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Friday, November 11, 2011

Let’s Go To the (Blog) Hop!

I was invited to participate in the Scribbles Blog Hop, and it sounded like a lot of fun, so here we go…

each writer is going to post pics of their writing journal/diaries/notebooks/notepads/etc and tell a little about their approach to writing, how & why they use their journals, and post links to the other bloggers participating.

I knew there was a reason I was saving all those scraps of paper…

Notebooks and notepad scraps

Everything eventually finds its way into Scrivener on my laptop, but not all of it starts there.

notebook writing sample
After I got caught out with an idea at lunch, and nothing to write it on, I got into the habit of taking a pen and either a notepad or notebook to lunch with me.

Depending on how hard something is trying to get out of my head, I’ll either eat lunch (usually at the Johnny’s Pizza on Jones Bridge in John’s Creek) or just start writing right away and keep an eye out for the server. I’ve been going there long enough that the staff knows I drink unsweet tea and usually get two pizza slices with mushrooms. Once I get started, I’ll write until whatever it is gets completely out of my head or until it just gets too late to ignore how far overtime my lunch “hour” is running.

This particular scrap of paper contains what became Episode 74 of White Pickups. You may notice scratch-outs on the paper — those happen at the time I’m writing. I can’t get out of the habit of editing as I write. I’ll edit some more as I type things in — often inserting sentences or whole paragraphs.

One day I was poking around in a B&N while someone (I think it was Daughter Dearest’s boyfriend at the time) was at the nearby game store, and it was there that I saw the Moleskine rack. I bought one of the pocket notebooks, and bought a second one in May after I filled up the first one.

They’re awfully handy — it’s easy to see why (as the promotional literature wants you to know) the likes of Hemingway swore by them. The little pocket in the back holds note cards and other bits of not-quite-outlines that I’ll flesh out when the characters get off the dime and let me know what’s going on.

That pretty much leaves “why” — well, I’ve already explained part of it: it’s a convenience. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, writers are working when we’re staring out the window — but the downside to that is that we’re always working. So having a way to get words on paper when the ideas are coming, but the keyboard isn’t available, is crucial.

Now of course, that only works if someone (like Mason, the World’s Cutest Grandkid) doesn’t snatch the pen and Moleskine right out of your pocket:

Mason grabs the pen and Moleskine

I took this shot back in February, when he was about 18 months old. He’s 26 months now, and still likes to grab ’em when he can. Maybe once he learns to write, he’ll be writing his own stories too.

But until Mason starts sharing his stories with the world, go check out the other writers participating in the Scribbles Blog Hop:

Danielle La Paglia: http://daniellelapaglia.wordpress.com/

Anne Michaud: http://annecmichaud.wordpress.com/

Marianne Su: http://mariannesu.com/blog/

Victoria D Griesdoorn: http://www.vdgriesdoorn.com/

Ren Warom: http://renwaromsumwelt.wordpress.com/

J.A. Campbell: http://writerjacampbell.wordpress.com/

Tammy Crosby: http://tammywrites.wordpress.com/

Maria Kelly: http://mariakellyauthor.com/

Chrissey Harrison: http://chrisseysgreatescape.wordpress.com/

Natalie Westgate: http://nataliewestgate.com/

Tony Noland: http://www.tonynoland.com/

Larry Kollar: http://farmanor.blogspot.com/ (←you are here)


  1. Great idea.. I love looking at other people's mess.. rather than my own.. I have a filing cabinet stuffed full of scraps of screwed up/flattened sheets of paper, and notebooks and draft after draft after tea-stained print out of my novel. I might empty the whole lot onto the floor and post a photo..(probably wait until my wife has gone out though.. wouldn't want her to think I'd gone all Jack Nicholson (The shining) on her.

  2. Hi Tom, welcome to the free-range insane asylum!

    If you do that, post a link. Most of my surviving scraps are in that first photo. I think the only reason I keep 'em around is just in case I hit it big. Then they could be sold off in a charity auction or something. ;-)

  3. Wow, I love that first picture with all of your notes, they feel almost antiqued - no offense:)

    Cutest grandkid indeed!! And he's showing great taste by picking that Moleskine up.

    Happy Scribbles Blog Hop ♥

  4. Hadn't seen a photo of Mason in a while. What a cutey. You ever scribble some notes on him? Always wash it off before Grandma notices.

  5. It is a good idea to keep a notebook handy. For NaNoWriMo, I started carrying a notebook with my outlines in it. If I have extra time, like during lunch, I'll pull it out and start writing in a scene I hadn't done yet. I still prefer typing since my keyboard skills tend to keep up with my brain better than my handwriting ones, but it's definitely handy. :)

  6. Oh loved your post, Mason is adorable! And hopefully he will learn from your good example the importance of reading and writing. :) Your handwriting is similiar to mine, loved the pics, really fun.
    Nice meeting you here in the blog hop! :)

  7. Nice set of notes you have there. They look like they could have belonged to a 19th century writer with the elegant handwriting. Thanks for posting those.

  8. What? No pizza stains on the paper? I enjoyed reading about your process and how that involves journals. Love Mason's pj's - almost as cute as he is.

  9. "As I wrote a couple weeks ago, writers are working when we’re staring out the window — but the downside to that is that we’re always working. So having a way to get words on paper when the ideas are coming, but the keyboard isn’t available, is crucial."

    Totally agree!!!!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Julie/J.A. Campbell/Firewolf

  10. I did the scraps-of-paper thing for awhile, but moved to a notebook once I started needing to write down more than a phone number or a few sentences.

  11. Hi all!

    Anne, I used a bounce flash and I think some of the light reflected off the light wood of the headboard. Some of the paper was just colored like that already too.

    JohnW, I posted one of Mason in his Halloween outfit last week. I don't scribble notes on him; he won't hold still long enough!

    Cherie, same here — but I like the pocket Moleskine because I don't have to think about picking it up. It's already in my pocket.

    Tammy, I hope so! The first time he grabbed my writing stuff, I asked him if he was going to write a story. He responded with a string of vowels that (if I could only have translated it) was surely the plot to the Next Huge Series.

    Michael, I've never had my handwriting described as "elegant" before!

    Marianne, I try to be careful about mixing pizza and writing. There's probably some splatters on some of those pages.

    Thanks, Julie!

    Tony, I still use notepads on occasion when the pocket Moleskine feels a little too cramped.

  12. Nice penmanship.
    Might have to take a photo of my collection of paperwork I call my journals.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  13. Hi Adam! Good to see you back. If you do take pics, send me a link so I'll be able to see them. This bloghop was a lot of fun to do — I hope I get invited to some others, or come up with an idea or two of my own.

  14. Love the little mini-moleskine. I should check those out. I need a pocket notebook for my purse. The picture of Mason is priceless. Yup, I think he's going to be a writer. He just has that look.

    Nice photos of the paper and journals, too.

  15. I hadn't thought about it like that before but yes, I guess we writers are always working!

    I love that you have a lunch place that knows you and knows what you'll be ordering :) finding somewhere to feel comfortable enough to just sit and write is always a bonus...especially if pizza is involved!

  16. Maria, they *are* nice. I found myself wondering why I spent that much on a notebook for a while, but by the time I filled it up, I knew why & bought another one! Mason is definitely a clever kid. He's got his dad's (and granddad's) imagination, for sure.

    Natalie, the restaurant was just something I fell into. I was really bummed when they shut down to move, and had to find a new "my table" when they reopened at the new location. Of course, the staff turned over, but the new folks are getting in the groove now. And yes, pizza (or a spaghetti place with a side salad) is great writing fuel!

  17. I loved all those bits of paper and really liked the idea of lunch being sweet tea pizza, note book and pen!

    I only have one journal given me this year on my 60th birthday to record this 60th year, but you know I think I might just get into the writing journal thingy and carry one around with me for those ah ha moments.


  18. Looks like a good way of writing! Very useful to always have a notebook with you

  19. Helen, if you get a thin writing journal you could carry both around almost as easily as one. I don't *journal* so much as write down stories (or scraps) as they come to me. Like you said, the "ah ha moments."

    Crafty, it is very useful! Like having the cellphone camera, it's always with me even if it doesn't always do what I'd like. However, I was able to get a good pic of a bird who'd hit the side of our building recently — he was stunned enough to sit still and let me get within 2-1/2 feet (about 80cm I guess).

  20. This is a wonderful idea! It's great seeing the photos of your works in progress, Far! Kinda like the stages of my paintings. ;-)

    And Mason is too cute!

  21. Hey Boran — yeah, I really enjoyed it. You might want to hit a couple other links to see what some other people did with it. Some got really creative.

    That was a relatively older pic of Mason, from Feb, but like I said he still likes to grab. This morning, he decided to help me write a little too!

  22. I always love seeing how people work. I have the tiny A6 Moleskine notebooks but I don't use them as much as I should.

  23. I love the pictures! I got lots of piles of torn notepaper or looseleaf like that.

    And I have a lot more scratched out line and scribbling in the margins than you have in those photos.

  24. Hey all!

    Icy, maybe next time you can join us? ;-) Yeah, the A6 size is pretty handy for portability. If you're never caught out without your laptop, though, it's not as necessary.

    Sonia, I have a bad habit of thinking about what I want to write before I start scribbling. Probably a habit from pre-computer days, when the word "rewrite" meant exactly that!

  25. It's true that the writer's mind really never shuts down. I was scribbling things in the airports and the plane last weekend as I traveled. I have some kind of notebook w/me at all times, although I have yet to purchase a Moleskin. That just got added to my next shopping list. :)

  26. Hi Danni! I'll bet writing took your mind off the flight, too. The only drawback with a Moleskine is that it's not as easy to decorate as some of your other notebooks.


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