Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Part II: The Writer's Notebook

This is Part II of the "Katie's a Nerd" blog series. See Part I here.

"Why do you have a Day Book?" Roxy asked me yesterday as I tried to scribble down a few more notes for my blog prior to the start class.

"I'm a writer," I told her. I could tell from the confused look on her face that my answer was not satisfactory. From her terminology, I also knew which professor she had for her English general requirement classes therefore had a place to start with the explanation that would consume my remaining writing time.

A Day Book is a catch-all often used for classes. It includes homework, class exercises, free writing, notes, thoughts, ideas, and often handouts (thank you, glue stick). A Writer's Notebook is basically the same thing with a more intimidating name, less focus on classwork, and a little bit less glue. It's really easy to separate our English students by concentration and favorite professor based on the term used for the notebook clutched to their chest.

I wasn't a Writer's Notebook/ Day Book girl. The term didn't intimidate me, the lack of organization did. I love the organization of having separate places for different things and had a system. One binder for class, the PowerPoint for quotes, Word for story thoughts, the blog for God moments, and a small journal for the day's events. The thoughts of having all of those things combined together in one composition book concerned me. Imagine the mess! Then I glanced around my room and noticed the plethora of post-it notes strewn everywhere and decided something needed to change.

Enter my Writer's Notebook. I gave in and bought a composition book only because I finally found some that were college ruled! (Thanks, Office Depot). It lives in my back pack and is almost always with me. Whether I reach for it over a loose leaf sheet of paper is something I'm still working on, but I am improving. It is also the first thing I pack when I'm traveling. The first drafts of many of these blogs are hidden within its pages sitting side-by-side with thoughts that have yet to make an appearance in blog-world. It also contains great quotes and conversations, rough scenes from my novel, and sometimes my rants that cannot stay contained inside of me. For organization, I've tried to color-code my writing in pencil, black pen, and purple pen, but sometimes I forget which color means what. Sure, I still have a post-its everywhere, but I'm learning to enjoy the chaos of my Writer's Notebook.

This also leads to bedlam when the Writer's Notebook vanishes.

"OH MY GOSH!! I lost my Day Book," Keith ran into the caf screaming. Panic stuck. I guess he even sent text messages telling people to pray for him because it was like part of his life and been ripped from him.

"It'd be like if someone stole our blogs!" He said hitting me in the arm trying to put this catastrophe in perspective for me. I already understood, but there was no cutting him off. "Can you imagine if someone stole our blogs!"

"Katie's life would be over," Nikki teased. Maybe I'll hide her Writer's Notebook for a few hours and see how she likes it!

If you don't have a Writer's Notebook/ Day Book, get one. (And don't lose it, Keith). It doesn't have to be a college-ruled composition book. It can be a 10cent notebook Wal-mart sells right before school starts but know your spine will probably get messed up. It can be a fancy leather-bound book that's soft to the fingers but know those get expensive after one or two. Adapt these ideas (that I've already adapted once) and find something that works for you. But get a Writer's Notebook. Non-writers, I won't laugh (too hard) at you if you call yours a "Day Book."

Oh, and don't use a blog to catch your thoughts. I know, I'm writing to myself here. The chances of me accidentally destroying my blog is greater than losing my Writer's Notebook. I eat computers. Paper doesn't taste as good.

Remember those stories we talked about yesterday? Go break in your Writer's Notebook with some of them. :-)

Have you found Writers' Notebooks/ Day Books work for you? Are they practical for your life? Please let me know!

<>< Katie
PS: Happy birthday, Emily. :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have decided this is a perfect thing for my life so I can organize all of my thoughts into a notebook. It is less to think about, and is easier to keep track of everything. Thanks for the idea Katie!