Keeping a notebook

for Writer's Workshop



 Buy a small notebook to carry around.

  •  Writer's Notebook is a tool that authors use to help them organize their ideas and record their experimentation with writing. It is a safe place to practice and experiment with language. Authors use this place to write their favorite sayings and to simply write everything that occurs to them! And guess what? Doodles and drawings are also used by authors in their notebook. Some authors draw a map of the setting they want to create.
  •  You will keep this notebook with you at all times. Always carry around and make sure it comes to class with you.  When an idea  or see something interesting  jot it down, Keep a pen attached to it.
  •  Examples of things to record: You could keep a record of observations you made as you sat in the mall or any quirky things you noticed about people; you could record your thoughts and feelings of a peaceful hike. Don't forget the ordinary either, like watching a bird in a tree as you eat breakfast. Ask yourself what mischief could that bird get into? How about a favorite show? What was the unusual twist the author had in the plot? There are many observations and thoughts we have every day. Some of them are really unique! Write them down and save them for another day. Perhaps they'll become a story or poem. You will be assessed on your number and types of entries. 
  • You may want to cut out and stick in interesting bits from newspapers and magazines, write down snippets of conversation you've heard while at the store shopping with your family- basically anything goes in the notebook. All these things can be a prompt for future writing. You can use some of them to add interest and authentic ideas for your writing territories.
  • Many authors use their writer's notebook to record their life. This helps them develop their voice.  They observe everything around them. This helps an author see the world in a certain way, and they tend to put their own personality into their observations.
  • Sometimes it is helpful to record the date of each entry.

    In time, you will build up a treasury of ideas and experiences to use later. Like professional writers, you can pick things out, change them around, adapt them and mix them up to use in your writing.



A lot of these ideas came from a workshop I attended this summer ['05] at King's Edgehill in Windsor, N.S. Ralph Fletcher was a valuable teacher and I appreciated his knowledge. Ralph is a wonderful author who truly cares about young writers. He gives workshops all over the world on the skills a writer needs.        He is Inspirational!  "I have a special passion for nurturing young writers." Ralph Fletcher 


Expectations for Notebook Keeping

  • The more you write, the more comfortable you are and the more natural your writing becomes. You are required to keep a writer’s notebook during Writer's Workshop, but you may want to continue keeping notes throughout the year. I will give consider this as part of my assessment for your final. Below find details regarding the assignment.


    • You are to write at least three entries per week in this notebook
    • Some entries will be a sentence some will be a page- whatever strikes your fancy. Some will be doodles or drawings. Some bits of newspaper clipping, etc.
    • Date all entries with numbers like 09/13/10 [September 13, 2010]This shows me you are really getting the idea of the notebook's intent.
    • Your notebook should be on your person throughout this whole workshop. It is a place where you keep mementoes of your life both written and physical. It is a safe place to experiment with language. It is a place where you breathe your world. Make notes of the world around you. Here are some suggestions.

    A few more ideas to write in your notebook?


  • Something that happens to you during the day, at night, on the weekend..
  • Something you overheard on the bus, at home, in church, etc.
  • Write down what makes you happy, sad, frustrated, angry etc.
  • At least one entry per week needs to be in response to something you read at home.
  • Put down your deepest thoughts and feelings about any topic of interest.


I am looking for substance and experimentation. Let your writing run wild!! View the rubric here.