Linda Maye Adams

Moleskine Hacks for Fiction Writers


Have you run into a situation where using technology made more work instead of simplifying it?

That’s one of the reasons I started using Moleskine notebooks.  You’ve probably seen them in Barnes and Noble, or even Target.  Rows of simple notebooks in different colors, itching to be picked up.  There’s an artistic feel to them, a special kind of magic.    Other notebooks like the one below feel like homework.

A closeup of a blue spiral bound notebook at an angle.

But what would you use it for?  Here’s a few hacks to try:

Ideas 

Ideas often come in spurts, and it seems like never at convenient times!  How do you record them?  I’m always scrabbling around for a piece of paper.  Recording them all in one place sure makes it a lot easier!  During Ravencon, I was getting such good information during the workshops that I was getting ideas, so I added them right there in my notebook.  I know exactly where they are, and I don’t have to go hunting for scraps of paper or files.

Research Notes

Have you ever stumbled across an article in a newspaper that has something you know is perfect for your story?  Usually it’s at the worst time — no paper to write on.   I’m always tearing the articles out and stuffing them in my pockets, but then I forget to take them out and record the information.  But a Moleskine is small enough to bring everywhere, and it only takes a second to pull it out and add a quick note.  You can’t even do that with a cell phone in that time!

Critique Groups

I’ll bet you’ve been doing critiques, and probably getting critiqued.  A Moleskine is a great place to note comments on another writer’s work, and also to note comments on your own.  It’s all in one place, so it’s easy to refer back to it at a later date for that one comment that didn’t seem important at the time but now makes sense.  I like the aspect of writing it down, rather than trying to type because there’s going to be a temptation of trying to capture it all.  Writing forces me to hit the points that catch my attention, because are usually the ones I need to pay attention to.

Workshops

Right along with the critiques are online workshops.  If you’ve tried one of them, it’s a lot more work than reading the lessons.  There are exercises that have to be completed.  The Moleskine is a great option for working through the lesson and having everything in one place.  At the convention workshops, all I had to do was carry around one small notebook and a pen, and I was set.

For you:  What are you using your Moleskine for?  What kind of hacks do you have that you’ve found work?  Post your comments below.

11 Comments

  1. I’m a notebook addict (I’m also a techno addict, and like you said, the two don’t always mesh!). I love moleskins, but what I’ve finally gravitated to is the Circa notebooks from Levenger. You can switch the pages out easily, and that fits my scribbler personality, as I can get rid of the doodle pages and only keep the good stuff! Or take important pages out to scan into Evernote, thus combining the paper and techno sides of myself 🙂

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    • I’ve heard stories of difficulties getting Levenger supplies (specifically punches). Have you run into those?

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  2. I’m a notebooker, too, but I still use those spiral-bound homework ones. I tear out pages that are nonsense and keep the good (well, fairly-good) stuff. Then I write key words on the front of finished notebooks so I can get back to earlier ideas. My only problem….my stack of notebooks is getting toooooo big.
    I’ll check out the moleskin notebooks. Thanks.

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    • I had to do something different than keywords. Sometimes when I’m looking for something later on, I don’t think of the same keyword (must be that right-brain thing). So I use a visual table of contents in the front.

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  3. I use my moleskines as art journals (doodles and collages). I have tons of college-ruled spiralbounds and composition books for journaling, research, and writing notes. I prefer the notebooks I pick up for cheap. I find it hard to write in fancy journals–it feels almost like desecration.

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    • I think that way about the hardbacked ones.

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  4. I scribble down ideas for scenes just before I start writing them in notebooks–largely snippets of dialogue I don’t want to forget. I also use them for blog post ideas as they come to me.

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    • Cool! It’s a great way to keep everything in one place.

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