Thursday, March 26, 2020

SOL 26/31: Meet my writing notebooks!

Returning for year nine of writing daily in March with my Slice of Life writer friends! Check out Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life occurring every day in March.

I'm not good at writing in my writer's notebooks. Most of the writing I do is straight onto the computer, but once I started looking, I found ten notebooks! Sometimes I wish I were a one notebook, linear, fill-it-up before you start the next one type of person, but that's not who I am. I'm a many notebook, random, grab the first one you can find kind of gal. This post is dedicated to the multiple and messy notebook keepers among us. I won't be sharing any beautiful pages, but I will be sharing the wide and varied ways that I use my ten notebooks.
The first five notebooks at the top of the picture reveal that I love composition notebooks. The first two are holdovers from when I was teaching. There were many blank pages in each of them so I decided a while back to finish them. 

The flowery one begins on 4-8-10 with this quote that I've always loved: "I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning. " -  J. B. Priestley. This notebook has photocopied poems, favorite Dove chocolate quotes, brainstorming for my heart map, and many small moment stories. A pink tab leads me to my notes from the 2015 All Write conference. After the conference notes are ideas for slicing, notes from church meetings I attended and then lots of brainstorming for the year I did a stroll through the alphabet for Poetry Month. There's an attempt at Morning Pages beginning Thursday, September 12, 2019 and lasting until Monday, November 11, 2019 (and true to who I really am, I did not write every day during that time period). And then there are scribbled ideas for possible 2020 slices of life. There are two pages I've been looking for in this notebook - a list of "light poems" (light is my OLW for 2020) and a list of Aunt Minnie's kids with the year each was born (I was sure I had put this in my Family History notebook. Nope!)

The green marbled one begins with the title page I always had my students write as the first page in their notebooks, If this book is found, please return to Islander Middle School, Room 104, Mercer Island, Washington. It's followed by the table of contents which includes these categories: Small Moment Stories, Brainstorming Lists, Writer's Craft Entries, Headline News, and Poetry Response. It has an entry from 3-3-13, written with students during slice of life writing time with a pink cupcake stamp! We used to have an official stamper of entries at the end of our writing time. It includes notes from Shelly's presentation to her scholarship group about her family heritage. And there's a list of possible slices for March's 2019 SOL with orange stars by the ones I actually wrote.

Nerd Alert was begun in September 2015. Nestled amid lots of ideas for slicing are favorite quotes, one of my favorite things to scibble in the pages of my notebooks. My notes from Naomi Shihab Nye's Arbuthnot Honor Lecture delivered on 4-28-18 bring back memories of this delightful evening spent with fellow blogger Jone MacCulloch. This notebook has rough drafts for the poems I wrote when I jumped into the Ethical ELA 5-Day Writing Challenge in February 2020. Writing poetry always requires me to leave my computer and pick up a notebook. I learned the hard way that it's too easy to delete lines I may want to retrieve later.

The yellow notebook is an example of a notebook dedicated to a special purpose. My daughter gave it to me and I use it for notetaking when I go to monthly meetings about family history. I started the blue flowered notebook when I attended Roots Tech in February 2020. It still has lots of room so I'm using it to take notes on the additional recorded sessions and the virtual pass sessions I'll be watching throughout the year. I started the artistic photo collage notebook for my #52Stories in 2020 project. The red spiral, follow your own star notebook, begun 8-7-07, chronicles my ongoing journey for healthy living. 

I started the green journal with the sunflower picture on 1-1-2020 for #100daysof notebooking and lasted until 1-13-2020. But I'm picking it up today to begin journaling about Covid-19. I talked with daughter recently to clarify some of the things that I remember from this unprecedented time and I simply must begin writing in it today. 

I saved my two favorite notebooks for last. The fabric covered notebook on the bottom right was a gift from my friend Ruth Ayres. It has a stretchy piece of elastic for holding a pen, a front pocket, and textured pages that are dreamy for collecting the thoughts of my heart. The smallest notebook in the center of the picture was a prize I won during the 2014 SOL Writing Challenge. It's a handmade notebook created and donated by Stacie Evans (Girl Griot). It's the perfect size for collecting quotes I love and inspiration from fellow bloggers. My latest entry captures these words from River Brown's post* on 3-16-20:
"Breathe. You're here. You are supported.
 Even loved. Let that in."

No more envy for those one notebook, linear, fill-it-up before you start the next one notebook keepers. I'm embracing and celebrating my multiple and messy notebooks. All ten of them!


  1. Ramona, I should collect my notebooks to see how many I have and what they all hold inside. I have started digital journals and my love is writing on the computer because I had messy pages. I have scraps of notes all over and sometimes I cannot even read what I write. The beauty of all you collected is that you have a documented history of your years as a writer. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love this peek at your notebooks. I try hard at creating that writing habit, and I am getting better! I don't see how you keep them all straight! :)

    1. Oh Leigh Anne, I don't! But I try to have one in the family room, bedroom, bag I use, so I never have an excuse for not capturing a thought. And heaven knows at this stage in life, if I don't capture it right away, it's gone!

  3. I love getting this peek at all your notebooks. I have one similar to yours from Ruth also! It's one of my favorites. And I lifted your quote and put it in my notebook. Magic is my one little word this year!

  4. Interesting to hear about your notebooks. I can’t seem to become a successful notebooker, even though the idea of it is so appealing. But my blog seems like my notebook. It’s where I do most of my writing. I have a lot of drafts stored there, too.

  5. I'm so flattered that you included my notebook! And that you are filling it with favorite quotes! Thank you!