A Tale of Three Notebooks

This post is totally about stationery, and it is also totally about writing.  This past weekend, I picked up three notebooks, all dedicated to writing. Here’s the family photo, all three in one place:


We’ll start with the unicorn. The morning pages book I started on my friend, EC’s floor, is now full. Three pages, as soon as possible after waking, every day, no exceptions. Whatever is in my head goes onto the page. That’s the rule. Julia Cameron, who first came up with the idea of this discipline might quibble with my version, because my pages are not the exact size specified; for me, it’s all about the pretty paper. If it’s pretty, I’ll want to write on it. That’s how I roll. Seriously, who could resist these inside pages?


Gorgeous, right? Kind of like a sunrise, if one is so visually inclined. I also love that, unlike my usual choices, this book is wire bound, which means I can fold the cover back and always deal with only one page at a time. I could get used to that.

A more recent addition to my notebook arsenal is the bookend (pun intended) to the morning pages, which I call evening pages. For this one, blame Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose good morning and good night tweets popped up in my head, late one stressy night, when I desperately needed both sleep and reassurance. Evening pages are my pep talks to myself, a quick rundown of the good points of the day, and encouragement for the day to come. I started writing those in a pocket sized hardcover book, that I thought was going to be part of Li’l Pink’s arsenal, but, when I got the new book for morning pages, it felt right to get one for evening pages, as well. Also, the blue book, which I always read as “Trust Your Butt,” was on ridiculously low clearance, so I could not leave it there. No inside pages picture, because these inside pages are plain, lined, white. Nothing to see here. I actually like the idea of very plain pages to close out the day; it feels restful, so I’m going with it.

The newest member of the Pink family does not have a name yet (suggestions welcome, in the comment section) but she is replacing the orange planner, who is taking early retirement. This orange planner and I have been through a lot together. I felt pangs as I put him in his box while packing the old apartment, and was impatient to get him back when we did land in For-Now apartment. Trouble is, dude has, how shall I put this delicately, bad juju. It’s time for a fresh start.

This new, pink, planner has white pages, unusual for me, because I usually require ivory or colored, but, this time, I like the difference. Also different is the fact that the tools I wanted to use for this planner were clear from the first; I’m going minimal. Black pen, one set of pastel highlighters, only a dash of a single color per page. Very much not me, and, yet, very much me, at the same time.

The biggest difference, and by this I mean biggest, biggest, can I really pull this off, difference, is that this planner is focused, not on domestic duties, moving, or other domestic concerns, but writing. Sure, some non-writing appointments will be in there, but mainly as a way to remind me that I have to put the writing time in elsewhere. It’s a new approach for me, and somewhat scary, but exciting, too.


Future Log Pages

The first thing I put in the book was a quick calendar for the rest of the year. No spaces to write things down, just numbers in a square, so that I know what day of the week goes with what day of the month. Next is the future log section, a rundown of dates that are already spoken for, on a regular basis: weekly breakfasts with N, blog posts for this blog, and for Buried Under Romance. Plenty of space to add in other things as they arise. Since we’re coasting into the end of July, I don’t have July things on there, like Skype sessions with Melva (but will be including those, going forward) and the upcoming release of the New York’s Emerging Writers fiction anthology, but, putting it out there, Connecticut Fiction Fest is but a handful of heartbeats away. Definitely time to get my ducks in a row, for that particular pond. I have seen Melva’s PouwerPoint, and it is magnificent.

This week, she and I are putting our final-final-final touches on Chasing Prince Charming, and then back out it goes, in search of a good home. When that happens, we are taking a short break for Melva to focus on her super fun humorous nonfiction, and me to focus on Her Last First Kiss. I already hear N’s voice in my head, reminding me to set a target date for the completion of draft two, and potential markets for same. September brings Fiction Fest, and then, whammo- bammo, it’s October, season of my birthday, Halloween, the clocks rolling back to my beloved early sunsets, and then the holiday season will be upon us.

Said holiday season includes November, which has not only Thanksgiving, but regular National Novel Writing Month, and I need to start preparations now, if I want to participate. At this point, I don’t know. Is that the selkie story’s time, or do I want to have A Moment Past Midnight ready for actual Hogmanay? (That would involve me closing a few plot holes, but nothing a couple of good brainstorming sessions wouldn’t handle. Takers, pop your contact info in comments, and I will return the favor. )

It’s not possible to plan for every aspect of the writing life, but, for me, a fresh start, clear expectations, and a calendar are big steps in the right direction. Not sure yet how I am going to track progress, but I’ll let you know when I figure it out.



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