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[part 5b of Cori’s Planner Pieces series]

In my last piece, I mentioned that I use a similar concept to Bullet Journaling to organize my writing notebook.

Writing Notebook (1)I use a Mead Flex Binder for my Writing notebook. I love these binders and will show how they help keep me organized in another post.

When you open my Writing Notebook, the first thing you see if a page I tore out of a magazine. It’s a woman running along a street, and the fall leaves are all around here. I love autumn and I thought this picture was lovely. Then I read the little box and knew I had to acquire this page. Writing Notebook (2)

The box says: MAKE YOUR ESCAPE. You are not your to-do list. You are not your have-tos or must-dos. You are not your job. Although your first waking thoughts likely focus on the needs of others and all the things you want to accomplish, you are, most important, yourself. Take time every day to remember than—even if it means running away from everyone and everything you love so you come back refreshed and recharged. The world can wait. You shouldn’t have to.

That message resonated with me, and a read it every time I open my notebook to write in. I encourage everyone to find a message that speaks to you and keep it close by for when you need it most.

After the message, I have a Topic Page at the beginning, where I list out the blog piece I plan on writing in the future. In the left hand margin, I list the color of the Post It flag I’ve assigned to it. Once the flag color has been assigned, I add the blog piece title to a blank page, any quick notes for the piece, and add the flag on the next line down to create a divider.

Writing Notebook (3)

Writing Notebook (4) Writing Notebook (5)

Writing Notebook (6) Writing Notebook (7)

I’ve been rolling this organizational system around in my head for a while now. I used to write all fiction and nonfiction pieces in bound journals. Learning about the Bullet Journaling system pushed me to go ahead and set up this binder. I’m soooo happy I did it. One of the main reasons I like this setup so much is that I can add more paper to each piece if I need it. Also, the bound journals were becoming expensive.

I’ve gotten more written in the last 2-3 weeks since I’ve started this binder than I have in the past six months.

I’ll be starting another binder to keep the completed and typed pieces in. They’ll be organized in a similar fashion: Table of Contents and pieces filed in the order in which they were completed.

© Cori Large December 23, 2014

 

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Writer Robert Benson says it beautifully, “But listening to someone else describe the tricks she uses to keep herself digging every day reminds us of what works for us, and what does not, and helps us remember to be attentive to the things we already know to do” (pg. 9). And he is so right. I love reading books by writers about how they write, and this book, Dancing on the Head of a Pen, is one of those books.

Benson takes you through his process, never shying away from the negatives, and is completely honest about it all. I’ve bookmarked a lot of good quotes to use. This book will definitely be one of my books in my office that I turn to when I’m stuck.

If you like reading about how writers write, I recommend this book!

© Cori Large 10/30/2014

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[AN: All notes are taken verbatim from the book. I claim no rights to them.]

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

1. It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around. (101)

2. Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often bad books have more to teach than the good. (145)

3. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. (147)

4. “The book is the boss,” Alfred Bester. (159)

5. Story is honorable and trustworthy; plot is shifty and best kept under house arrest. (170)

6. It’s about the osprey, and it’s always about the story (176)

7. If a writer knows what he or she is doing, I’ll go along for the ride. If he or she doesn’t…well, I’m in my fifties now, and there are a lot of books out there. I don’t have time to waste with poorly written ones. (179)

8. When you write a book, your spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest. (201)

9. 2nd draft = 1st draft – 10%. (222)

10. You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons are all the ones you teach yourself. (236)

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Summary:

The master of horror pens a book on his craft, split into sections-life influences, toolbox building, the writing itself, and a life-changing-nearly-life-ending circumstance.

Opinion:

I’ve read a lot of books on writing, and I really enjoyed how Mr. King approaches life and writing. He doesn’t sugar-coat the writing life. He’s real about it. I even found some pearls of wisdom to post later.

© Cori Endicott Dec 2011

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