I stopped using a notebook for several years and only recently picked the habit back up last September, but it's already proved to be invaluable. This cute little thing? Yeah, that's mine.
- Angry, emotional-fueled rants
- Lists of cool jobs for characters
- Lists of possible titles
- Writing exercises and prompts
- Dream analyses (Come on, someone getting shot in Kroger parking lot is a crazy recurring theme)
- Interesting moments in my day
- Short story ideas
My daily journaling isn't necessarily a play-by-play of that day or even recent events. Sometimes it's fiction, sometimes a list, sometimes it's only 2 sentences, like when I wrote:
Nicholas leaves on October 14.
Nicholas is leaving and I can't breathe.
For the record, I did start breathing again. No worries, my lungs going strong.
But other than staying in the habit of daily writing, there is an enormous benefit to keeping a writer's journal. One, your husband might buy you brand new journals for Christmas that you are dying to start using (The Doctor throwing the TARDIS at a dalek? YES PLEASE.), and two, they are literally a little black book of ideas.
I have a short story due in my workshop in a couple weeks that I've been struggling with. On more than one occasion, I sat down at the computer and typed and erased a dozen first lines before giving up.
Later, while flipping through my notebook, I spotted one of the titles I'd jotted down for future use. And jesus fucking christ, BAM, there it was. The idea. The story. The plot. Even the characters!
So hey, if you haven't used it in a while, pull out your notebook and put it to good use. And if you can, put a picture of your notebook in the comments, I want to see yours!