J. L. Willow

Author ~ Blogger ~ Storyteller

Many writers (including myself) find organizing their thoughts pretty difficult. Notebooks can revolution the way you write — if you know how to use them. Over the years, I’ve got my note-taking down to a science. Every piece of paper I have is there for a reason and everything has a place. Shown above are the journals I use for various reasons. I’m going to give a little explanation of each of them in order to hopefully give you some ideas on how to hone your own journaling skills.

Pink Notebook (1)

This is for note-taking regarding the writing/publishing/editing processes. Whether I’m listening to a talk or reading an article about how to refine my own skills, I’ve got my trusty notebook beside me. It was truly my most valuable tool while I was publishing The Scavenger, as I did a ton of research before I even started down the publishing path.

Snapshot Notebook (2)

I love the design of this notebook. I’ve never seen another like it. The pages aren’t lined, which makes it perfect for what I use it for. Inspiration could hit at any moment, and whether the idea is big or small, I’m always sure to jot it down. I call my ideas ‘snapshots’ because they usually come in the form of a short clip or scene. If someone else was to read a page from this book, it probably wouldn’t make much sense. But to me, those few scribbled words jog a memory to a scene I conceived. 

Gem Notebook (3)

As I’ve explained before in prior posts, in order to be a good writer, you have to read. I like to think of it as every time I read, I replenish my supply of words that I use to write. Sometimes, while I’m reading, I’ll come across something that strikes a chord within me. The line or paragraph might make me laugh or cry or just make me stop and read it again to absorb the language. Whenever I find one of these gems, I always write it down. As I go back over them, I try to remember why I was so moved by it and try to reflect that use of language in my own writing.

Mystery Notebook (4)

This journal changes and can vary depending on what’s happening in my life at the time. For each book I write, I have a separate notebook that I use strictly for that story. I use it to flesh out ideas, jot down Beta Reader notes, and copy down anything that pertains to that book. By the time I’m finished, it’s usually pretty messy and well-loved, but it holds the memories and fresh ideas that help me bring that particular story to life. I usually try to pick a journal that reflects the theme of the book. For my current WIP, it has a dark and cloudy cover with a crisp, simple interior (first hint of what my next book is about).

So, there you go! There’s no right or wrong way to organize your notebooks, but this is just the way that works best for me.

How do you organize your work? Are there any other notebooks that you use? Comment below!

Keep working hard! Don’t stop writing 🙂

— J. L. Willow


2 thoughts on “Notebook: A Writer’s Best Weapon

  1. jon287 says:

    I haven’t used notebooks in a while, but I take notes all the time when I have an idea, like post-its- I’m always afraid if I don’t write it down it’s going to escape me quickly


  2. lauraw32 says:

    You can organize your post it’s in a notebook. It’s harder to lose a book than a little square of paper!


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