Monday, July 27, 2009

Fill a Notebook in a Day

Get a one-subject notebook. Clear a day so it’s nice and quiet. Then write in the notebook all day. Draft like crazy. Try to fill the notebook in just one day. Write what you want without censoring. This ain’t for publication. See what you come up with.

I finally got around to doing this favorite exercise (in a Hello Kitty notebook). It always unearths what I’m really interested in writing about, which gets buried under “should” and “ought to,” red herrings, and imagined obligations. A friend says: “You have the problems that you want to have.” When I think of writing as a problem, I have made my own problem, haven’t I?

I invented this exercise in creative profligacy when I was 12 and a notebook cost me most of a week’s allowance. I imagined growing up and the joy of being able to buy and fill all the notebooks I wanted.


  1. This is wonderful. Both the idea, and the story of how it came about. I'm going to do it.

  2. Wow, I LOVE this idea. I think I'll stop by the dollar store today... I've been trying to think of ways to take more risks with my writing, and this sounds like the perfect exercise to really dredge up what it is my inner self wants to say. Thanks for sharing. :)

  3. OK! I'm doing it! I'll take my gaudy flower/power notebook with me as I spend 10 days on a secluded island near Charleston SC. I am doing it now! I couldn't wait--the first page is titled "Anticipation". I expect the pages will be sea-spotted, sunscreen smeared, and textured with sand by the time I come home. Whoo hoo.

  4. i've filled four notebooks with:
    - and a scrapbook
    now i know what to use my fifth one for!