In spite of all my snarky comments about Nano apps and tools, I have to confess to a predilection for buying new notebooks. We have a branch of The Works just down the road that does a mouthwatering selection of notepads in all sizes and colours and with a variety of inspiring covers (previously on this blog I have featured a few and one is on the cover photo.) Not only can you get spiral-bound, hardbacked A4 pads, you can get similar articles in A5 and A6.
My main notebook is the ‘diary’ – not so much a Pepys-like record of events as a place for random scatterings: thoughts, ideas, proto-poems and embryonic stories. You might find brief shopping lists there or simply random words. I keep the book by my bed at night and as well as writing a little before I go to sleep, I sometimes scribble thoughts in the middle of the night. I go through one of these diaries about every 3-4 months and I never throw them out. I’ve kept this sort of diary since 1981; since the day I decided to start writing again. Sadly I don’t have those early notebooks as I was re-reading them too often and they had to go.
For poems I use an A5 notebook and for ‘roving thoughts’ – as I call them – a tiny little A6 notebook tucked in my bag.
So much for the everyday, now for the project books. Every new project, be it a novel, a collection of short stories or something else entirely, needs its own dedicated notebook. This helps the thought processes to gel and means that when I come to write whatever it is, my ideas are all in one place. They may not – nay, they will not – be organised or coherent but at least I’ll know where to find them.
In the summer I developed a bit of a notebook habit; it even got to the point where I was keeping notebooks for gardening and yoga. I’ve managed to dial down this addiction now and I’m back to just the usual half-dozen or so.
Speaking of diaries, I’ve recently borrowed Tony Benn’s (the ’77-’80 volume – interesting times) which are fascinating. What strikes me most of all is how appallingly the standards of behaviour have declined in recent years. People were much more polite and respectful then – and I don’t mean deferential; Benn was an outspoken opponent of privilege and no respecter of status.
So now that I’m writing ideas for my Nano project the question is, does it need its own notebook or shall I just stick with the one I’m using?
Answers on a postcard please.