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Juicy Journals & Wild Words
Juicy Journals & Wild Words : Creating a Writer's Notebook

Juicy Journals & Wild Words

Creating a Writer's Notebook

By Molly J. Anderson-Childers

Welcome, fellow wordaholics and bibliophiles! If you're already journaling about your life, you may harbor dreams of writing professionally one day — I know that's where I started! Or maybe you're an experienced writer, interested in going deeper into your work, further along the writer's path. No matter where you are in your journey, a writer's notebook is an invaluable tool, every step of the way.

What's the difference between a journal and a writer's notebook? They're as different as apples and zebras! It is a matter of scope and subject, function and form…while a journal traditionally focuses on the daily events of one's life, the writer's notebook allows you to look beyond the surface events and delve into the life of the mind.

While you can certainly get creative within the pages of your journal — for some excellent ideas and examples, please see my previous articles in this Creativity Portal exclusive series — a writer's notebook is a different animal entirely.

Ready, Set, SHOP!!!

When shopping for the perfect writer's notebook, consider your needs — and your budget — carefully. Buy the best tools you can afford to buy as often as you need to. In other words, don't wait until you can afford that sweet leather Oberon Journal and a Cross fountain pen — get a cheap steno pad and a ballpoint and get started. If you're broke and want to take your writing to the next level, I've got great news — the tools you need are cheap (notebooks and pens) or free (your imagination, and a library card). Shop the back-to-school sales; get a few sizes and styles to experiment with, and find a pen that feels good in your hand. You'll find what suits you eventually. I love tiny purse-sized notebooks, huge blank sketchbooks full of thirsty, thick paper, handmade books, leather-bound journals, college rule and wide rule and pages with no lines at all.

Above all, be practical in your choice of tools for this trade. If you spend most of your writing time in coffee-shops, outdoors, in bed, or at the kitchen table, like I do, you want a sturdy, spiral-bound notebook that is cheap and virtually indestructible, not a hand-tooled leather journal that's going to be ruined by a coffee-stain or a crumb.

Now What? Prompts and Ideas to Help You Get Started

Once you've selected a notebook, you may want to designate special pages for different types of writing projects: journaling, free-writing, letters, articles/interviews, poetry, and fiction can be intermingled or put into separate sections, as you prefer. I suggest a few pages at the back of your notebook left blank to brainstorm, doodle and dream of new stories, new songs to sing.

I like to collect lists of words — real and made-up ones, interesting words, words I love the sound of, words to whisper, words to shout. Look to the dictionary and thesaurus if you need some new words. Magazine ad copy and junk mail can be filled with fascinating words and images to paste into your journal.

Another page or section of your writer's notebook might be reserved for character names for your next novel or short story, followed by pages for verbal and visual character sketches, interviews with a character, and art based on a character, scene or story.

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