I was reading another chapter of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and she mentioned index cards and having one always on hand with her. I still think this is crazy, but I look at when this book was published and it all makes sense. Hitting 2014 everyone knows that technology is moving forward. It’s moving faster than we can comprehend but I still have a notebook with me. And a full paper diary.
I plan never to change. Well hopefully.
Everyone is out celebrating Valentine’s Day and buying flowers for their loved ones (or one of my high school buddies is trying to get a lemon out of her fiancé, I totally LOVE her thinking, good on you Myri!) What I’m going to do? I’m going out to buy myself another notebook. This time I’m going to make it a gratitude notebook, but this is getting off topic again (I’m so bad at this!)
Back to Lamott.
She has index cards everywhere, they live in her back pocket when she takes her dog for a walk; in her purse, in her wallet, hell even in her bra, I’m sure of it. That got me thinking. One of the most valuable pieces of advice I was given was from one of my uni lecturers was that if you wanted to be a serious writer you’ll carry a notebook with you at all times. A couple of days I went out to buy one and purple pens became my staple (I LOVE coloured pens!) That notion still stays with me, even when I went out to clubs, I managed to find a small notebooks that filled my clutches. I still have them, but I’ve also found delight in tablets and having an iPhone. It goes with me always and I love having evernote around so I can write up my notes and grab them off my laptop later when I get home. I have written at weddings (my mother will attest to this, she even had the audacity to call me rude! haha), funerals, church services, wedding services, between shifts, on the bus, even in the women’s room (it was much quieter okay!) I have done it all. I love being able to do this.
A lot of people don’t understand why you need one, but it’s common sense really.
If you want to be a writer you want to observe everything that is going around you. Be a watcher. Make up stories about random strangers and make them fit on paper in a way that is unique. Take down snippets of conversations that are relevant (these include weird as conversations, I should have taken down the very teenage like conversation I overheard in Bendigo with my friends. The people the words belonged to weren’t even teenagers!) Explore these. You may use them, you may not, but just imagine if you didn’t listen: how would you have gotten that piece of dialogue just right?
Think about that.
So this is my challenge to you. Take a notebook with you today, sit in a busy cafe, take out those ear buds and stop listening to the music. Order a coffee and write. Write about the scents, the smells, the conversations. Check back and leave me a comment with a snippet of what you wrote. I’ll update later and do the same on the bus. You need these things your life. It’s great practice. Use it.