Plotting, Writer Tips

Top 5 Reasons Why You Need to Use a Notebook When Plotting

Guys, it’s time you stop trying to plot your book on your computer. Instead, it’s time to whip out the notebooks.

Today, I’m giving you my top 5 reasons why you should be using a notebook when plotting your book.

Let’s get started!Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 2.39.03 PM

1. Using A Notebook…Allows for Full Creativity!

On the computer, everything is, well, perfect. The font is straight, spell-checker screams at you until every word is fixed…

Yeah, maybe a bit too perfect.

Some writers struggle so bad with being okay when writing that your first draft because they’re afraid it’s gunna come out really bad. 

Well, I believe that’s because, when typing, you’re surrounded by perfects fonts, perfect indentions, perfectly straight sentences that don’t go off the lines, etc. And when typing in all this perfection with a non-perfect story feels really…lopsided sometimes. Really out of place. Surrounded by all this perfectness, it can be incredibly hard to just pound out your trashy first draft.

Now, don’t worry: I’m not saying you suddenly have to write your 50k+ novel on paper.

SyJM

What I’m getting at is that this is exactly the same situation you’d been in when plotting your book on your computer. If you’re trying to break from the normal and explode out some epic creativity to make your book super original…perfectionism is NOT what you’re wanting to go for.

Which is where notebooks come in. 

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Okay, but, GUYS: When I use a notebook, I write E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E. Because I can. I write in the top margins in the bottom margins and on every line available.

No, I’m not here to tell you how to structure the way you plot in your notebook, because that just limits all creativity. I’m just trying to show you that notebooks give you the freedom to be messy. To be creative. To write any crazy idea that comes to mind!

Computers don’t give you the ‘messy’ options, and really, you’re going to have to dive into messy options to get some of those original ideas rolling. 

So…write everywhere in your notebook! Skip pages! Scribble out sentences as your brain is charging way ahead of them! Also, bonus-squiggly red lines of spelling mistakes won’t be stopping your flow! Take THAT, spell-checker!

Use a notebook to plot, guys. It WILL change the way your book turns out. 

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2. Using A Notebook…Helps You Retain Information

When plotting a full-fledged novel, there can be a LOT to remember.

Guys: It’s scientifically proven that if you write things on paper, you will remember it better. You should see my science notes!

Now, I’m not saying you’re suddenly going to develop photographic memory of every sentence you wrote in your notebook which should totally be possible, just saying, but when plotting a bajillion beat novel with three different acts and intertwining character arcs…yeah, I for one am using a notebook to remember as much as possible. 

3. Using a Notebook…Reduces Screen Time

Okay, I’m not going to drone on about a speech on the negative effects that technology has on the world. ‘Cause that’s actually not what I’m talking about.

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I have found that when I stare a computer too long, I get headaches, or feel drained. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with waves coming off of the device, so hey:

  • using a notebook, you won’t get a headache from staring at a screen.
  • you will be more aware of things around you, and more open to staring into space and pulling out original ideas from your brain.
  • you can work on your writing for hours and not be called out or feel guilty for being on the screen so long.
  • as well as being able to work longer periods of time without getting that drained feeling.

4. Using a Notebook…Reduces Distractions

When I do my plotting sessions (as I am now calling them), I set up my epic music on a speaker, put the speaker in my room, pull out my writing books and notebooks and pens, and settle down to plot for as long as I can go until I’m either a) called away, b) called for food essentials, guys or c) feel satisfied enough to put it away for the day.

There are no devices anywhere by me.

Just books, paper, pens, music to spur my thinking, and my book.

No excuses, guys. If you feel like you need to look something up-do it at a separate writing session time! I knew I needed to research amnesia better, so I made a note and planned out a time to learn up on it more. But there was no need for me to stop my session and go prancing about the internet and throw myself outta the zone.

  • Takeaway? Less distractions = 100% more work being done which = that much more of your book being written/plotted.

5. Using a Notebook…Is Easily Accessible and Portable!

Okay guys, sometimes when I just get SO in the zone, I need to bring my notebook and plotting tools with me if I happen to be going out but still wanna write.

Or, if I want to sit in Starbucks before covid days *coughs awkwardly and everyone runs screaming because I coughed* then I can easily flip out a book and lay my notebook and pen on the table while sipping some coffee!

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^me staring into space while drinking my coffee

Plus, if you wake up in the middle of the night with an epic story idea (which I’m sure ALL of us writers have experienced at least one time before…and most likely forgotten the idea at that), you can whip open your notebook, grab your pen, and jot it down real quick without having to grope for your computer or phone and wake yourself up with the bright light.

As for accessibility, you can easily pick up a thick, good quality notebook at a dollar store. And some great pens, too.

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^me looking at my epic pens even though the gif is technically a pencil

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Okay, guys! These are my quick-yet-super-true tips to get you to start using a notebook! (If you don’t already. And if you do use one already, HIGH-FIVE TO YOU, GO EAT A COOKIE!)

Also, can I just mention the satisfaction you get when you see so many epic ideas scrawled across pages and pages of a notebook? Ahhh the BEST feeling.

Have you never tried using a notebook before? Ready to try now?

Have you been using notebooks? Know that satisfying feeling that I’m talking about?

Also, if you couldn’t tell, I am feeling the LEGO movie gifs today

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I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment down below.

Thanks for reading!

Mary

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Top 5 Reasons Why You Need to Use a Notebook When Plotting

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20 thoughts on “Top 5 Reasons Why You Need to Use a Notebook When Plotting”

  1. You made some very valid points! Notebooks certainly have advantages. I always use one when I read through my chapters, that way I can easily take notes on what needs to be changed and look back on them later.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, now that I think about it, these are a lot of really good reasons!!!
    It’s a good thing I’m one of those notebook-users (although it isn’t very often…)! Yes, I know the satisfying feeling you’re talking about. It’s like…how do I explain it..? It’s like I’ve accomplished something in life whenever I write down a good story plot in my notebook.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yess, ikr!? Thanks, Mahitha!
      Wahooo! *hands you a cookie*
      YES. EXACTLY. Like…ah, it really is hard to describe. To sum it up in one word: pride. Lots of pride.

      Like

    1. Thanks, Caleb!! Oooh, that’s SO true. Definitely a positive for computer plotting and a negative for notebook plotting 😂 It’s definitely much harder to keep things organized on paper 😆

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m one of those people who love buying notebooks.. and like fill up one page 😳
    I am trying to change that though, and thanks a lot for giving me more reasons to switch to notebooks 😹
    (nuuuuu that wasn’t meant to be sarcastic-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AHAH I SO DO THAT-*coughs* I mean…yyyeeahhh
      For sure!! (lol I totally read it non-sarcastically the first time and now I can only see it as sarcasm now 😂)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally agree with this post; I use notebooks all the time when planning books. It definitely feels less like it’s set in stone when I do it that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. YES!!! FINALLY someone else who sees the absolute amazing value notebooks have in writing!!!! *high fives* First I should probably admit *cough, cough* *stares in awkward shock as everyone also runs away from me* XD I actually don’t outline or plot. *sheepish smile* Full-blown pantser over here…okay, I’m a bit more of a plantser but you get the point! BUT I have actually written about three different novels IN A NOTEBOOK! So, yes, I TOTALLY use the notebook thing!!!!!!!! And I do TOTALLY GET that satisfying feeling you’re talking about!!! And, I LOOVED ALL OF YOUR GIFS!!!!! As I was reading the post, I had noticed that you were using a lot of Lego ones and was thinking you were in the mood for Lego GIFs today. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 AWESOME POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YYYESSS!!!! *high-fives you back* (Lol I know right, I keep ‘coughing’ and I’m like stop it don’t cough 😆) Wow! That’s so interesting!! I didn’t know that! NO WAY!!! 3 NOVELS IN A NOTEBOOK??? *grabs entire jar of cookies and thrusts it at you* That’s insane!!!
      YESSSS. That satisfying feeling is just, ah, THE best.
      THANK YOU!!! I found them hiding about and after laughing way too hard at them I decided I needed to use them 😂 lol! That’s hilarious!!
      Thanks so much for reading!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha, yep!! I don’t think I’ve mentioned that much. XD *grabs the jar of cookies and happily eats them…the cookies, not the jar XD*
        Of course, girl!!! You’re TOTALLY welcome!!!!!!!!! <333

        Liked by 1 person

  6. YEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!! All of this is SO 100% absapositively TRUE!!!! A couple days ago I worked on my story for waaaay to long on the computer and wanted to stop burning my retinas out with the screen, BUT I still wanted to write! So I pulled out some notebook paper (which I should’ve thought of an using an aCtUaL nOtEboOk so I wouldn’t lose any pages, but it’s the thought that counts XD) and it felt SO refreshing to write messy (which is rare seeing how I’m a total perfectionist) and I actually do remember more of what I wrote on paper than on the computer (although I’ll admit it wasn’t much seeing how my hand started cramping like after 10 minutes, but still)! *lets out breath* Wow. I just realized how major that run-on sentence was. (Aaand I feel like I used way too many parenthesis to be legal.) XD
    Also, another YES to it helping you not get called out for spending so much time looking at a screen! That always happens to me and then I feel SUPER guilty and start saying like “Sorry, do you want to use it ’cause you can totally use it if you want and I would’ve let you use it if you told me sooner.” *lets out another deep breath* XD
    Also YOU GO GIRL on the gifs!!!! XD I LOVE the Lego movie stuff so it was really fun seeing those! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WAHOOO, THANKS VICTORIA!!!! Ahh yes, I totally get the ‘burning my retinas’ part 😂 Ahhh yesss, that is EPICNESS!!!! (besides the cramping part, which I ALSO totally understand lol) Ahaha, totally LOVED reading it though 😆
      YES. EXACTLY! Or like I’m like: “Don’t worry I wasn’t like playing video games or watching something I was being really productive but oh MAN now I feel so guilty.”
      *bows super dramatically* thank you again!!! I LOVE using gifs, and ahhh yes, because the LEGO movie is such a comedy sort of movie it’s perfect to find funny gifs from it to use 😂

      Like

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