Thinking about Revision–Notebook Time?

October is my Stay Away From The MG WIP month. November will be my Now Step Into Revision month (along with PiBoIdMo-yikes!) And so, of course, what’s twiddling along inside my brain is how best to get started.

I’m feeling like I need to do some notebook work–the low-tech kind. I have some biggish questions I want to, if not answer, spend some time with. And I think if I can stay away from the computer at first, I might be able to resist the temptation to just dig in and start changing words, instead of ideas.

This doesn’t sound easy to me. I love my computer. While I still have nostalgic affection for the notebooks of my childhood, I haven’t been successful with them for years. At the base level, I can barely read my own handwriting these days. And at the higher (?) level, any ideas I do manage to come up with seem to come with a pretty strong tug to get back to my keyboard and type as fast as I can to get it all down, put it into a scene, formulate and form it.

But I’m going to give it a shot. I’m going to see if I can get myself to a library or a coffeehouse a couple days of days a week after work, or take my notebook into my bedroom–away from distractions–and I’m going to ask myself some questions and see what I can do about stepping toward some possibilities.

Do you use a notebook? At what stage in the writing/revising process? What do you use it for? And how do you go back to whatever it is you’ve scribbled on the pages and make it useful?

All tips and suggestions welcome in the comments!


  1. Kelly Ramsdell Fineman says:

    I commented on general notebook use at FB, and that all holds true. One thing that my friend Angela does in her one of her notebooks is make the kind of notes you’re talking about. And sometimes she writes them on other paper, then cuts and pastes them into her notebook. I am guessing that you could type your notes to yourself and do that, if typing feels more natural to you and you have deciphering issues.


    • beckylevine says:

      Kelly, typing does feel more natural, but it also pulls me toward putting down actual sentences and changes, and I think maybe I need to work at the idea level for a while. i will, knowing myself, though, email myself ideas as they come to me, and, yes, taping them into the notebook would be a very good idea!


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