Inside notebooks — Liz Hale

March 13th, 2012

We continue our Stenhouse author notebook series with an entry from Liz Hale, author of Crafting Writers, K-6. Don’t forget to upload a picture and a description of your notebook for a chance to win a free Stenhouse book! Just visit our Facebook page to upload your photo.

Before I start a new chapter for a book, I always take out my white, legal notepad where I write out and sketch my ideas. Even though I type faster than I write, I much prefer the freedom that comes with a notebook.   These lined pages have no expectations of me and they match the messy process of brainstorming and planning.  I can spill out my ideas and see them all in front of me like a dumped bag of pick-up sticks.  Then, by adding phrases, crossing out sentences, and drawing arrows and stars, I can start making sense of what I want to include in the chapter.

Technology, of course, also offers these features of moving, crossing out, and highlighting text.  But there is something about using a pen on paper that, for me, can’t be replaced for this kind of thinking.  I like the feel and purity of the ballpoint pen on paper and the simplicity that involves no batteries, software or electricity.  Unlike the Word document pages of my laptop, which have a crisp, hurried New York City feel to them, my notebook pages offer a space away from that place where the product reigns supreme.  With my pen and paper, I am not rushed.  My hands slow down, my thinking slows down and the simple, unassuming paper doesn’t mind.

Entry Filed under: Author News

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