I bought a notebook to carry with me in grad school, when I was thinking about writing more but not actually doing it. For some reason, I still have this 1/3 full Moleskine notebook. It made the move with me between two different apartments in New York and now to my second (soon, third) place of residence in England. I dug it out this morning to facilitate note-taking and idea-jotting while I’m away from my computer.
After a quick flip through, it occurred to me that this notebook may be useful to me now in a couple of ways. Although I didn’t do any fiction writing back when I bought it, I did use the notebook. I wrote down phone numbers for babysitting jobs, addresses for sending items I sold on Etsy or postcards while I was traveling, and recipes. There are many random tidbits in that book, which give little glimpses into what was happening in my life.
The notebook is like a very sporadic, mini diary. And, now, those almost cryptic names, reminders, and appointments are great fodder for writing. Thinking about who or what I was referring to is tickling the little bits of my brain that come up with story ideas. More than that, imagining a similar diary or notepad for a character would be a great way to get a feel for his personality and habits.
Of course, there is also the original intent of the notebook. I wrote several pages of a new story in it today. I’m hoping that will become a regular occurrence. I’m still planning to use it to keep track of random details, as I previously used it. Perhaps it can be a mini incubator of current stories and those yet to materialize from the inspiring, mundane details of my life.