I. Brainstorming 101:Why a Physical Notebook is worth it

Although I am by no means freed from the two dreaded words “college application”, I have once again endeavoured to strive for the best possible SAT results and am willing to put that behind me. I hope you comrades have not grown too weary of waiting for me! But do not fear that in my absence I have completely forgotten about my blog. As you can see, I’ve been asking around and redesigning it so that it’s easier to navigate. Additionally, I now present to you an all-together new blog series: Brainstorming 101. 

This is the first of the seven-week series, and I’ll begin by selling you the idea you must have a physical idea notebook. I have precisely three reasons for this, and hopefully, by the third reasoning, I would have you full-heartedly buying into this idea. If not, well, I still have six more posts to keep nagging you about it. 

01. Paper and Pen Is Inherently Different from a Computer Screen

Before you exclaim, “Well, duh!”, please hear me out. In this time and age where most people are encouraged to do everything on their phones or computers, the importance of pen and paper are being forgotten. It’s seen as being old-fashioned, dated, inconvenient, etc., etc. Yet I must say that this is not true since they are entirely different things. The original purpose of computers was calculations. The original purpose of the pen and paper was always for writing. In this sense, notebooks are almost mandatory if you are going to write anything at all. It’s also known that when comparing writing something down on paper versus typing, writing tends to win the case for deeper understanding. Writing something down gives you power over your thoughts in a way typing simply cannot. This is the first reason I always compile a physical idea notebook for any of my novel ideas.

02. Paper and Pen will not Distract You

This is another big factor in utilizing a notebook. Where I go to do some “writing” on my computer, I tend to have to expend my energy on concentration and eliminating distractions (hi, Pinterest!), notebooks with their blank pages do not need that kind of double concentration power. It’s much more energy efficient to be writing things down in a notebook that’s begging you to write something.

03. Paper and Pen (in some cases) Are More Permanent

Okay, this sounds sort of strange since things typed on a computer has less tendency to disappear (unless it’s Word), but trust me when I say it’s more permanent in your brain. To confess something, I did not know the existence of the internet until I was close to being fifteen. I know, that’s kind of shocking. But this means that I had an extended time in my life where I would only use paper to write. And from good old IEW, I learnt the importance of not erasing when I write. Paper and pen do not mean anything if you erase your words. So what I recommend is to simply use a non-erasable pen (since I love Frixion) to write. This is one of the most discomforting things you have to do when writing on pen and paper, but it helps you organize your thoughts better and letting everything out, no matter how irrelevant it might turn out to be. And the words you write (and don’t erase) sticks in your mind much like the permanent pen you use. Significantly, this will increase your creativity, especially if you’re just starting out. And never toss out your notebook. I made this mistake on several occasions, and now several stories and characters are lost to me forever, a greatly heartbreaking dilemma.

Because we need to remember that spare rooms are countries.


So by now, you may be thinking, “Sure, all this sounds great! But how do you start off with an idea notebook?” And you who are asking this, are in a great place since I have outlined the course of action for you below. 

  1. Buy a non-spiral bound notebook. (Because there will be a time when you want to tear out some pages, and I tell you, it’s going to be the worst notion you’ll have in your writing career.)
  2. Buy (or procure) a permanent ink pen. Don’t get water-soluble ones, since if you accidentally flood your bag with your notebook inside (like I did), you can kiss your ideas good-bye.  
  3. Write the date on the first page.
  4. Keep the next two pages blank for creating a table of contents space.
  5. Write down your ideas as you go and keep track of it in the table of contents space. 

And voila! You are now a proud member of the Physical Idea Notebook Society (PINS). After some practice, you’ll be able to organize your brainstorms and become a pro at integrating them into your story.

So comrades, what do you think? Are you convinced that having a physical idea notebook is a good idea? Or are you still a member of the Digital Idea Notebook Society (DINS)? Let me know in the comments below!

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