Notes About Notes

by Laura Kvasnosky


Author Karen Hesse once said that she does not keep a notebook of ideas. “If an idea is strong enough, it will stay in my head,” is the quote I wrote into my notebook as I listened to her lecture.

Clearly that habit is working for her. But for me, a notebook is a necessary part of the generative process. I count on the ideas in my notebooks to fester and grow like germs on a middle school drinking fountain. Some of them are particularly contagious. They attract others. Eventually a critical mass is reached and it’s time to start writing.

My notebooks not only gather ideas for new work, they are useful in revision. Today I have been revising (yet again) my middle grade novel-in-progress and I have gone back through my notebooks in search of source inspiration. What was my intent? What other details can I include to shine a light on that intent?

In the last couple of years, I have also kept notes on my cellphone, in an aptly-named app called Notes. I noted writing ideas, blog ideas, words to savor, books to read, movies to see, a theatre log, the three good things about each day that John and I named before going to sleep — the lists went on and on.

These lists were all safe in my cellphone until last Thursday. That’s the day I connected to the iCloud. Somehow I overwrote my treasure trove of cellphone Notes with a few piddly Notes that had been hanging around on my computer. According to three geniuses at the Apple store, my notes are lost forever.

I want to be like Karen Hesse, to trust that the strong ideas will stay in my head. But I can’t help grieving my cellphone Notes – at least for awhile. Then I’ll dig back into my notebooks.




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2 responses to “Notes About Notes

  1. Bigfoot

    I always feel like I’m going to remember my ideas, but I almost never do. And I don’t ever seem to learn. I really need to start carrying around a notebook.

  2. ledas

    I have lost so many assorted electronic files over the years –including my entire digital calendar, which held everything about the last ten years of my life–that I now use paper. What a revolutionary idea! And I back everything electronic up three times. But, on the other hand, I forget to look at my paper notes. So I would like to believe that the important stuff will rise to the surface of my teeny brain. Let us know what happens, Laura.

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