I have read a number of books about the craft of writing and frequently see that authors recommend that aspiring writers carry a notebook in order to jot down the ideas, thoughts and sentences that sometimes sprout full blown without warning. I’ve had this experience many times….while sitting in a waiting room, driving the car, drifting off to sleep, my mind will spit out an entire perfect paragraph that I had been struggling to compose. For the longest time, I stubbornly refused to jot things down, telling myself that I would remember these revelations with clarity when next I sat down at the keyboard. The truth is that I never did. They disappeared into the mind-mist, and recapturing them was like trying to net a ghost. While I may have come up with a generally workable composition, it was a shadow of its former self and has lost the clarity and magic of the first idea.
So I have taken to this notebook notion as a fine plan indeed.
I now have three slim Moleskine notebooks that I purchased on Amazon. There is one in my purse, one on the side table in the living room where I often muse and read, a third on the night stand next to the bed. I have been amazed at how helpful these notebooks have been in catching the fleeting useful thought or idea before it recedes like the tide. My mind (the human mind, actually) flits through thoughts like a hummingbird dashing from flower to flower. The notebooks have allowed me to slow the process down and capture much of what would have been irretrievable or forgotten by tomorrow.
The notebooks are evolving into a useful hodgepodge . At present they contain ideas for future blogs, fragments of scenes or dialogue for a book manuscript I’m working on, subjects for essays, sketches for future paintings, lists of art supplies to be purchased when next downtown, jottings from books I’m reading, exhortations to myself, a series of questions for my next doctor’s visit, impressions of the work and techniques employed by other artists, a to-do list of both chores and future projects, and as a journal for thoughts & insights.
I am delighted. I don’t know why I resisted the notebook habit but I’m glad that I am now using it to manage life’s details but, more importantly, to feed the creative process.