Scribbles Blog Hop, my writing notebooks.

Today a bunch of my writing friends and I are talking about our writing processes and sharing pictures of our notebooks on our various blogs. You’ll find links at the end of my post.

My writing process has varied a little with every book I’ve written, though I do have some general standards. I start with an idea, a world or a character, or a combination of those and start brainstorming. If I get enough ideas to carry me through a story I’ll start writing them down, pretty haphazardly at first. By the time I’m ready to get started I often (except those times I just jumped in and did this all after I had the first five chapters written) will write down everything I “know” about the world. Then I organize it a little (sometimes a lot as with the latest project) and then make a general summary that serves as my “outline.” I build characters, and create worlds and… oh wait… you know what? Yeah… The only time I’ve ever done so much preparation was in the novel I’m writing now. LOL. It has paid off so far and I’m super glad I did all the world building/character naming/etc and I’d do it again in the future. Especially for a project of this scope. You can apply all I said above to my latest project then. For almost every other project I’ve had a general idea of where I was going, then I dove in and make all the notes as I went. Except those times when I just started writing.

My writing process has evolved quite a bit over the last few years. I imagine I’ll continue to change it to suite different projects. Through all my changes though, a few things have remained constant… I love college ruled comp books, and I love my Moleskine and my purple and black pens. My handwriting… not so much, as you’ll see. Honest, it used to be a lot better. I had a wrist injury several years ago that essentially destroyed my handwriting. It has recovered a little, but I can go back through my college notes and see exactly where I hurt myself.

I also used to write everything by hand in a comp book, then type it up. This was nice as, at the time, I didn’t have a laptop or a messed up wrist (yes, I did teach myself to write left handed) and I wasn’t writing nearly as fast as I do now. These days it would be very inefficient, and painful, to write an entire novel by hand. I still use my notebooks though. It’s rare that I don’t have some sort of access to note taking devices and I carry my comp book to work with me, and I use it whenever I get an idea I need to jot down. Now for the fun part: pictures πŸ™‚

The comp book came first. I have quite a few of them. Some full, some not. It’s a great tool for a writer who doesn’t have their laptop handy.

Ahh, the purple ink… though it doesn’t come across real well in the scanned image (I didn’t photoshop any of these to clean them up). I actually can’t remember what this project was… It’s old, and my handwriting has recovered somewhat since I jotted this scribble down.

And these are notes from a Sci Fi world I was building.

The Moleskine came in 2005 and I’ve gone so far as to carry, and use it, on trail rides… yes, some of my notes have been taken from the back of my horse πŸ™‚

My notebooks are mostly used for brainstorming and jotting down scenes when I’m away from my computer. I have written full stories in them in the past as well.

You’ll want to check out everyone else on this great blog hop. Here are the links.

Victoria D Griesdoorn:
Natalie Westgate:




About Julie:
Julie writes fantasy novels. When she’s not out riding her horse, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer with a cat on her lap and her dog at her side.
Check out her latest novel, Senior Year Bites

Senior year is supposed to be fun: boys, dances and graduation. It’s significantly harder to enjoy it when you’re dead.


This entry was posted in Blog Entry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Scribbles Blog Hop, my writing notebooks.

  1. Marianne Su says:

    Thanks for sharing your journals and insight into your writing process, Julie. Based on your hand writing, I would guess you write a lot from the back of your horse πŸ™‚

  2. CDNWMN says:

    Love the ‘notes from the back of a horse’, alot of the my song ideas came when I was out on a long trail ride. Something about a furry friend and quiet woods, it’s always inspiring. πŸ™‚

  3. Tony Noland says:

    I filled up lots of the Mead composition books, but I was never thrilled with them. The sewn binding was sturdy enough, but they wouldn’t lie flat. Took me a while to find a good replacement. I’ve got a couple of Moleskines, too – love the rich feel of the paper.

  4. Maria Kelly says:

    I used to use the old comp books quite a bit, but like Tony, I like a notebook that will lay flat. That’s how I got into the habit of using Mead wirebound notebooks. I do like the Mead paper. When I discovered Moleskines, it was heaven. Love the texture of the softbound ones and the paper is a joy to write on.

    I see a lot of us hate our own handwriting. Yours is pretty good compared to mine.

    I keep trying to picture you writing while riding a horse. I’m not sure I could do that. I’m not sure I could ride a horse! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your journals and writing process! πŸ˜€

    • My horse is usually pretty patient with me. Well… okay, as long as we’ve had a really good trot first she’s patient with me. I’ve never had a problem with the mead books lying flat, but I tend to bend them over, so the *shudders* spines break a little. (I don’t do that with books) They get well worn by the time I’m done. The fresh ones are a little harder to work with. For some reason I don’t really like the wire spirals. Maybe it reminds me too much of school work, because that’s all I used for school.

      Thanks for dropping in!!!

  5. FARfetched says:

    Ah, the beloved composition notebook. As I mentioned in Victoria’s bloghop post, I (or rather, my D&D character) kept a pretty detailed journal of our adventures in one of those. But they were the graph paper kind, not the ruled kind. We used them for charts, tables, and prose.

    I did handwrite an entire novel in college, and the paper survived long enough for me to rediscover it & type it into my computer. I was on a summer job, far away from my typewriter (it was 1980, c’mon). I *think* I still have the paper copy, but didn’t include it in my bloghop pix.

    • Wow, that’s really cool!!! I ‘think’ I still have the first story I wrote when I was a kid on paper somewhere. The mead books work great for role playing too πŸ™‚ Typewriters rock!

      Thanks for dropping in!

  6. Sorry to hear about your wrist! I don’t have an excuse for my handwriting and it’s about the same as yours is in the later pictures here lol I’ve always kind of likened mine to that of a doctor’s handwriting – quick scribbles. But taking notes on horseback…wow πŸ™‚

  7. Gareth says:

    Wow, you do well to be able to manage it on horseback. I have trouble writing when I’ve got a table in front of me. Usually I use those journalist spiral notebooks as they’re cheap, easy to access and of course quite easy to utilise. However a lot of mine end up quite thin as certain other halves think that its a good source of shopping list paper.

    I’ll invest in a proper book soon, but I need to invest in learning how to handwrite properly first. Its not so much as a doctors scrawl, more a drunken spider whose done a 48 hour hospital shift and expected to do the paperwork after.

    • LOL, love your description of your handwriting. Yeah, if I could write neater, I’d get a nice notebook and fill it, but it seems a shame to scribble in something very nice. To be fair, my notes from horseback are pretty brief. πŸ™‚

  8. T. James says:

    So, after your wrist injury your hand writing looks like some of the samples above… I have no wrist injury, and I write with my right hand. My handwriting is still worse than yours! πŸ™‚

    “Writing from Horseback…” Sounds like it should be the title of your autobiography. πŸ˜‰

  9. Anne Michaud says:

    I do have a gestation period when I scribble the first flash of an idea, it sometimes last months! Great look inside your writing process – and your doodles:)

    Happy Scribbles Blog Hop, Julie β™₯

  10. dannigrrl says:

    You’re not the only one who writes on both sides of the paper. I don’t know how you do that! Of all of the different kinds of notebooks I’ve used to write in, I’ve never used a Composition Notebook. I may to try one of those next.

    • I started writing on both sides because it seemed “wasteful” not too… and I got used to it from taking millions of school notes. I think the biggest reason I did though was one time when I was on vacation, I was writing out a story and I ran out of comp book… so I had to flip it over and use the other sides of the paper to keep going. It worked, so I kept doing it. You don’t see it as much when you’re looking at the actual page instead of a scanned image.


  11. Pingback: Evolution of a Journal « Danielle La Paglia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s