An End Is a New Beginning

An End Is a New Beginning

I reached the end of a notebook today. Flipping through a full notebook is a trip.

Do you ever wish for a time machine to your past? Keep a journal. You can’t change anything when you look back, but you can probably learn from the experience.

Inside cover
My story notebook and journal, February 2015 – May 2016

I spent half an hour rereading old pages from this notebook. Sometimes my words are vivid. They flow clearly. My handwriting is never easy to read, but I can surprise myself on good days. On other occasions, the words are barely distinguishable from the scribbled ravings of a madman. I switch tenses mid-sentence. I forget to finish thoughts.

When I do write by hand, I use the same notebook for everything. I collect rules and tools for writing. I write grocery lists. I work out story problems. I brainstorm blog ideas. I fill the pages with random sketches of places and people, and poems, and ideas for new books.

The variety suits me. Work and pleasure can share a page. Here, I ring in the New Year. There, I bitch about work. Next, I talk about dog training with Elsa.

I take down quotes that sing to me, like this one from the HALT AND CATCH FIRE, an AMC series about the PC revolution in 1980s Dallas:

Quote from HALT AND CATCH FIRE the TV show
You ever sell cars for a living, Joe? That’s how I got started. And I learned, if you want to sell station wagons you better have a sports car to park in the window.” — HALT AND CATCH FIRE

The magic of writing is that every page conjures a snapshot of the past. I learn a lot about myself this way—the writing and the looking back.

Browsing resurfaces old ideas, like these koans I wrote and promptly forgot.

1. The obstacle is the way 2. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit 3. And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good. 4. I am a writer 5. I am a creative entrepreneur

It also sparks new ideas. Case in point: I should write by hand more.

I’m starting a new notebook today.

I challenge you to share photos of your own notebook or journal on Twitter, Instagram, or your own blog. Don’t forget to come back and post a link in the comments!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.