Learn to Write by Never Leaving Your Notebook

Pic by Dvortygirl

One thing I learn from being a journalist is what I believe every writer and blogger should also learn: Keeping a notebook. At. All. Times.

Keep a notebook. Take it everywhere you go. Trust me, it will be your savior.

Pic taken from movies-wallpapers.net

No, not this Notebook. Though, I would not mind if I could take him everywhere I go. ^.^

Why Every Writer/Blogger Needs a Notebook

To Improve Focus

For people easily distracted as I am, writing down everything improves focus.

To Capture Ideas

As I previously wrote, ideas are abundant. Just like Pokémons, you need to find them, catch them, and then keep them in your Poké balls notebook.

To Reach Amazing Dreams

Believe it or not, writing is praying. Write down your wishes, dreams, hopes, and you will most likely achieve them in the future. It works!

I started to work as a journalist when I was 18 years old. I wrote, “I want to be a journalist,” on a piece of homework paper during third grade.

I decided to move to Bandung due to some life’s adversities (mom died, dad died, etc.) in 2010. I wrote, “I would like to live in Bandung,” on a piece of paper dated back to 2005.

To Outline Scattered Thoughts

Writing helps me to organize my messy brain. It is kind of a mental mind mapping.

Inside a Notebook

Every writer has their own way and purpose in using a notebook. Mine contains:

  • Thoughts on stuff I see or hear
  • New topics to write on this blog
  • Mind maps for new strategy plans
  • Minutes of Meeting (MoM)
  • New contact profiles (when I attend a community gathering and meet new people)
  • To-do lists

Forms of Notebook

Notebook comes in various forms. You can keep:

A Pocket Notebook

Moleskine is too expensive, so I have a cheaper version of it. It is Front, sold at IDR 20,000 (around $2.00) in Indonesia’s biggest book store Gramedia.

A Digital Notebook: Evernote

I prefer Evernote over any other notebook application because it is available for various platforms: desktop (Windows, Mac), iOS (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad), Android, and–if I recall correctly–Maemo, Symbian and Blackberry (including Playbook).

Evernote is a freemium app, meaning you get more features by paying for its service. I have been using it for 2 years, and I never need to go beyond free features. Free stuff FTW! ^.^

My Notebook System

I use 2 kinds of notebook:

  1. Temporary record: Pocket notebook
  2. Permanent, organized repository: Evernote

I jot down everything on a pocket notebook. I can do it practically everywhere, including on a date.

Size matters. The notebook has to be big enough so I can draw mind maps. It has to be small enough so I can keep it in my jacket’s pocket.

I write my name and contact details on its first page, so when it gets lost, whoever finds it can return it.

No complex system required here as I do not keep the notebook forever.

By the end of every day, I spare 30 minutes to rewrite the notes on Evernote. They are written in more structured sentences and organized in folders. I have on my Evernote such folders as:

  • Blog stuff
  • Work stuff
  • Reading logs
  • Etc.

Work around your notebooks so they serve your needs. Even if you use different applications for keeping journals, memories, etc., you need one place to keep them all. Seriously. ^.^

One More Thing…

It is dumb to have a notebook without a pen. -.-

I have in different pockets inside my backpack some pens, just in case.

Disclaimer: This post is written for my best friend who personally asked me to teach her about writing. I am not a professional writing coach, never got myself into a formal writing class, and never intend to magically turn you into the next J.K. Rowling.

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