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Start a project notebook for NaNoWriMo and beyond

Part of my love (vice) of books includes an addiction to notebooks and journals. I imagine it goes along with my deep need to write, which showed itself on the walls of my childhood home. (Sorry mom.)

For each new writing project, I like to select a notebook to track my wild digressions, character ideas, and anything else that could be important for building in themes, plot, or subplots. When I was writing my memoir, I kept a list of research and ideas I wanted to pursue and questions that I needed to answer. I used my project notebook as a place to park them so I could free up my brain for the task at hand.

A NaNoWriMo notebook is especially helpful because in the heat of writing 50,000 words, the ideas will be springing out of your brain and you likely can’t address each one in the month of November. So having a place to track them will free up your brain. And if you freeze up somewhere along the 50,000 mad word dash of NaNoWriMo, you can look in your notebook for a jolt of inspiration.

If you’ve been writing your ideas on scraps of paper, just tape them onto a page of your notebook. Once you finish your draft and are ready to go into revision mode, your notebook entries create a sense of direction. If you come to a place where you aren’t sure what to do next, you may find a clue in your notebook.

I like to pick a notebook that has a distinctive color or style, so I can spot it in the avalanche of paper that can accumulate on my desk. It helps if you can carry the notebook around when you go out, so pick a size that suits you, whether it needs to go in a pocket, purse, or computer bag. Many of my best ideas and insights happen after I’ve stepped away from the keyboard.

Do you have notebook love? What is your current favorite notebook? Describe it in the comments below.

For more NaNoWriMo tips, check out Three posts to keep the words flowing.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. All my NaNoWriMo stuff is going in an Eccolo World Traveller journal, but it’s only got 256 pages and my handwriting is nearly too big to fit a full 50,000 in it as it is, without adding notes. Those are going in on post-its.

    November 11, 2014

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