Honoring the Writer’s Notebook

When Was the Last Time You Took Stock of Yours?

Judith Lagana
Feb 21 · 4 min read
Photo by Susan Holt Simpson on Unsplash

“To honor the place where you gather your creative ideas is another step in the process of reaffirming that yes, your writing is important, has value, and deserves ongoing special attention and encouragement”


We already know that the writer’s notebook is key to any writer’s toolbox. Whether your writer’s notebook is a version of the old-school lined and bound, sewn, glued, or spiraled variety or, is a collection of digital files, what matters most is that it works for you and is working for you.

When was the last time you took a moment to honor its significance?

Your entries most likely include random observations, lists, passages, sketches, and lines from conversations heard in passing. There are no hard and fast rules about what goes into this creative gathering place. All you can hope for is that your notebook or file system supports you as you generate new and ongoing work. I encourage you to take a moment to view your version of a notebook anew. To view it as what it is, a sacred place.

I use the word sacred intentionally since what we choose as the tool to collect our thoughts is not only a foundation of our writing life but is also a gathering place worthy of special status.

By holding such a place of honor, a writer’s notebook is sacred. Of course, your version of this gathering place as the go-to spot to collect any passing impressions, ideas, or observations, whether purely imagined or realistically perceived, is as unique as you and your writing practice.

Consider how we are reflected in our choices when we personalize our writing notebooks and digital files. We have most likely experimented with various ways to organize and keep track of our writing progress ranging from an early inspired line to the finalized product.

Seemingly simple decisions impact our willingness and ability to get any writing done and are worthy of note. There are choices to be made. Do we use hard copy, digital formats, or both? Are we drawn towards colorful notebook covers or those which are more subdued? Will heavy or lightweight paper do the trick? Will it matter if we write on smooth or rough textures? Will the style and effect of one font be more creatively enticing than that of another?

All of these personal decisions contribute to increasing the efficiency, comfort, and enjoyment of your writing experience. Most writers, including myself, have worked through various note-taking forms and formats before settling on a preferred method that ensures that as long as we show up to write, we will get the job done. That is a lot of responsibility, yet our writer’s notebooks bear this and we are better for it.

“Appreciate where and how you gather your words.”

For example, after years of using larger hardbound notebooks, I’ve settled on using thin softbound and colorful, (hot pink and turquoise covers, please) seemingly weightless notebooks that can easily be tossed into a tote bag when I’m on the go. I use my iPhone for a quick note or to text myself an inspired line or idea. I use even smaller hardbound notebooks, (with red and black covers), to throw in a pocket if I’m traveling locally sans bag. My digital system includes writing on numerous scrolling pages, using all lower case headings (for dates, titles, and topics) and maintaining folders that separate working drafts from rough first drafts and completed projects.

All of these systems contribute to making my writing process enjoyable and efficient. I trust you have your own modus operandi.

Now, think about the collective creative energy stored in any and each of your notebook and file locations. It is as if each writer’s collection of notes holds a rich creative life within it.

This creative gathering place allows aspects of your imagination, perception, and memory to rest a moment before either being deemed unworthy of becoming anything more or being nudged forward for further development into a larger something. That is powerful.

Over time, a writer who sticks with their practice learns which note-taking format and platform best supports their writing practice. This is something that is as special and as magical as the creativity and perspective surrounding the act of putting words down on paper or up on the screen.

If you have been taking your writer’s notebooks and files for granted, it is time to stop, take a moment, and honor them. It takes only a moment. One single moment to recognize that out of all of the objects and things you own, these particular tools are among the most special and significant.

Take the moment.

Honor your version of a writer’s notebook. Appreciate where and how you gather your words.

Honor the place and places where you allow your creative energies to gather. This is another step in the process of reaffirming that yes, your writing is important, has value, and deserves ongoing special attention and encouragement.

Judith Lagana

Written by

I like to write and like to encourage others with their writing. Founder and co-editor of River Heron Review. www.riverheronreview.com *** www.jlagana.com

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