That Bittersweet Time When You Begin A New Writer's Notebook




I always hold mixed feelings about commencing a new notebook. I am quite excited about the prospect of filling the fresh pages and I enthusiastically embrace the challenge. To see my words spread out and over the previously unmarked pages is a buzz for me as a writer.  I’m involved in the act of capturing the raw stuff of my writing life and bringing order to my messy mind. The harvesting of words and ideas adds to the energy of writing in this new place. I am like the farmer who ploughs a new field.

I often make a conscious decision to choose a new notebook with different dimensions to its predecessor.  I embrace its unique shape and form. I am keen to shape this new notebook in a way that establishes its difference from previous notebooks. The contents will add further to the individuality. There will be new discoveries. 

This time remains a bittersweet moment in my writing life. It is that time when I am faced with saying farewell to a trusted friend. I am saying goodbye to a travelling companion. The notebook I have just completed has been with me every day for the past few months. Everywhere I have been, it has been there too. It travelled with me for a month in Vietnam. It's where it began its role in the collection zone.



This notebook, like all its predecessors has gone with me everywhere- just in case. It now bulges like a well fed belly. -A notebook crammed with gathered thoughts, ideas and potential treasures to spark more detailed writing pieces.

For a time I will consciously carry both notebooks. This is the handover period. There exists for me as the writer a natural connection between the old and the new. This connection stretches across time with one notebook informing the other As my new notebook begins to fill, it will reach a point where it will contain sufficient content to travel solo. The older notebook will be gently retired to become part of my ever expanding collection of completed notebooks. They stretch back to 1983. 

My just completed notebook will continue to play an active role in my writing life though. While it will cease to be my travelling companion, I will periodically revisit it and the other notebook for the purposes of reconnecting and rereading.  I am conscious of the vital role rereading plays in informing my writing ideas. It will serve as a source for research and re-invigoration. It is from reading old entries new ideas frequently reveal themselves. I will adopt the role of treasure hunter and text detective. 

It is akin to a reunion with an old friend. and I find great joy and renewed pleasure in the re-connection.

These notebooks are central to my existence as a writer and educator. All my published work began a tentative existence within the collective pages of my various notebooks. They are the footprints left by my writing life.



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