Writers keep notebooks, “sketchbooks,” and other collections of ideas and scraps of writing, don’t they? Isn’t that what we’re told to do? Won’t those become fertile resources throughout the years?
No, probably not. If your experiences have been anything like mine, you find such materials hang around somewhere on your desk (or desktop?). Then they sort of slip off into a drawer, file cabinet, or box somewhere.
Bet you can’t find your writing notebooks/sketchbooks from two years ago. I’ll give you 15 minutes. Go ahead and look. I’ll wait right here.
Back? You probably thought you knew where the stuff was, but I’ll bet only two in 10 of you found the notebooks. That’s probably an optimistic figure.
The real value of notebooks, notecards, and random scraps of written paper — be they napkins or Wal-Mart receipts — is this: They keep you thinking about writing and perhaps actively writing. Even though you misplace the stuff later and never keep it around to mine for literary gold, it focuses a few minutes of your day on writing.
But, heck, maybe you’ll find some gold in the pile somewhere someday. It could happen. But meanwhile, just get out there and write something to make us all proud of you.