It was a few years ago that an Open University Creative Writing Course was taken to kick-start creativity. The first thing I was told, on almost the opening page of my Unit booklet, was that there’d need to be a notebook for ideas. This, initially, was met with much internal hilarity: when there are ideas, I just write them down complete online. Why on Earth would there be the need to keep notes?
Several years on, there is not a day where a notebook is not close by.
Poetry is odd stuff: I’ll get a line in my head sometimes and then scrabble to keep it intact. That’s where pen and paper beat electronic means such as my phone, though I will freely admit that my tablet (and Pages) has become a useful fall-back notepad late at night or early in the morning. However, it’s those moments when a full-blown plot appears out of left field and EVERYTHING needs to be remembered now where this form is a massive boon.
Most of the stuff in the Book Of Shame is accompanied by such handwritten notes: both Already Grown and Reboot to Shell emerged fully formed. Occasionally it will only be a title that starts the process, and that was today’s revelation. 24 Adjectives for Pain was begun from a conversation between myself and my Physiotherapist, and now needs titles to accompany the journey from flab to fit. The notebook will be put to good use in the next few days, of that I have no doubt.
Writing should be a constantly evolving process: if it’s not, how do you ever get better? Once upon a time there was no need to be organised, but with so much else going on… without it, I’m frankly lost. Listing to other people’s wisdom pays dividends, people, it is why there’s so much stating the obvious going on all around you. What may seem obvious to one person is inevitably news to somebody else.
If all else fails, a notebook can be used for shopping lists and doodling in traffic jams.
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