Notebooks & Writers

I haven’t handwritten stories since… elementary school, I think. /thinks back/ Oops, no, there was some terrible self-insertion fanfic I wrote during pre-algebra back in middle school, before I knew that even had a name (because we didn’t have public internet yet, for which I thank God, or I might have posted it). Anyway, I adopted typing for storytelling early on, as soon as we had a Tandy computer from Radio Shack.

I do know some writing friends who handwrite their first drafts, however, and quite a lot who handwrite their outlines and notes. And there is evidence that writing by hand helps you retain more, if taking notes, or be more creative, if inventing.

Energel Pen affiliate link to Amazon
And it comes in glorious colors.

I resisted. But eventually I found a pen I loved, in an elegant metal form which feels so classy, which can be refilled so it’s environmentally responsible, and I discovered that I actually don’t dislike writing by hand nearly so much as I dislike writing with lame pens. A quality instrument made all the difference. I got a notebook, and then another, and I filled them with plot notes, lines to be tucked into dialogue, ideas, etc.

And then, when I went back to grab an idea I’d recorded for a project I was ready to start, I discovered the problem with paper notebooks instead of typed digital notes saved to the cloud: they can be lost.

Start Panicking

For a week, I’ve been searching for the composition book with the rough outlines for two future series. And then today I found it! Hurray! Rejoice with me, for I have found my plots which were lost! But I’ve also learned my lesson.

I can digitize my notes with CamScanner, the free or super-cheap photo-to-PDF app I’ve used for years for work, or with the scanner already included with Evernote, which is freakin’ amazing and has most of my story research notes already (and which I just won’t do without). I’ve been hearing about the reusable notebooks, such as Rocketbook or Elfinbook, in which you can write or draw, snap photos which are automatically filed in Evernote or other software, and then erase pages. Or even erase the entire notebook at once by microwaving it, if you use the Pilot Frixion pens with heat-blanking ink.

Seriously, we live in a weird and wonderful world.

But when I look at the reusable notebooks, I realize they’re often perfectly normal notebooks (or with more durable pages) which rely on the Pilot Frixion pens to work their reusable magic. You can do the same thing with your existing notebook. The others are whiteboard notebooks using dry-erase pens. While the reusable notebook apps are nice for auto-sorting your saved notes into the cloud, I’m not sure it’s worth the money to be able to skip the notebook selection step in Evernote’s scanner.

Cheap wins. I’ve just gone through my newly-found notebook and saved the key pages to Evernote. Hurray! Saved! Now I remember that “Wight Cheddar” joke for when I get to the rest of the “Wight Christmas” stories.

Lesson learned, I need to back up my paper just like I back up my digital files. What do you do to save things? Anybody out there using the reusable notebooks, and if so what do you think of them?

There are a lot of links here, and yep, the Amazon and Evernote links are affiliate links. But seriously, I love Evernote.

Bookmark the permalink.


  1. I find it much easier to write my first draft in a notebook and then type it up the next day before I write the next section my hand. If I just type it, I get stuck staring at the blinking cursor without being able to come up with anything.

    Also, I love picking out pretty notebooks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *