I love my notebooks. I have a few different notebooks, some for work and my day to day writing, and some for my fiction writing,short stories, poems etc. I have a small notebook that I carry about in my handbag, along with numerous pens. Not that carrying a notebook around makes me a better writer. What it does is help me remember ideas that I might have while walking the dog or waiting for a bus, sitting it out in a waiting room or standing in the queue at the supermarket.
Ideas seem to strike me at the most awkward moment. I clearly remember driving my kids to school some years ago and seeing the daffodils poking their heads out from a crust of snow and suddenly a storyline arrived in my head. At that point in time the internal monologue was going something like this:
"Mirror, signal and move into the outside lane to turn right at the roundabout....a hand, fingers frozen in death, in among the daffodil stems...thump down on the hooter - bloody white van driver cut me up again...she pulls over and walks back along the verge - did she really see that?...why can't my daughter stop winding her brother up in the back seat?...it's freezing, early in the morning, fields swathed in freezing mist and she's not sure she ought to be doing this, she needs to get to work...another red traffic light, we're going to be late...then she sees the body and she knows who it is...must pick up some milk and drop it off to Mum on the way to the office..."
By the time I had parked up, the thrust of the idea had dwindles and even the kernel of it was largely forgotten and I've never bothered trying to pick it back up again. It might have been my breakthrough novel for all I know!
Still, not everyone would agree. And when the writer who doesn't agree is none other than Stephen King, you sit up and listen.
Stephen King on writing and notebooks
Powerful stuff. But the, Stephen King is a writing phenomenon all to himself and maybe his brain is not wired in the same way as your average writer's brain, and most of us are pretty well average. I, for one, need to rely on notebooks, or their electronic equivalent simply to trigger off the recollection of a detail. I jotted down a quick note when on the No.2 bus back from Europa Point on a journey home from work a couple of years ago, and a couple of months later, wrote it into a prize winning story. I've added it below - please read it and let me know what you think.
Meanwhile, with all due respect to one of the masters of storytelling, I love my notebooks, the blue one with beadwork on the front, my Star Trek one, my Flower Fairies one, my one that looks like a witch's grimoire, my grey one from Morrison - love them all!