Precious Words

I do most of my writing on the computer — most, but not all. This enables me to get the ideas down quickly, to delete, cut & paste, check references and move from one thought to the next. It’s fast. It’s easy. It gets the job done.

But I still like to have an old fashioned notebook in my bag so I can scribble a stray idea or jot down something to look up later. Sitting with a yellow pad when I’m drinking my coffee helps me organize my thoughts. Often these initial notes get transformed into stories, blog posts, or text for my freelance assignments. They are preliminary, unfinished ideas on their way to something real.

That’s why I had a hard time buying a new notebook for my trip. I was in a Barnes & Nobles (more filled with stuff than books at this point) to buy a new street map of Berlin, so I meandered through racks of journals in search of a relatively small and light notebook. There were all sorts and sizes — leather covers, fabric covers, hard covers & soft covers, fancy closures, impressive titles and not one suited my needs because they all made the contents of the notebook seem entirely too precious.

My words are not precious. The first drafts are very far from precious and I don’t aim for precious at the end, either. I need a notebook where a shopping list, phone number, friend’s hand drawn map or name of a cool new app, it at home with the startling new idea for the conclusion of a short story or snippet of dialog that transforms a character in a novel. The notebooks for sale made everything inside the covers seem too important, too careful, too precious…. I found something more to my liking in a stationery store.

I remember when I first started writing — back when I was really, really young. I thought all my words were precious. A few years back I found some of my adolescent poetry, old short stories, the screenplay attempt from college and a couple of early, and dreadful, novels. My words felt precious then. And they were just the start of my learning curve. Now, my words feel freer and expendable, more at home in the plain, little notebook in my bag.


  1. Much of the time, I feel the same way about a notebook. Granted in the past I have searched for just the right one (spiral bound multi subject). But over the past couple years I have found that I get by much better with a good note app for the tablet.

    I now use Onenote for pretty much anything I need to take notes on as well as my daily writing that is meant for me alone. I actually have a number of different sections devoted to different things so I can maintain a bit of organization (I can be neurotic about stuff like this, just ask my family what happens when they use paper from the small note book I keep passwords and such in. and yes that one is still a paper wire bound notebook).

    The nice thing I find with my electronic notebook is I can move the notes around fairly easy and I don’t have reams of paper littering the area around my desk.

    • Candy Korman

      The tablet note taking app sounds very cool!
      Of course, right now I’m in-between access and non-access to the internet (traveling) and have found that a notebook & pen is a MUST under these circumstances. Do you think better with a pen in your hand? I do. I started to sketch out a blog post about that. And, of course, I was sketching it out on notebook paper with a pen. LOL…

      • It used to be the only way I could do it. But I have found for me, that I am able to get out of the way better when I type than I ever could when I used a pen and paper. The slow method has always gotten in the way of the speed of my thoughts apparently.

  2. I’m a recent OneNote convert as well. I’ve never liked to write by hand. I could always type much faster, plus being left-handed means I’m the proud owner of an illegible scrawl nor do I like getting lead or ink all on the side of my left hand as it drags across the paper… OneNote is amazing though 🙂 My husband and I share a notebook on it too so each of us can add travel plans from whatever location we’re in.

    • Candy Korman

      Nothing beats the speed of working on a computer, but I guess there’s a part of my brain that still a luddite and enjoys the pen. it just helps me THINK!

      I like the idea of sharing the notebook for travel stories!