Little Black Book(s) …

Anyone who knows me knows that I always carry a black, spiral-bound journal under one arm.  It’s full of things I’ve seen and read — if you say something really witty at a party, I might just open up the book and write it down.1  I know some writers treat their notebooks like pieces of art, but that’s never really worked for me — I need something fast and functional.

It took me years to find a journal that was the right size and weight, and once I finally got something, I stuck with it.2  I’ve been using the same model notebook and pen for over ten years now.  The first time I sold a piece of art, I used all the money to buy a reserve supply of both, just in case the manufacturers went out of business!

Wanna see what’s inside these magical pages?   To do that, you’ll have to mosey on over to The Reading Zone where Sarah Mulhern has collected images from a bunch of different authors’ notebooks — including mine.3  Among the photos in her post, you’ll find a rough sketch illustrating my second-favorite Roald Dahl scene … one million blog points to whoever can guess the picture in advance!


  1. Over the years, I’ve developed a complicated system of symbols to indicate attribution of ideas so that I don’t accidentally use someone else’s original ideas in my own writing.
  2. I know a lot of people gush about Moleskine notebooks, but I can’t draw in something with a closed binding.
  3. Sarah is just one of many bloggers working to promote literacy in a gigantic blogging event called Share a Story – Shape a Future.

1 Comment Leave a Comment

  • Matt Bird says:

    Ha! I just spent two hours doing my bi-yearly upload where I typed up all the notes from my notepad. I always find all sort of notes that have become incomprehensible because I didn’t jot down enough context. This one included this inscrutable note: “Ball: Backward and Forward”





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