Good morning day dreamers and world changers, I hope you’re all well and having a great week.
This morning, I’d like to talk about those oh-so-precious writer’s notebooks that we all own. (If you’re anything like me you own too many!) What do you use yours for? Until recently I’ve used mine for quips of ideas for my works in progress, or the early stages of new ideas that I don’t want to forget…
…and this is brilliant, the main purpose of the notebooks, in fact. However, over the past couple of months I’ve started keeping the following three things in my notebook too. I’ve found that being able to refer back to them helps when I am writing parts in stories. Sometimes you observe something, and think that it’s interesting/inspiring/insightful, but don’t make note because it’s not relevant to your current project. But who’s to say they won’t be relevant to a project in the future?
1. People’s quirks
As a writer, you are probably prone to people watching. Do you ever look at someone and found yourself enamoured by their unique fashion sense, the way they walk, their hairstyle, their friendship group? These quirks can all be used to form exciting, interesting and realistic characters going forward. Whenever this happens, jot down what first drew your attention to them (oversized pink rain coat), what you noticed when you looked more closely (she was Gothic, with jet black hair, several facial piercings and chunky boots with metal chains on them), and then write a small sentence or two as though that person where a character in a book (She would’ve been every bit a Gothic stereotype, if it weren’t for the oversized, florescent pink rain coat she wore over her dark clothes. She kept a straight face, her eyes atmospherically moody, ringed in black. But the deep purple of her lips edged into a small smile, as her friends became drenched in the downpour. She was not too proud to wear pink.)
2. Descriptions of your surroundings
Writer’s are wonderful observers of the world, and they see everything as though in a story. And so it’s naturally that when we are faced with the beauty of nature, the grit and grey of the city, or the serenity of the seaside, we are inspired. As with the above, whenever a particular aspect of your surroundings inspires you, or looks particularly magnificent, jot it down. You never know when that setting might be relevant in a story you tell, and having an authentic description will relate to your readers.
And be sure to use the five senses. Dob;t just write what you see, but what you hear/feel/taste/smell too. A couple of months ago I was walking during a thunder storm, and I realised the stormy air smelt like charred wood. Yep – I’ve got it down in my notebook!
3. Emotions and feelings
I’ve seen many writer’s talk about going through tough times, and how they find themselves thinking, “how would I write this?” A huge part of writing what you know involves being in-tune to emotions and feelings and what it’s actually like to experience them. When experiencing a strong emotion, if you feel up to it, make some notes on how it feels physically, how it feels mentally, how it made you look, how it effected the way you communicate, or react to others. This is important for positive emotions, not only negative. Even if it’s just a few words or sentences, it gives you something to refer back to when writing.
Do you keep snippets like this in your writer’s notebook? Perhaps these are notes that make their way into your phone while you’re out and about?
I would absolutely love to hear about your notebooks, and the kinds of things you keep in them, so please comment below and let me know.