Well, it’s August 1st – happy birthday if it’s your birthday! Today, I’m retiring another notebook, which is both sad and exciting. Mostly exciting, though, as it means I get to crack open a brand new notebook and start fresh. Yippee!
But first, we must say adios to my very first logbook. The project had its ups and downs, but as far as diaries go, it was relatively successful. I abandoned it for a year (2012), but came back to it a few months ago and managed – more or less – to keep daily track of my adventures.
1. (first from the top) I have no idea what to call this notebook, so on the inside I wrote, “This notebook is a lot of things and does not wish to be labeled.” I use this notebook as a kind of sketchbook, but it’s also where I write down my favorite quotes. Or write out random thoughts that don’t really fit anywhere else. It’s also where I stick all of those post-its that I write random things on.
2. I wrote about logbooks before. I got the idea from Austin Kleon, whose post on the subject is a lot more interesting than mine. It’s essentially a daily list of things about that day. I am terrible at keeping journals, but I’ve been fairly successful at keeping logbooks. You’ll notice that this one says “2011/2013” and that’s because I stopped writing in it at some point in 2011, and in 2012, I got one of those Moleskine daily planners and used that one as a logbook (though I utterly failed at maintaining it for very long that year). And then I picked this one back up back in February, and have been more or less consistent with it.
3. This TBSOL notebook is actually the second TBSOL notebook I have because I filled the last one up. There are four tabs to this notebook: outlines & notes, possibly include, future scenes (outlined), and to type up. Outlines & notes is essentially just that. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’m awful at outlines, and have to force myself to do them (because they really do help). In ‘possibly include’ I have a lot of random scenes or conversations that came to me at some point or another but that I’m not certain will make it into the book. In “future scenes (outlined)” I have scenes that I came to me, and I know will make it into the book, but won’t happen until much later. And in “to type up” I have the current scenes/chapters that I’m in the process of writing. I find it easier sometimes to write things out first, especially with scenes that are giving me trouble.
4. The YA Project notebook is in its infancy, but here is where I’m putting together all the building blocks of the YA series I’ll be writing after TBSOL. The other day, for example, I started working on a secret code the girls will use to communicate with – which was a lot of fun. See if you can decipher this message: 9QN01YQ // V1 // VJQ // DQVM // VQMY.
Q. U seem to have a lot of notebooks. What kinda stuff do u write in them? Can we see?
A. MY DEEP DARK SECRETS. Err. I’ve gone through this, haven’t I? Randomly? I feel like I have. Well, that’s okay. My notebooks are filled with wondrous things. Mostly Rayne/TBSOL/YA novel-related. And sometimes I just scribble really random things that I later look at and go “Whut?” And sometimes my random scribbles turn into blog posts. But sure, I’ll take some pictures for you, nosy person. I mean…curious and loyal reader.
Whenever they came across a pithy passage, they copied it into a notebook under an appropriate heading, adding observations made in the course of daily life. Reading and writing were therefore inseparable activities. They belonged to a continuous effort to make sense of things, for the world was full of signs: you could read your way through it; and by keeping an account of your readings you made a book of your own, one stamped with your personality.
I came across that article last year when I was stumbling around, searching for purpose and it seemed to me like a great and wonderful idea. I grabbed one of my new Moleskines and set out to write things down.
A year later, this notebook has become one of my prized possessions. I take it everywhere with me. In it there are quotes, thoughts, observations and snippets of life; like a scrapbook of words. Whenever I’m feeling down, or low on motivation, I pick it up and start flipping through it. It never fails to lift me up and inspire me.
….I may have too many notebooks. It started out with just the one and it was all fun and innocent at first. But then I kept buying more and more notebooks and I gave each one of them a purpose and before I knew it I had too many a lot.
Pictured above you’ll find the pile of notebooks on my desk at the moment. Plus the Kindle. Let me introduce you!
This morning, as I was cleaning the kitchen and preparing to make the day’s first fabulous cup of coffee, I accidentally sliced my finger open on a sharp corner. It didn’t really hurt that much. It just bled and bled and bled and K and I spent half an hour searching for band-aids and found none. So I wrapped my finger in a paper towel and went back to making coffee. I’m butch like that.
The annoying part of the finger-cutting incident is that it makes it painful to type. I’m gonna power through, though, because I’m hardcore.
Tomorrow is another Prefecture Day. One of the few days of the year when K and I drag ourselves over to the Prefecture to check on the status of my French stay permit. With luck, the card will be ready and I can take it home, and I don’t have to be back until February 2012. More likely, though, it will not be ready, and we’ll have to go back in three months.
Yesterday I started a “logbook” which is really more of a “listbook,” which is really just a diary for lazy people. I’ve tried to keep diaries over the years—I’d fill them with the usual: “Dear Diary, my feelings are so vast and pure and true and complicated and layered…I just don’t know what to do with them besides look at pretty Brittana pictures on Tumblr all day.”
It’d all go well for a week, sometimes two, sometimes even a month, and then I’d forget all about it. Then the guilt-feelings would set in. I’d look at the diary, knowing full well it had been months (years?) since I’d written anything down and think, “Well, maybe I’ll write something down today… just to check-in … just so it doesn’t feel abandoned.”
I’d scribble something apologetic like, “Sorry it’s been so long…” as if the diary has feelings. Like it’s been sitting there the whole time saying to itself, “Why does Ingrid hate me? What did I do? Why do the other notebooks get all the attention? I wish she’d at least apologize. It’s not like I don’t see her sitting there, looking at Tumblr for hours. What a thoughtless b*tch.”
So even though it’s irrational, there they are, these, “Sorry it’s been so long…” entries that are usually really awkward and stilted like I’ve just ran into an old acquaintance and we’re trying to make small-talk, but really have nothing to say to one another.
First, I must say that I am not, by nature, an organized person. In the past, I’ve tried a lot of different approaches to getting organized and failed at them all. During my frequent “must become organized” phases, I’d download countless iPhone and desktop productivity apps and I’d use them once or twice before ultimately forgetting all about them.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve realized that getting some stuff organized wasn’t ever going to work for me. It wasn’t enough to put “write 1000 words of TBSOL today” on my to do list, because there were too many other factors contributing to my lack of productivity. I talked a bit about this in my Searching for Purpose and Something Happens Here posts, but this post isn’t really meant to be about my life’s philosophy. It’s also not a post about productivity (because I’m still not where I want to be with that).
Instead, I want to talk about how I go about organizing my thoughts/ideas/etc.
Until recently, I didn’t take the time to write important things down. I have always kept a notebook in front of me and with me, but other than jotting miscellaneous info, I’ve never been consistent at getting things out of my head and onto paper. The problem with being inconsistent is that I’d have one notebook in which I’d write down everything and then I’d forget that I wrote anything down and it would be lost amidst a lot of unimportant information.