I think I’ve reached a point with one of my notebooks where I can finally put it on a shelf so it doesn’t clutter up the space next to the sofa. I’ve always written my stories across a range of notebooks for later transcription, so finding that time when I can put one to one side is a relatively rare moment. I used to have a terrible habit of starting a book and then launching into a new one when I bought or received one as a gift for the sheer joy of marking the pages of a brand new set of pages.
Some books were pressed into use for making notes in the workplace before my doodles and story and game notes took them over, while others where used because they fit more conveniently into my pockets while I was travelling. I have moleskines of various sizes, notebooks with ornate patterns on the front that I bought because I thought they were pretty, and any number of books that I’ve sort of accumulated over the years like some literary detritus in my wake.
I’ve also taken to writing in many different books as a way of mitigating against losing work through damage or simple disorganisation. About six months ago this paid off when a story I was re-writing got damaged by rain water that soaked my jacket while I was walking home. Fortunately the first draft of that story was in another book so I could pick up the thread quickly – and once the notebook had dried out, I was able to carry on using it despite the slightly odd texture to some of the pages.
I’m at the stage now where, barring one or two chapters, I’ve largely written all of my first novel. I’m now stitching the narrative together from the various notebooks to get them all in one place on my laptop – housing the work on a drive location that I keep synchronised with cloud storage as a backup. It’s allowing me to do a bit of a first edit and clean up as I do it, as well as resolve various points where I’ve referred to certain characters by different names when I’ve been writing about them at different points in time. I’m now harmonising those references and using the opportunity to make sure I consistently reference people, places and descriptions, as well as clean up the time-line a bit. (This is mostly because in the first draft there were certain things that would have been impossible to take place on the same day because there was too much crammed in and across geographically too diverse locations)
So, I have another notebook that I can actually say is finished and complete. My aim is try and actually fill, transcribe and finish each of my existing notebooks before starting any new ones. That brand new House Stark moleskine I got for Christmas is practically crying out to be used though… I must stay strong…