your non-dominant hand, or just try writing something in another language. This is your free space to collect and reflect upon anything that holds meaning or inspiration for you.

Get into the Habit of Writing Frequently

Carry your notebook with you to a coffee shop, or leave it on your bedside table. It's good to get into the habit of writing on a regular basis--even if it's just for 10 minutes a couple times per week. Creative writing shouldn't be forced, but it should be practiced, and writing in your notebook frequently will give you new ideas for projects, or at least a freshened sense of self awareness. Writing regularly will also give you the ability to get comfortable with writing in a relaxed setting. Feeling pressured to create a masterpiece prevents a lot of writers and artists from practicing--not everything you write will be good, and that's perfectly normal! Once you get over that mental hump, you'll be able to let your creativity flow.




Final Thoughts

If you're feeling a lack of inspiration, flip back through the pages of your writer's notebook to give yourself some ideas for stories, poems, or essays. Even short phrases written during a 5-minute freewrite can sometimes serve as the seed for a new creative work. I write poetry and love jotting down ideas for subjects, phrases that pop into my head, or images I find interesting. It's amazing how many of these small things end up in my poems!


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Comments

  • nwgirl 12/23/2010

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    These are great ideas for keeping a creative writing journal. I also like to use journals that are unlined...that way I can doodle around my writing!

  • goodselfme 12/22/2010

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    Your ideas for a creative writing notebook suit me just fine. I have many in car and home. Thank you for your lovely thoughts in this list too.

  • BonnieDossKnight 12/22/2010

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    I think I have in the neighborhood of 75+ spiral notebooks crammed with words I like, phrases, thoughts, etc. How in the world does one write without the all important writer notebook? Great list.

  • Traqqer 12/22/2010

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    Good suggestions. I like the idea of not just writing. My 7-yr old daughter draws a picture with every paragraph she writes.


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