Rarely do the worlds of my day job and my passion for writing overlap. Except when it comes to the best piece of advice I’ve gotten: keep a notebook. If nothing else, it’ll keep you from a situation like this. (That may also be an excuse to witness Ryan Reynolds’ butt and oddly high-pitched voice.)
Professionally, notebooks keep the user organized and provide a bit of CYA (cover your ass) for the inevitable problems that will arise in the future. I keep notes on every phone call, staff meeting, impromptu brain storm, and point of action to be taken. Any cheap off-brand notebook will do, but I recommend something with a spiral and a cover. Legal pad, shmegal pad, my friends. Shmegal pad.
Personally, I’m what you might call a notebook snob. If Moleskine was good enough for Hemingway, then it’s certainly good enough for me. Oh, did I mention they have a Star Wars line of notebooks now, too?
I decorate its leather with stickers from street festivals and concerts. Bits of papers, pictures from magazines, and ticket stubs find a home in the expandable pocket in the back and write down that which strikes me on its pages. There are about a million variations on the notebook – wine journals, movie journals, grid paper, day planners – but my favorite is the mini plain notebook (in black) that fits into almost any bag I have from a work tote to a date night clutch.
Keep a notebook with you for a the next week. If you want to start cheap, go for it, but I find that the more you like the look and feel of a notebook, the more you’re going to want to use it. Writing isn’t exactly an expensive hobby, so why not give yourself the gift of something that feels like an extension of your hands? Check out your favorite local book or stationery store and see what they have that strikes your fancy. If worse comes to worse, hit up Walgreens or Target – it’s amazing what you can find there.
- If you think something is worth writing down, then write it immediately. There’s nothing more annoying than putting something off and forgetting the exact turn of phrase that waiter used to offer you a refill on your coffee.
- Appreciate the little details of the world around you. Notice the way your hair blows in the December wind, the twitch of your boss’ nose when you ask for a day off, and the change in scent when Crazy Al gets on your bus in the morning.
- You’re just writing for you in this notebook. Who cares about correct spelling or grammar? Not you.
- Nothing is stupid or inconsequential. Something that may not ignite your creative flame today might set it ablaze when you’re turning the pages three years from now.
What’s the best professional or creative advice you’ve ever received?