Posts

Three Reasons to Carry a Notebook

One of the standard pieces of advice to writers is to carry a notebook and pencil everywhere, so that ideas that you have on the move don’t get lost forever.  For some people, this may make complete sense, but it seemed incomprehensible to me.  I would have loved it if the sort of idea that needed saving for posterity arrived fully fledged in my mind while I was rushing around, delivering children to school or activities, doing the shopping and the chores, or while I was fully focussed on my work.  But for me, the initial idea for a story is something that slips fleetingly and repeatedly in and out of my mind, like waves on a beach, leaving barely the shadow of an imprint; certainly nothing tangible enough to be articulated in words.  To turn that formless inkling into something that can be expressed takes serious, single-minded concentration, shut away in my study.  If I’m fortunate, I will then end up with some sort of diagram that may, after further work, form the basis of a storyline that can be captured in words. Read more