Phil: Whenever I read about writers, they always seem to mention their notebook. It lives beside the bed for midnight scribbling and is carried at all times in case the muse strikes and great thoughts have to be committed to paper or be lost forever on the winds.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never been very good with notebooks. At school I took the attitude that if I needed to know stuff in an exam it was better in my head than scribbled on paper, which might account for my derisory exam results. Later, at work, while others fill endless pads with verbatim reports of meeting, I take part in the meeting and just jot down any action points. Not being very good at multi-tasking, I reason that if you want a full and complete record then video the thing or get a shorthand taker to write it all down. If I’m in the room I’m then my role is to help make decisions and drive projects forward. Anyway, the average meeting is full of waffle which the world can live without.
That hasn’t stopped me acquiring the obligatory pad. At my desk, the sort of jobs I do require me to jot things down so I can keep track of them. One of these pads is half full of web page addresses that have been coloured in with highlighter pen as I kept track of project progress. The layout is best described as freeform. Some might say chaotic but I don’t feel that I should be hide-bound by the convention forced on me by those horizontal lines – writing up the page sometimes works well and if I add a few arrows and lines in then I know what is going on. Didn’t Leonardo de Vinci leave notes people had to decipher ? Yes he did so it’s obviously a mark of genius.
Anyway, that is the big notebook. It makes the photo because I used it at the firm where I met Candice and our book idea was born. Thus, it has work at the front and great literary ideas towards the back.
The smaller book is my writing notepad. At A6 size it is small enough to lodge in my bag so it can travel around. As well as an elastic band to hold it shut, there is a bookmark ribbon so I can find where I was last jotting. The covering is a sort of rubbery/vinyl affect which isn’t leather, as prefered by many writers of the romantic persuasion, but seemed when I bought it more appropriate than cardboard. The rules of being a writer say this is important and if you have a nice cover, you will put better thoughts inside.
I’m not sure about this but I do jot down ideas. I also record observations for when I’m writing one of my other blogs. It’s easy to forget detail and when detail matters it should be recorded for future use. There’s also a collection of random ideas and the genesis of both Kate vs the Dirtboffins and Kate vs The Potter along with book 2 in the series – yes we are working on it ! In years to come I expect I will have to donate it to the British Library or perhaps the Bodleian so it can be saved for the nation.
Candice has a notebook. Her book is A4 sized and covered with paintings of shoes. She’s a lot more organised than me and has neater writing. I sometimes feel guilty when we are chatting and she’s managing to take notes at the same time, so some of the scribbles in my book are there to salve my conscience when I feel I ought to write stuff down too. I can guess which one future historians will find more useful.
But, the question is, which comes first ? Being a writer and buying a notepad or buying a notepad and then deciding you fancy being a writer ?