Tenth Notebook

Kimmidoll notebook with a grey cover with green plants and a pink bird. There is a grey ribbon bookmark attached, and at the end it has a kimmidoll wearing a kimono with the notebook's pattern.

I got this Kimmidoll notebook ages ago, when they were still slightly popular, and the pages are already yellowing. The notebook actually fits inside the grey cover, so it could be reused for another notebook, but I don’t have any other notebook that can fit inside.

Anyway, I filled this one with lots of notes because I’ve been doing some research, reading about writing Romance, the history of Madrid and mythology. I also found some notes about how to cope with lockdown, mental health and self-care.

Remember I said I’d decided to write and read what I enjoyed? Well, I was enjoying reading non-fiction, since I’ve always loved learning, and I’ve been writing some random scenes out of order, and it’s been good. I haven’t been writing the story I wanted to finish, but I have for the longest High Fantasy one I’ve been thinking about for years. I started wondering, again, whether I should have one, two or more POVs, so it will take much longer to write.

I’ve come to accept that this is how it works for me. It will take me a long time to finish anything, but if this is what I need to keep enjoying it, that’s what I’ll do. If it sounds like I’m trying to convince myself, it’s because I am, but I’ve realized that, after deciding I’m going to take my time and follow inspiration, I started writing more in my notebook. I finished it sooner than I expected and I’ve already started another one, so this new method might be working!

Yes, I write less often. Yes, I write only what I feel like and don’t try to focus on one project any more. But somehow, I’m also writing more than when I was trying to force myself to write daily for the same project. So maybe this is my method.

Maybe you think I could have posted this sooner given I finished the notebook so fast, and you’d be right. I had planned to post this back in July, but I’ve been too busy at work and didn’t have time to finish transcribing the notebook. I just can’t sit down and stare at a computer for so many hours. It’s not good for my mental health.

Anyway, now I’ve finished this, so I can celebrate and move forward!

Ninth Notebook

Blue notebook.

If you were looking forward to seeing more posts about notebooks, you might have noticed it’s been a long time since my previous one. I was going to say this was due to me catching up with the present once I finished my eighth notebook, but then I realized it’s been 10 months.

Of course, I had several months of non-writing because… we can call it writer’s block because I don’t know if it was anxiety, burnout, depression… or all/none of the above. Plus, I don’t want to bore you with the details.

What I wanted to tell you is that this notebook was a present from one of my best friends, who has always supported my writing. The cover is smooth and water resistant, and there is a little secret:

Blue notebook with a colourful fore-edge.
A decorated fore-edge!

I started it last September, and I did mention the notebook in my update back then. I thought I was going to finish soon, but life happens. I managed to meet my goal of reaching the middle of the notebook in October, but I didn’t even post an October update. I started writing again in March, so I’ve finished the other half of the notebook since then. It’s a welcome change.

Anyway, about what I wrote in it… Remember I said I wanted to focus on one or two of my unfinished stories and finish them? Well, I did remember, but I didn’t do it anyway. I started working on them, but then I had some interesting ideas for a different one, so I had to write those down. As a result, this notebook is again a representation of my inner chaos and I haven’t finished anything at all.

Still, I’m glad I’m writing and having ideas again, so I’m not really complaining. It’s hard to come up with words these days, so I feel fortunate for this tiny, flimsy light in the middle of the dark.

Eighth Notebook

Cover of the Embellished Manuscripts notebook with a draft by Chopin and his signature.

The Embellished Manuscript collection is back! This one has the music sheet of one of Chopin’s Polonaises on the cover. Beautiful, right? I’m in love with this notebook. Chopin means a lot to me because I’ve studied piano in the past. I’ve probably told you I touched a piece of music handwritten by Chopin once, right? It was in one of the Writing Workshops I attended as a teenager. A historian brought one from her private collection and I was shocked when she let me hold it in my hands. You may laugh, but in that moment I thought that no one had trusted me with something so important before. I still feel humbled and honoured whenever I think about it.

Ahem, well, let’s get to the most important part in a notebook: what’s inside.

Of course, there’s always a lot of ideas and worldbuilding for the long fantasy story, so no need to keep telling you that. What I find interesting is there’s always something I’d forgotten I’d written. In my previous notebook, the new stories I found weren’t worth your time, but in this one I saw a couple I haven’t dismissed completely yet.

One of them looked like fun, but I didn’t know where it was going. At first I thought it was related to a fantasy story I had, but I’m not sure now.

Then there was a long outline for a thing I restarted in a different notebook (my current notebook), so I haven’t transcribed that one yet. I feel a bit like cheating because it took a quarter of the notebook, but I’m not going to write an outline 4 times.

I also found some notes I took during one of my research trips and a couple of weird dreams I’d forgotten about, so it was quite fun.

Seventh Notebook

A dark green notebook with the Google logo.

This small notebook was a present from a friend who lives in Ireland.

As mentioned in my previous notebook post, it contains some drafts for my blog in Spanish. Since I had already posted those, transcribing the notebook didn’t take as long as it could have. I was aiming to finish by the end of June, but you can see I’ve finished much earlier.

In this notebook there were some unexpected snippets. For instance, I had no memory of writing an outline for a gay retelling of Pride & Prejudice. And I’m always doubting and second-guessing myself, but for the first time I’ve felt 100% sure about something: I don’t think it’s worth writing. The main conflict was Darcy not accepting his sexuality, and… nope, I don’t want to do that. But because one may be able to use parts and pieces of unusable writing for something else in the future, I’ve transcribed all of it.

I had also written down a couple of dreams I’d forgotten all about. It was interesting, because they came back to my mind as I was transcribing what I’d written down so long ago. Reminded me of a dream diary I used to keep when I was a teenage.

I also had some notes about my trip to England… which was ages ago, now I realize.

In any case, I had lots of scenes for stories I’ve already mentioned, and these three new stories that I’m not going to start with. I’m looking forward to the next notebook, which I used during 2017, because it must have some new ideas.

Sixth Notebook

Small notebook with an embellished cover that depicts the illustrated letter "The Song of Songs which is Solomon's" by Rudyard Kipling.

One of my small paperblanks from the embellished manuscripts collection. Among its pages I found maps, dead flowers, and lots of ideas for my long fantasy story (including some notes about linguistics).

A friend of mine helped me choose this notebook so I would want to focus more on my Thesis (Rudyard Kipling was mentioned in it). Judging by the amount of academic work I’ve found in this notebook… it only worked towards the end (but it did work!). Of course, given that I’m now writing for myself only, I can say that it’s a good thing I spent so much time plotting stories instead.

This is the third of my four 2016 notebooks, and I only discovered it came before the last one because here I chose the name of my blog in Spanish, while the next one had some blog posts already.

2016 must have been a fruitful year creativity-wise. This notebook is full of short snippets for a variety of projects I don’t even remember now. I’ve been trying to make sense of everything, but it’s impossible to know at this point whether I’m doing it the way I intended. Maybe it’s for the best, because now I can see errors and tropes I couldn’t have noticed at the time.

Fifth Notebook

 

I’m back with a new (old) transcribed notebook.

This was another of the bigger ones, so it took me much longer. Fortunately, there was stuff about a fanfic, book reviews and my thesis that I had already transcribed a year ago, so those saved me some time.

There was a lot of information about the new main characters of the fantasy story, and even an old first chapter written from a secondary character’s point of view. I was surprised to find that one at the beginning of the notebook, but apparently this is a very old notebook I bought in 2012 and recovered in 2016, so that must have been something I wrote back in 2012. It was only a few pages long, probably because I lost my confidence.

There were also notes for a trip I was planning with a friend. I wrote down the places in Japan I’d like to visit. I realized I still haven’t been to Tottori, Ise, Mount Fuji or Shirakawa. Maybe one day…

I also found more information about the stories located in Madrid, and this was when I started writing about the other fantasy story, the one with an MC trapped in someone else’s body. So that’s yet another one of the stories I mentioned in this post.

You know, I started writing that one because of a song I like. The lyrics made me think it must be based on some fantasy book, and when I couldn’t find the source, my partner told me I could write one myself. What started to be a sort of fanfic based on a song (weren’t those popular 15 years ago?) turned into something bigger that now has nothing to do with said song.

That’s how inspiration works, right?

 

Fourth notebook

notebook004

After the last notebook of 2015, I had a bit of trouble choosing which notebook to transcribe next. I found myself with 4 notebooks I’d filled in 2016… but I didn’t know the order. I already said I’m rather chaotic, but I didn’t want to make things worse by starting with the wrong one. In the end, I realized I had two notebooks I must have used at the same time… more or less.

One was big, so I must have used it at home, and the other one was small, so I must have taken it everywhere. I probably finished the smaller one before, at least, so I decided to start with it.

You may have noticed this notebook and the previous one have the same format, but I already said they’re my favourite ones, so you should just know that I bought this one after reading “A Seditious Affair” by KJ Charles. I couldn’t not buy a notebook inspired by William Blake’s poems after reading that wonderful book.

This notebook had many snippets that never became a story and a lot of information for a fanfic I never wrote. Other than that, I continued working on rewriting my old fantasy story, now with new main characters. I also started to collect names for all the characters and places. And there’s even a story a cab driver told me, about one of his ancestors who’d been a bandit in Southern Spain.

Spoiler alert: I was surprised to find out that it was in January 2016 when I decided that two of the characters in the fantasy romance would know each other, but only one of them would remember having met before. I thought that had been much later and now I wonder where that came from. Anyway, that made a lot of sense and it became an important plot point.

Third Notebook

notebook003

 

Another notebook that’s now part of the digital world! This one I bought after my trip to Switzerland, where I’d visited an art exhibition and seen Monet’s Water Lilies. As you can see, the cover of the notebook mixes one of Monet’s manuscripts with a background based on the Water Lilies, while the magnetic clasp displays Monet’s signature.

The small notebooks by paperblanks are my favourite because they’re beautiful, solid, and the most durable I’ve found so far. They’re not heavy, either. I prefer the ones from the Embellished Manuscripts collection, like this one. Not only because I love seeing manuscripts of artists I like, but also because the magnetic clasp is very useful, saving the pages from (very) possible encounters with spilled liquids and sharp objects found inside a bag.

Anyway, there were lots of ideas for different stories in this one, including a few ones set in the city where I was born: Madrid. I think I have mentioned them in my previous post.

The fantasy story I was rewriting also appears in several pages, and it looks like I changed the names of the main characters along the way. I didn’t even remember they had placeholder names before!

I also wrote down some weird dreams I’d had and more tips for amateur writers I found around the internet. Maybe I could share some links in the future if anyone is interested.

By the way, this is the last notebook I filled in 2015. I wonder what I’ll find in my next notebook…