Friday, February 24, 2012

Just Me and My Notebooks

Unlike yesterday, which involved driving all over SoCal, this sunny Friday held no appointments, meetings, or classes, which meant a full day writing at home - in pajamas! Ah, the perks of being an artist...

People are often surprised to hear I do most of my writing by hand - pen to paper, like in the olden days before typewriters or computers. There's something about the tactile method of processing thoughts into the written word that gets my creativity flowing. And I always have one journal that's solely devoted to brainstorming and freewriting.

My blank (preferably unlined) notebooks are the canvas for my writing - developing new ideas, beating out plot points, exploring character back stories, or just working out my thoughts.

Today, I decided to sweep my last year of notebooks and look for stray story ideas that could be revived or revisited. A look back at my creative mind dumping during my last trip around the sun.

Here's what I found:
  • Brainstorming babble for dozens of pilot ideas that went nowhere, including my failed attempt to make an orphan cult seem interesting and several misguided pages contemplating turning Kindergarten Copinto a series. (I don't know either.)

  • Fragments of old ideas that pleasantly surprise me. I delighted in finding six pages devoted to this gem of an idea:

    Oh, if only...

  • Character name trends - my bad guys are almost always named Bruce, after my sister's evil ex. Most of my handsome leading men are named Tommy, after...well, that's a story for another day...

  • Ample amounts of self-flagellation and freaking out - e.g. - "I have nothing! I don't know what my voice is or what story I want to tell!" and "What are the themes I resonate with? Who frickin' knows!"

  • Equal amounts of self-encouragement - "Come on, you can do this, damnit!" and "Closing the gap - that's all I'm doing. Don't look down - keep fighting through!"

  • And finally, utter randomness I can't even remember:

Have you ever found something random you've written & not remembered why you wrote it?


  1. Yes, I've definitely found that random note that left me baffled.

    Years ago, before email, I was an avid letter writer. I loved the whole process and used a hand dipped fountain pen on hand made paper whenever possible. I still use fountain pens because there is something pure and organic of writing with something that has fully adapted to my hand. I'm not a writer, but that hasn't kept me from having moleskines everywhere...for the quick note...a sketch here and there...and idea for a sculpture or record the funny little things that just happen in any given day. Pen. Paper. Sublime.

  2. Sublime, indeed! I remember writing letters to pen pals in high school - so delicious. :)

    Love the idea of a hand dipped fountain pen - that's a desk toy I'll have to look for!