No, I’m not talking about Ryan Gosling (unfortunately!), but actual notebooks and their importance to writers. It’s not just about the pretty covers (although who can resist a gorgeous new notebook with a colourful cover?) The notebook is one of the most invaluable tools when it comes to keeping ideas, jotting down one-liners or just doodling. People often ask where do writers find their inspiration and the truth is that it can come from anywhere – but it’s no use to anyone if you don’t write it down. Snippets of conversations in a café; a newspaper headline that catches your eye; a character in a movie; anything that gets your creative juices going can be held safely in your writer’s notebook.
You may not yet know how you will incorporate these ideas into a book, but trust me, one day you will. Just last week, I was stuck on a character and couldn’t get a clear picture of his background. A quick scan through my notebook, and I found just a few sentences of a character outline that suited my story perfectly and helped me to move ahead.
Simple ideas could become the theme for your entire novel, or just a funny joke told by one of your characters. For my novel ‘The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris’, I had kept a note of a TV show about French cuisine. Being a huge fan of both food and France, I knew I would write a story about it someday. In this particular show, the presenter explored different restaurants and foodie hot-spots in Paris. Right at the end, she pointed out an unusual boulangerie, famed for its secrecy and delicious breads and boasting patrons from the A-list of Parisian society. It was an old stone building with a basement entrance, where people could pick up their indulgent breads and pastries discreetly.There was something very mysterious about its allure and it immediately clicked with my inner storyteller – I just knew I wanted to tell this magical tale. I kept a tiny note of it in my trusty notebook for about two years before I actually used it and it’s my most popular novel!
So why not treat yourself to a small(ish) notebook that you can carry around with you and start making notes of anything that takes your fancy. You’ll be surprised how many ideas can spark your imagination in any given day and in the most ordinary situations. And don’t even get me started on finding the right pen! We’ll leave that for another day.