Monday, March 2, 2015

Writing and Remembering the Old-Fashioned Way

Blue Butterfly
Writers are well aware of how quickly a great plot or idea for an amazing article will come into our heads. They are such good ideas that we are sure we will remember them until we finish whatever it is we are doing.  Right?  Wrong. We don't remember and the ideas flit away as quickly as they came. Finding a way to save our thoughts is something we need to learn to do.  I prefer the old fashioned way - a favorite pen and a journal.

Technology for Writers

Recording our thoughts as soon as we get them has been highly recommended or practiced by many authors, including Mark Twain. Currently, some authors still create that novel with pen and paper. But for the most part, typewriters followed by keyboards have been a writer's best friend.  We sit at our electronic gadgets to write, edit, and sometimes to add our thoughts to the internet.  I love my laptop and would be lost without it. But I also have to capture those fleeting thoughts when my gadgets aren't available.

During very long drives, I often wish I had a voice recorder.  I always end up with great ideas when I'm driving.  I don't pull over on the interstate to jot those ideas down. And no matter how good the thoughts were I have forgotten them by the time I arrive at my destination.  While driving, a recorder would be an excellent choice.  However, my preferred method of keeping track of ideas is with a good spiral journal.

Spiral Journals for Writers

Orchids on Brown
I have kept journals for many years. I write both important and trivial things in them.  My journals are a combination of address book, tracking politicians and legislation that I'm interested in, personal diary, research organizer, and fiction blurb depository.  I am occasionally fearful that upon my passing from this earth, someone will read my journals and confuse the factual entries with the fictional blurbs. After all, one page might contain my current weight and exercise information and the next might contain a few paragraphs describing how the lady-next-door lost her mind and planned to murder the annoying neighbor. Let's hope the only people who see my journals after my passing either understand my writing habits or have an odd sense of humor.

Piccadilly -- In looking back at my collection of journals, I realized that Piccadilly is a brand that I most often use.  I like the colorful and durable covers, the sturdy wire spiral, and the quality of the paper.  I often feel as though the act of unplugging and physically writing sometimes gets my creative juices flowing. This Orchids on Brown and a butterfly are my two favorite journal designs. The large journals are approximately 9 x 11 and fit perfectly in the bag I carry to work. This size lends itself to longer rambling entries.

Occasionally, I prefer to carry a smaller journal. On long hikes, other outdoor adventures, or traveling in public venues (such as the metro) I don't want the extra weight of a large journal. So I carry a small version.  While I use this for rambling notes and bits of fiction, the medium sized journals are also good for jotting short notes and not feeling like I'm wasting an entire page.

Zazzle -- I have several friends who use their photography to create gorgeous spiral journals on Zazzle. Their original artwork makes these journals unique.  In addition, you can often personaizel Zazzle items further by adding a name. CrypticArt's Web of Pearls spiral notebook and Melkav's Beautiful Bouquet are just two examples of the many spiral notebooks offered.

If you don't yet have a way to hang on to those fleeting story ideas, I hope you try jotting them down in a journal. If you have a tried and true method of not losing those ideas, I hope you share your secret with the rest of us. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”



  1. Keeping a journal handy is truly an excellent idea! I am constantly scratching notes and reminders on post-its and little notes books, but I like the idea of a journal better. For one thing, they are spiral bound which would keep my notes from getting lost. For another, they are pretty. Much better than carrying around crumpled pieces of paper or searching for a scrap of paper when I need one. The journals you have featured are really beautiful.

    1. Oh my gosh.. I'm the post-it Queen at work. And I lose track of things. Post-its totally don't work for writing.

  2. I have begun a journal and/or diary SO many times over the years and never quite follow through. Instead I tend to use scrap paper and jot down those fleeting ideas you mention that pop in and out of our heads. I've often recorded lines from songs and books that particularly 'spoke' to me, but not in any dated, organized way. Wish I had now, but guess it's not too late to begin being better organized with my 'ramblings'. Love this idea of using an attractive journal and spiral is the best because it opens and lays flat for writing.

    1. My journals may lay around for a year or two then I pick it back up. It almost makes it more interesting that way. To see what is the same or different over the years. And yes, these Piccadilly journals lay flat. Or fold all the way back on itself so you only have the one side. They are really good journals.

  3. Great tips! I have boxes of journals from decades of scribbling. I have a recorder, but I always seem to grab a journal when I have a fleeting thought.

    1. My scribbling goes back over decades also. I love to go back and look at it sometimes.

  4. What a lovely review! And you've just inspired me to have a go at turning my photos into journals. I have a Zazzle store and have never got around to looking at journals, so that's the next thing on my list there. As far as capturing my ideas, I have a small notepad on my desk with lists of ideas and also lists on the computer too. My only real problem is when I have an idea in the shower! For some reason by the time I'm all sorted it's disappeared and only ever turns up again when I'm in the next shower. What to do...? :0)

    1. Haha! Yes, the shower is the worst place to get those great ideas. I haven't figured out how to handle that yet. I look forward to seeing your Zazzled notebooks!

  5. I used to carry a 5 subject notebook around with me everywhere. It was my writers notebook. Seeing these lovely spiral journals make me want to start that habit again.

    1. I think it's a good habit to have. I used to carry notebooks too but eventually the covers would rip off. These covers are thick and durable. I haven't ripped one off yet.

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