Answering Questions about My Notebooks and My Writing Process

In my post, 5 Idle Time BustersI mentioned my idea notebooks when I talked about writing as a way to deal with idle time. Someone left a comment on that post asking lots of questions about my notebooks and about my writing process. Instead of just replying, I decided to write a post about it.

1. How many notebooks do you have? What do you put in your notebooks?

For the writing topics for this blog, I have three. If I’m on the bus, and suddenly I thought, “Hmm…writing about my notebooks would be an interesting topic”, then I scribble that in. For notes on writing, I have six. Whenever I read writing books, I take down notes. I have one notebook for finance, feminism, description, random notes, goals, and reflection. When I read books, articles, or have my own ideas on these topics, I write them there. I also have two notebooks for my life plans.

2. How do you organize your notebooks?

Designating certain notebooks for certain topics is one way. The assigned topic is written on the spine of the notebook so I can easily know their contents. For my life plans notebook, I make lists. Each list starts on a new page and has a title on top. The title is written in pink pentel pen so that I can see it quickly.

For one of my idea notebooks for writing, every time I write a new entry, I identify if it’s a quote, writing exercise, etc. I write the words “QUOTE” using capitalized letters on the left side of the page before I write down the quote.

I am also trying out index cards.

3. What kind of notebook do you use?

I’m not too picky with notebooks. My blog topics notebooks are often small because I take them wherever I go.

4. When do you decide if your ideas are worthy to post on your blog?

I never think about this. Every idea that comes into my head, I plan to someday write in my blog. Everything that I’m interested in is legit. I think this is a more healthy mindset than judging if your interests are “worthy or not”.

When I am about to blog, I open one of my notebooks, and I think, what topic do I feel like writing about? So it really depends on my mood. Sometimes I look for other prompts to help me write, like a comment from one of my readers.

5. What do you think about editing?

My favorite writer Jessica Zafra once told me that, “I think a lot of people have never published because they keep rewriting.” Editing is important, but you have to know when to stop. You have to set your own standards. You have to know when to be content and when to let go.

6. How do you become a better writer? If you say, just keep writing, then how do you know if you’ve improved at all? 

Don’t worry about improving, it will be inevitable if you just follow your passion. My passion for writing makes me want to read a lot of books, especially writing books, and write a lot. You can check out Writing Exercises and Adventures for more tips.

If you do all those things, you’ll improve. But you also have to work on how you see yourself. If you’re always dissatisfied with your writing, and you’re convinced that you’re a shitty writer, no matter how good you are and how many people praise you, you will always feel like a shitty writer, and you will live and be exactly as you see you are.

I focus on producing work, instead of worrying about if I’m good enough or not. I learned this from Julia Cameron.

7.  How do you know if your writing makes sense and is organized?

You also have to realize that the reader is a stranger, so be sure to explain things step by step and discuss the context of the situation.

In terms of organizing ideas within a piece, I’m not sure how I do it. Other people use outlines, but I don’t. I feel stifled, so I just read it again and again, and if it’s ok already, then I publish it. You have to learn how to trust yourself. You have to realize that you will know if it makes sense, you will know if it is organized, you will know if it is time to release it into the world.

More Writing Exercises and Adventures:

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All the opinions expressed in this page and in this blog are my own and do not represent the official stances of the companies, institutions, and organizations that I am affiliated with. I am a person. I’m not just a manifestation of corporate interests. I have an identity that is separate from my company because even if human beings are paid for a service by corporations, human beings are not owned by corporations.

2 thoughts on “Answering Questions about My Notebooks and My Writing Process

  1. Thank you for the insight into your personal writing process. This was a refreshing read since I am still working to define my process.


    1. Hello Chaoscream! I just saw your comment and it seems like I haven’t replied. So sorry about that. Anyway, thank you so much for reading my blog and expressing your appreciation. I’m glad you liked the post! If you have any questions related to writing, please feel free to comment.

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