Notebook Savoire-Faire

Many friends and students say they want to keep a notebook, but they don’t know how to start and what to write. Being the sort of writer who has more ideas than hours in the day, I find this hard to believe, but we cannot assume everyone is like us. For me the notebook or journal is my creative net, catching anything and everything that crosses my path during the day. It contains dreams (nighttime and daytime), compelling quotations, overheard dialogue, observations of bizarre characters, situations which irk me, current events, stories about loved ones, selections from favorite books, and of course, my course random daily musings.

It’s important to carry the notebook everywhere because one never knows when the muse will strike, and even though corners of newspapers and restaurant napkins work in an emergency, they often get misplaced or saturated in spilled beverages.

I learned the art of notebook-keeping from my most admired diarist, Anaïs Nin who had her own particular ritual. She would designate a time to sit and write. Then, she closed her eyes and described the first image which appeared. Most often, it was something that had been on her mind.
Try it. It really works and you’ll be surprised how the words flow and even if they take you away from the initial images, that’s okay.

Write me and let me know how it goes!


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1 Response to “Notebook Savoire-Faire”


  1. 1 1writeway September 22, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Anais Nin! Goodness, I was idolizing her when I was in my early twenties. I still have every volume of her diary (we’re talking 30+ years now). Her diaries were my journal for a time: copious notes in the margins, lots of underlined and highlighted sentences. Did you ever see the film about her, when she lived in Big Sur? I also read her fiction, some of which I think I still have (we’re in the midst of replacing our carpet so my house is turned upside-down and I can’t find anything).

    Just seeing her name in your post caused a flood of memories for me.

    I enjoy your blog, Diana, and I’m glad you succumbed to your friends’ encouragement to start it. Any time you are writing is time well spent.

    Ciao,
    Marie


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Quote of the Week


"A writer uses a journal to try out the new step in front of the mirror."

~Mary Gordon

About Me


I am a memoirist, essayist, poet and teacher whose passion is keeping a notebook. My notebook is my muse and my alter ego. It contains personal snippets of my life and observations from the world around me. Diarist Anaïs Nin has been a great source of inspiration for me. My hobbies include writing, writing and more writing, but when I have extra time, I enjoy reading, walking, hiking, yoga, working out, cooking and hanging out with my family and Maltese Poodle, Spunky. In order not to become ensconced by the glare of my computer screen, I also teach in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and in various conferences and festivals around the country. My pleasure comes from sharing my joy of journaling with professional writers and anyone interested in writing.

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