"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nobokov

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Confessions of a Notebook Addict (Part Two)

I have so much to say, and I don't even know where to begin! At times like these, there's only one thing to do: Make a List.


  • First, let me say that it's so good to be blogging again! School has been crazy. Enough said.
  •  Am I a bad person for losing a library book? It's true I'm not the most responsible book borrower, and while I've been known to rack up an impressive fine, I've never lost a book before. This is when I really need the accio spell...
  • Speaking of books, I now have a book journal! It's like a birder's life list, except for books. My mom and I made/bound it ourselves while working on an English project.
  • I think book-binding is my new hobby.
  • Also, for those who were wondering, I'm really enjoying my creative writing class! I was also made president of the creative writing club, which is amazing and a little scary at the same time. (I'm not a very good leader, but I'm trying to improve!)
  • And this list could go on forever if I don't get it under control... I think its time to start the actual post.
Ok, well as promised, this is part two of my Confessions of a Notebook Addict post. An update: My condition hasn't improved. Of course you could probably tell that by my mention of my new book journal. Here's a picture:

Isn't it beautiful? I think it is. But enough of that. On to the good stuff. You, like me, are struggling with an addiction. You may have hundreds of unfinished or untouched notebooks. You ask yourself, "What am I going to put in all those pages?" Hopefully, this post will help. But before I give you ideas, here are some things every notebook owner should think about.

1. How does this particular notebook make you feel? Ok, I know that sounds silly, but really think about it. Is this a notebook that gives you permission to write horribly? (Example: Cheap spiral that you found at the dollar store.) Or is this the leather bound journal you bought at the stationary shop at the mall, right next to the 600 dollar pens? If you can abandon your stereotypes and feel fine doodling and scratching out whole pages in your leather bound journal, more power to you, but most of us don't share your point of view. Make sure you feel comfortable enough to write freely and try new things in the notebook that you have. The leather bound one will have to wait.

2. Is it portable? This is important. You can do more with your notebook if you have it with you when inspiration strikes. I have a small black notebook that goes everywhere with me. I write in it at school, at home, in restaurants, and in waiting rooms. My dad caries a thin blue one in his shirt pocket. And ladies: the bigger the purse, the bigger the notebook you can take with you!

3. What do you want it to be? Think about what the purpose of your notebook is. My small one is my idea book; it has descriptions of places I go and people I meet. My book journal is, well, just for writing about the books that I read. And I turn to my personal journals when I've had a bad day. Before you start writing, ask yourself what your notebook means to you. You can use any of the ideas I list in this post exactly as they are, or you can change them and make them your own. Stretch my suggestions to fit your personal needs. If your notebook is all yours, finishing it will be all the more sweet.

And now, without further ado, here are some ideas to help fill those blank pages:

1. Make a list of: dog breeds, ice cream flavors, story ideas, all the things around you that are blue, crayon names (Ex: Caribbean Sky, Dorsal Fin Gray, etc.), interesting books you see in book stores, cool words, and character names.
2. Draw (no matter how bad you think you are): monsters, the person sitting next to you, a character you're thinking about, eyes, mouths, or hair cuts.
3. Write your bucket list. Close your eyes, run your finger down the page, and stop. Make a character in a story do whatever item your finger is pointing to. No cheating!
4. Write something from the point of view of something else. Anything else.
5. Write what you think the person nearest to you is thinking.
6. Draw a map and name all the roads and forests and rivers and lakes after people you know.
7. Put one character in several different settings. How do they react? What do they do differently (or the same) in each?
8. Write a story about a department store while in a department store.
9. Write down any interesting quotes you see, no matter where you are.
10. Glue these into the your journal: ticket stubs, receipts, coupons, random pieces of paper you find in parking lots, other people's grocery lists, polaroid photographs, fabric swatches, strange metal objects (flat, like washers), leaves, pressed flowers, and wood chips.
11. Reserve one page of your notebook for writing in glitter.
12. Make a list of everything you win from gum machines. 
13. Write letters (of the "Thank You" variety or not) to the following people: Your future self, your parents, your pets, your role model, your favorite celebrity, your favorite author, your favorite fictional character,  your favorite historical figure, and your elementary school teacher.
14. Try your hand at writing with a dip pen.
15. Write a poem inspired by whatever song you happen to be listening to at the moment. 
16. Create a virtual Facebook profile for one of your characters.
17. Reserve one page for writing completely in texting language. (Just make sure all your pages don't start looking like that!)
18. Reserve one page for all the words you misspelled on all the other pages, and place them next to their correct spellings. This could actually become a very useful tool.
19. Write down made-up words and their definitions. Who knows when you'll have to make up a new language for a project you're working on!
20. And finally, HAVE FUN!

Well, thats all I can think of, but I hope now you get the jist. Please let me know if this was helpful, and feel free to share any ideas you have in the comments. 

Wow! I didn't realize this post had gotten so long! Once again, thanks so much for reading :)