A writer’s notebook is a notebook for anything and everything writing-related. It will help you be more organized, and disciplined with your writing and serve as a shoulder to cry on as you journal about your writer’s block for the third time this week. Here are some ideas on what can be written in such a notebook.
Writer’s Notebook #1: Lists
It wouldn’t be a notebook if it contained not even a single list. There are many things you can keep on a list: projects you’ve written, are yet to write and all the books you shall read next in your chosen topic to improve your manuscript. You can have a list of lovely character names for future (or current) projects, location titles, magic systems, and whatever else you need for your storylines.
Writer’s Notebook #2: Outlines
This can help you whenever you’re stuck and struggling to figure out what’s next for your story. None of this is permanent and set in stone, so you can leave a few extra lines for each chapter outline just in case you’ll scrap your plan and end up writing a different scene altogether. Having a space to track your storyline and all the changes is helpful for your future self when you’ll need to do revisions and editing.
Writer’s Notebook #3: Contacts
Speaking of which, keep a page or two for important contacts, such as editors you’ve used before and liked or editors you’ve despised working with in the past (and so need to avoid). Perhaps you haven’t used an editor before but have an eye on someone you’d like to work with in the near future – jot that down and set a reminder to contact them even if you’re not done yet with your manuscript.
Editors are busy people just like any of us and usually plan their work in advance, so being extra careful and contacting them in advance is a good idea. Another type of contact you can keep in your notebook is some artists you’d like to commission, either for cover artwork/design or character art.
Writer’s Notebook #4: Playlists
Any and all inspiration is welcome when you’re struggling to write (even if you’re not) so having some songs related to your project to turn to is always a good idea. Turn to this page whenever you need to get into the mood to write a specific project you’re working on or whenever you just feel like daydreaming about the world and characters you have created.
Writer’s Notebook #5: Word Count Tracker
If you’re anything like me, seeing progress is a must for motivation. One way to do this is to have a little table or graph to jot down how many words you’ve written that day or week or you can use this online tool. Looking back at your month or even year can be very inspirational when you see all that hard work in numbers. If you prefer, you can track hours worked on your project instead, too. Try out both ways and see which one sticks to you.
Writer’s Notebook #6: Research
No matter what you’re writing: fiction or non-fiction, some sort of research is involved. It may be something that was mentioned already before in this article (like lists of character names) or a deep dive into the Victorian era, you can keep notes on anything that is even remotely related to your current (or future) project in this notebook. Allow yourself to fill these pages with some research and satisfy that itch of diving deep into a super specific topic that you may (or may not) need for your manuscript.
Writer’s Notebook #7: Shiny New Ideas
Those come right in the middle of working on a project, I know. That’s why you need to get them out of your head as soon as they pop up. Jot anything down that you suddenly came up with for a new project and then leave it be. Return to your current project. You’re welcome.
This is only a small fraction of ideas to fill your writing journal with. There is no limit to things you can put there, anything writing-related. If you keep up with this practice, you’ll fill many notebooks this way. All of them will slightly differ from one another in the system you use for it until you find the best way to organize all your notes. Happy writing!
Did you find this post interesting? Check out our guide on how to stay organized for writers.