November 25, 2016 @ 3:59 AM

It's the digital age – why bother with a notebook...?

It's true that the computer age has changed – probably forever – the way many writers go about our business. The iPad has quite transformed my working life.

But for all that, I still keep a little red-and-black notebook with me, to jot down any stray ideas, observations, research notes, names, phone numbers and appointments that come along in the course of the day. Usually I have a separate notebook, or set of them, for every project, each book numbered and dated, and kept with the manuscript and file papers. Very useful when checking back at the rewrite stage ... and even more so when revising proofs.

Those scribbled ideas will often clarify, with the sharpness of first inspiration, a train of thought that's somehow become muddied as I tried to put it into a more 'literary' form. Sometimes the idea has become lost altogether ... forgotten along the way ... but can throw a whole new perspective on the work when it's rediscovered leafing through the notebook at a later time. So that's what I meant!

My little red-and-black notebooks are only very cheap to buy ... but boy! do I find them invaluable. Photos show the notebooks I used – and a notepad travel diary, later transcribed on the iPad – when writing For Love of Country.