“I’ll never forget this is the devil’s whisper. Catch everything that matters in your notebook.”
Best-selling author Richard Bach
Notebooks and pens are portable, don’t have to be turned off for airplane take-offs and landings, and can even be used unobtrusively during sermons, meetings, or while waiting on the bus.
If your handwriting is bad, no one can read it over your shoulder.
That said, use whatever method works for you. Or methods. Handwrite when you need time to think. Switch to a keyboard if thoughts are coming quickly, already well-formed and ready to transcribe.
Choose your tools
Tools in any creative endeavor are important.
Good tools show respect for the process and for your ideas, but don’t get tools that are so dear you are afraid to use them.
Think about a couple of options: Blank pages (for some sketching?) or lined? What size pages do you want? Too small may feel too cramped; too large and it can’t be carried easily or surreptitiously pulled out in a meeting.
Be picky about your pens or pencils, too.
The most important test for your tools is whether you enjoy using them.
What’s in a notebook?
Talk to yourself about what you are learning, what’s happening in the news, what you’d like to see happen in your life or career, what you’ve learned about yourself or by watching others, what connections you can make between what you’re reading—fiction or nonfiction—and your work or life. Again, it helps to seewhat you are thinking.
Capture quotations or anecdotes. These may inspire a presentation or simply offer reassurance when you thumb back through them later.
Ask yourself questions and answer them. What results do I want from this report? What opening would grab attention? Where do I want to be in five years? Why does X keep popping into my head? What project do I tackle next? What are some wacky ways to attract more customers or readers?
Questions will jump-start your writing—and your thinking.