Samantha Hunt on  notebooks

Recently, in Poets and Writers (May/June, 2022), writer Samantha Hunt dishes on how she writes first drafts longhand. That’s a lot of scribbling and deciphering for me, but she claims she, “needs the white space of a blank page to keep her initial thoughts lifting off into a place that feels airborne…or down to earth.” See? That’s what poetry does to ya. She likes both, she says, the airborne and the earth, and admits to being human, which I like, especially when she confesses that ‘85 percent of her work is revision.’ Reading the piece about her writing, I can’t help but think of Ruth Stone. Truth be told, though, I do a lot of thinking about Ruth Stone.

Better brain?

I’ve heard the stories for years, and have kind of believed them, that the act of physically writing, of taking pen or pencil in hand and scribbling out letters and words, activates a part of your brain not used when you type on your computer.

So, I keep trying to write in a notebook, and I’m rarely far from one. I use one for my daily prayer and reading time and to jot notes in throughout the day. I’ve experimented with keeping one for each thing – prayer, reading, to-do, study, journal – but gave up: I couldn’t tell which one was which and kept losing them anyway. It’s messy, but I combined everything into one, and get along much better with the system. I’ve done the same with my website.

Our kitchen separates my office from the living room and is next to the door to go outside. I keep a notebook there – and my calendar – on the counter as the easiest place in the house to get to paper quickly. If I leave, I take it with me. Who can say when a thought will pop from a synapse?

I also journal on the computer using Office 365, and I write for real with Scrivener. I love Scrivener for writing on the computer because I have so much in my head wanting to get out. I write so fast and sloppy that my handwriting would scare even the old rooster down the road. For me? It takes longer to decipher than it does to write. Autocorrect is my best friend.

What works for you? Do you have a hard and fast rule, or do you just grab whatever is near? The proverbial back of an envelope? I’ve done lots of work with that medium…

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If you are wondering and looking to settle on your own system, I’ve tried a lot of options, but use the Notebook No. 1 and have a drawerful of Pilot G-2s, 0.38mm. Blue and red ink seem to be the best for this tiny nib.

Please note that that I AM NOT an Amazon Affiliate member and if you venture to the Seattle Superstore to buy anything through my site, Jeff Bezos might toss me what’s left of an old cigarette. I only leave these links for you to see them. I buy my notebooks at Barnes and Noble and my pens at Target.