Notebooks – Finding What Works For You

Firstly, thank you so much, everyone, for your suggestions yesterday on how to get myself motivated, I really appreciate it 🙂 One thing I realised (along with many others!) is that I need to be more organised lol… I’m hoping this will help 🙂

I usually skim read The Writers Forum magazine when it thuds onto the doormat…..stick it in my pile of TBR magazines and then forget about it for 3 months. But this month, an article by Simon Whaley caught my eye so I just had to read it 🙂

In Notebook Know How, Simon explains how he has different notebooks for different things. Now, I’ve always been the one notebook for everything kinda gal. But reading Simons article made me realise that yep, he’s right, I can never find anything lol. I’m now on my 13th notebook, and though I can mostly remember what was in a previous book, I haven’t got a clue what was in say, book 4 lol

So as from the beginning of May I started working with 7 notebooks, all at the same time. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, 7 is a bit excessive, but, I can’t seem to cut it down to any less than that (Simon himself says that he has 6). Here are the books I’ll be working with:

Ideas Book – Where I’ll put ideas for stories, titles, articles I’m interested in, name ideas for characters, blog ideas and useful web site addys.
Prompts Book – Where I do my daily prompts.
Characters Book – As you know, I do a lot of characters, so a notebook dedicated to them will make it a lot easier when I’m trying to find one.
Goals/To Do List Book – I’ve decided to start each week with a set of goals, so a notebook dedicated to them would make sense.
Novel Notebook – A notebook dedicated to my current WIP novel, anything and everything that relates to it.
Dumping Book – The book that I take to my writing class and take out and about with me for free writing sessions.
Nano 2012- I’ve prepared a notebook for my A-Z characters, so I can add stuff that I come across which might be useful.


Simon says (i lovethat!) he uses his dumping book and then at the end of every day transfers the information into the categorised books. He says the transfer process also gives him an opportunity to develop the ideas further. Yeah, I can see that, extra work yes, but good to go over stuff I think.

How many notebooks do you work with and why?

I’ll let you know whether it was a good idea or a bad one in a couple of months LMAO 🙂


33 thoughts on “Notebooks – Finding What Works For You

  1. I’m just going with one at a time. I go in order, and I remember when I worked on what. Of course, interviews and questions take up most of the space in my notebooks. Most of my other information ends up on the computer. I usually remember if I have a story idea or something like written down. Again, if and when I remember. I put date to date in each notebook so I know when it was in use.


    • Yeah, I know a few people shot type up their notes to their laptop, I’m not sure that would work for me, as I’m quite a visual person, I like flicking through my notebook, rediscovering ideas 🙂

      Wow, I’m impressed that you remember stuff, I’m hopeless, even when I put dates on stuff lol

      Thanks hon 🙂



  2. I am not a big journal user (I usually have one ten-cent notebook that I dump everything from schoolwork to character sketches in and type it up later) but a friend gave me an very, very nice one for Christmas and it’s still blank. Maybe I’ll try doing a prompts notebook, or one for my WIP.


    • Thanks for stopping by hon 🙂

      Ooooo, yes, use it! I know lots of people who have large collections of pretty notebooks who are reluctant to use them because they’re too pretty. Nooooooo, that’s what makes them lovely to use IMO 🙂

      Good luck hon xx


  3. I just go with one, as I like the jumble effect. But then I like to type a lot on my laptop where it is more organised, so I think that might make the notebook less messy than it could be.


    • Oh, I totally agree! I’ve been working with one, and the jumble effect (nice description btw) since I started writing, but, trying to find a story idea that I came up with at some stage (ie I can’t remember the date) is becoming increasingly difficult lol.

      I’m more likely to flick through my notebooks than check my notes on the laptop, but glad to hear you’ve found something that works for you 🙂



  4. I’m on a measly 2 notebooks, one for big projects, the other for poetry. The poetry books are exercise books ( about half the size of A4), and I ‘ve bought a pack of 5 and expect to fill these quite quickly. The size of the pages is important too – too narrow and your work gets squashed.


    • Ahhhhh, yeah, I can totally see why you would want to write your poetry in a seperate book, makes sense to me 🙂 And jut the right size too! I favour A5, it’s the perfect size IMHO 🙂

      Thanks for sharing hon xx


  5. Hi Vikki
    I mainly work with one main one in my bag – but lately have a few others lurking about the house. They haven’t really got purposes to them, they are all dumping notebooks (I just need somewhere to put my thoughts). I suppose the only one that has any purpose is my ‘bedtime thoughts’ journal where I usually give an update of where I am going in life. I used to have a daily goals notebook – must dig it out! I love the idea of transferring the notes at the end of each day. I might need to rethink things.
    Thanks for the tips
    Sandra 🙂


  6. Wow, this is organization! I have different folders on my computer. I try to label those folders and put them into one giant desktop folder, but I still have to search for what I put where. Maybe the notebook thing would be better. I’ll scribble things on a big desk calendar as well. Love the pics, Vikki. Good luck to separating all those thoughts so big in your head! :).


  7. This is a wonderful post with lots of good ideas. I’m thankful for the comment you gave me on my blog about your crit group making me come over here to see you.

    What I use is One Main Dumping Notebook but I use different colored sticky notes with the topic of those few pgs on it like an index. And I’ll use the date,too to stay organized. May go over to your idea for a couple of more notebooks though. One for my writing groups.


  8. I thought seven was a lot of notebooks … until I realized that I have three myself!
    The first one I consider to be my ‘main’ notebook. Everything goes in there: freewriting, character sketches, writing exercises. If the words end up being worth keeping I type them into the computer. The type-in process usually involves editing and tightening so it’s all good (not a waste of time ;))
    Then a writing friend gave me a beautiful bound notebook that I carried around blank, until one day I had the beginnings of this huge story (it turned into a trilogy!) and so that one ended up being the place I put everything for that story.
    The last notebook is small enough to fit into my purse, so it goes everywhere with me. That’s where I write all my small ideas: names, plot twists, lines of dialogue, or bits of description.
    Have fun with all those notebooks! I’d love a peek at what you put in them. 🙂


  9. Zero notebooks, unless you want to count my journal…but, I can see that it would be in my best interests to change that. And, 7 notebooks sounds perfectly reasonable to me…but then again, 24 notebooks seems reasonable…


  10. I’m addicted to notebooks! Even today, I was looking at one thinking do I really need this?? But yes, I actually do. I have about 4 on the go at the moment. I bought an exercise book a few weeks ago with 5 tabbed sections but I find that it doesn’t work for me – Im the one-notebook-for-every-different-subject kinda gal! x


  11. boxes and boxes from years past…but none these days…lots of sticky notes and started some files though…interesting…probably should make friends with real paper again, at least to some degree.


    • Hi Katherine, thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Oh wow, I am soooo jealous!!!! You must set aside a day to skim through them, can imagine that would be quite fun 🙂

      Good luck hon, you can’t beat real paper IMO 🙂



  12. Pingback: What sort of notebook do you use? « The writer is a lonely hunter

  13. I realise that this post would have been before I found your wonderful blog I actually like the idea of just using one dumping journal then specific journals for the ideas think I may need some new ones to organise all the scribbles in my existing journals now lol


    • No worries Paula 🙂

      The real downside (IMO) is that I now have a pile of notebooks on my table and each time I want to write down something I have to rummage through the pile to find the right book! Lol

      Good luck 🙂



Lets chat!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s