Writing in an Itsy Bitsy Notebook

When I was a teenager, I carried around a tiny notebook to write down my thoughts, ideas, poems, and stories. I bought a bunch of these notebooks at Woolworth’s. They were only about 3” x 3”in size and were spiral bound with a picture of a wild animal like a fox or deer on the cover. They were perfect because I could write really really small and take it everywhere I went. I could capture everything that happened in my teenage day.

I also felt these tiny notebooks were very inconspicuous. I could write without drawing
attention to myself or like in the case of my nephew David, my tiny notebook was not as easy to steal. I also didn’t want others to know that I liked to write.

Why?

I was embarrassed. I felt it was a nerdy thing to do as a teenager like listening to Wayne Newton albums (although I did that too). Real writers, I told myself were supposed to have this successful quality about them. You just couldn’t pick up the pen and put down words unless you were already a successful novelist.

Then if people saw you writing, they might ask if you had been published or if you were writing that “Great American Novel”  because isn’t that the goal of all writers? I often felt on the defensive and a little embarrassed to be impersonating a writer. Who was I but a 17-year old kid? I wasn’t allowed to be a writer, yet. So I hid my little notebook.

But that changed.

I’ve graduated into writing in journals of all shapes and sizes and I write everywhere and I don’t care. My nephew also does not care about reading my journal. In fact I believe 99.9 % of the world could care less about what I am writing unless I was writing about them and then maybe they might care a little. And just try reading my handwriting now!

I no longer care if people know I write. And sometimes I still get the the silly questions about where I have published and if I was working on that Great American Novel.

Writing is a practice. Writing helps me make sense of my life. Writing is so much more than just trying to get published. It goes deeper than that.

It’s a part of who I am. It’s what I do.

And it’s what more and more people should do too.

Write!

It’s worth every itsy bitsy notebook I’ve bought.

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A Space of One’s Own

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I am fortunate. I have my own room on the second floor of my house where I write. It is small but with built in bookcases and full of light. Two windows face east and three more face south. From this room, I can watch everything from the neighborhood to the wildlife around me. If feels like I am in my own treehouse.

Last year I was not happy with the way my room looked. It was messy and I was tired of the furnishings.

It has to be creative. After all I will be writing there, I told myself as if the room itself gave me my inspiration.

So I redecorated. I painted, bought a desk, hung new art on the wall. It looks nice. I like it but…

It came to me that no matter what I did to my room, it would still be messy if I was truly working. Paper drafts thrown in one corner. Art projects in other piles. It is really part of the creative process.

Which brings me back to the purpose of the room. Whether the room is messy or that “perfect studio” in my mind, it is the place where I write. And that is what I must do.

And really, I don’t need a special place to write in. At times, I write in coffeeshops, libraries, on buses, and in parks. Often the creative muse shows up when I least expect it and not always in my spiffy new writing room. I am reminded of Stephen King writing Carrie on his kitchen table.

What I need to remember is not that I have a room of my own.  All I really need is a pen and a piece of paper and the space to write wherever and whenever I can.

Let the words fall as they may.

And to listen to that small but persistent voice that keeps whispering in my ear, “ Write, Robin. Just write.”