The Writer’s Notebook

Creative writing begins with creative perception: an alertness to the world around. There is always something bizarre, funny, heartwarming, or infuriating happening.

Consider carrying a notebook in order to catch and save the things you notice—a bit ofdialogue, the texture of a face or a landscape, the flash of a metaphor, a quirky story. This is not the same as a daily journal, but more like the sketchpad the visual artist keeps handy to capture the contours, gestures, and perspectives a moment might offer up. It’s like a safety deposit box for scavenged bits of treasure.

Sitting in an empty room with a blank screen before you, how often do your thoughts fly south? If you already have a reserve of words on paper, though, instead of swirling in the void, you can grab a concrete anchor to start.

Get material into that notebook as soon as you can. Don’t rely on memory. The strongest impression is weaker than the palest ink.

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