The glimmers of beginnings: on keeping a notebook

Writers are the great close observers of everything that happens in our world. The quality of the light filtering through the window in winter; the glint of the moon on snow; the sound the wind makes in empty branches; the adhesive sound of tires on wet pavement. All these observations are small images that can become pieces of a story.

Canadian author Lisa Moore calls these tiny observations “glimmers of a beginning.”

“The strongest fiction, for me as a reader, is that which allows me to create it in my head and, as a writer, I like to give the reader as much control as possible — I think that’s where the real pleasure lies.” Moore’s trust of the abstract is often where she finds the seeds of story ideas. “The glimmer of a beginning: the facial expression of someone in a café or the way light hits a landscape, it can be enough to get me started.”

These “glimmers of a beginning” surround us in our daily life, but how can we keep track of them? It’s time to get out your trusty digital or good old-fashioned notebook.

Keep an analog or digital notebook

These days, most people don’t go very far without a smartphone. If you’ve got a smartphone, we highly recommend Simperium’s Simplenote, an awesome little clutter-free app for Mac, iOS, Android, and Kindle designed to take notes wherever you are.

If you’ve been successful resisting the smartphone crowd up until this point, carry a small notebook and pen around with you.

Take time out of your day to try and observe your surroundings and make a point of documenting three “glimmers of a beginning,” from different points in your day. By making a habit of close observation, you’ll soon have a collection of story starters at your disposal that you can mine when inspiration has run off to Saskatchewan with your muse, allowing you to keep writer’s block at bay.

About Krista Stevens

I'm a runner, reader, writer, and editor.
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