What to Use as a Writer's Notebook
So you don't keep a writer's notebook but would like to try it. What should you use? That's up to you. Go with something portable, but not one of those notepads you could fill in an hour. As an example, a local store here sells 7.75 inch X 5 inch notebooks I use because they are portable. If you're notebooks tend to get beat up, you may want to spend a few extra dollars on a small journal. Do you prefer certain colors? Are you more comfortable writing in notebooks without lines? Whatever makes the writing experience more pleasurable is best for you.
What to Put in Your Writer's Notebook
Asking what you shouldn't write in it may be better. You''ll want to date your entries the way you would a journal and start a new page for separate ideas, but other than that, it's entirely open. Here are some things I put in mine:
Article ideas and titles: Sometimes that clever title only pops into your head once, and you don't want to forget it.
Story idea synopses: This can be short, just enough to keep from forgetting it.
Character sketches and biographies: These are indispensable, whether you keep them in your writer's notebook or elsewhere.
Notes or outlines for an article or story: Once again, this is just a case of not trusting the human memory.
Poems: Do you write poetry? While I don't write a lot of it, it helps to have a notebook when I want to, so keep pen and paper handy.
Don't feel constrained by any suggestions here. These are just examples, what I have put in mine. But by all means fill it.
Review the Notes
This may seem obvious. But life has the habit of getting in the way, and notebooks, once filled, tend to get set aside and eventually forgotten. I have one that's been sitting on my desk for months, nestled between a binder and a few file folders. Unless your life becomes overwhelmingly hectic, try not to do the same thing (yes, do as I say, not as I do—on the bright side, I won't run out of writing ideas anytime soon). And don't throw them away once you have used the ideas that seemed good at the time. Others may seem unusable, but hold on to them anyway. The ones that initially appear useless can evolve later when you come back to review them.