The magic of the writer’s notepad

There is one tip any writer should follow. Have a notebook/note pad with you at all times. You never know when inspiration will hit. Have something that you can write your thoughts down as they happen – this can even be on your smart phone.


1. Inspiration

You really never know when inspiration may hit. It may be an interesting character, a story from a magazine or newspaper, part of an overheard conversation. All and any of these, plus countless more examples, can contribute to an idea. Write it down. That idea may be in your head one second and gone the next. It may consist of a single word or a near-complete story line or built up character.

     2. Organisation

Some writer’s don’t need to organise their thoughts on paper in a list of what they have to do today, or what they want to accomplish. It may be seen by some as procrastinating. Perhaps it is. But if I don’t write a list it’s as if my thoughts can’t settle and my mind is rushing through the task that I started, to work out what I’m going to do next. Like saying your thoughts and ideas out loud it helps to organise them and understand them fully in your mind and this is the same for me when writing them down.

     3. A spare five minutes

Have you ever considered how much time you waste on a daily or weekly basis? Waiting for trains and buses? Waiting for tea to cook? Even waiting for the bath to run? All these minutes can soon add up. In times like these it may be a good idea to get your notepad out and start brain-storming some ideas. Whether new and fresh ideas for future stories or characters, or ideas on what to blog next, or whether thinking through a detail from the current project you’re working on.

     4. Overheard conversation

People going about their everyday business provide me with an endless amount of fascination. Haven’t you ever walked passed someone and overheard a snippet of conversation and wondered what on earth they may be talking about? These snippets of conversation may not be particularly enlightening but it can lead you to create a new fictional situation your characters can be part of. Or it can provide you with an excellent way to describe something or an excellent turn-of-phrase that you’ve never heard before. Write it down.

     5. A book list

If you’re a writer, then firstly you’ll be a reader. Book recommendations from friends or family, from a review in magazines/newspapers, in a shop window, another book by the author you’re currently reading. Write them down before you forget. And it’s not just helpful for pleasure reading, it’s equally vital for research purposes. Bibliographies in the backs of books can provide you with a clue as to what to read next to complete your research. Look it up, and write it down.

Once penned down, you don’t need to rely on your memory to remember your potentially brilliant idea. You can then copy your notes up, if you so desire, onto your computer or into another notepad which you keep safely at home.

2 comments on “The magic of the writer’s notepad

  1. I’ve been thinking about procuring one of these, and I think you’ve finally pushed me over the edge. I’m going on vacation soon, and while I don’t plan on doing much heavy writing, I’m sure I will see plenty of interesting and inspiring things, so I’ll have to make sure to have my notebook on hand.

  2. I nodded “yes” to every one of these points. How many great ideas have been lost because they were scribbled on the back of a receipt that was thrown away accidentally? We might even find extra writing time because of the time saved NOT searching for that stray scrap of paper.

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