NaNoWriMo: Offline Tools – Notebooks

Hey writers!  National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, rolls around November 1.  Around here though, we start prepping a little early, beginning with local How-To-Write, Brainstorming, and Worldbuilding workshops in October.

For the first-time WriMos among you, I wanted to provide some guides to lead up to that–in case you’re like us, and have a local group kicking things off early.  So for September, in lieu of a serial (and while I’m hunkered down finishing a draft before NaNo arrives and things get even SHINIER), I’ll be running this bite-sized supply series to help you first-timers prep…as well as offer suggestions for improving previous NaNo winners’ existing toolkits so this year is the best yet!!




For jotting down character names, random conversations overheard in passing, plot pieces, outlines, to do lists–the uses are endless but the point is this: A pocket notebook can go with you anywhere, be pulled out at (almost) any time, and capture a thought before it escapes from your brain.

Never underestimate the power of tricking your muse into playing a game with your writing!

moleskine photo

Moleskine by >



This is my writing bread and butter. I keep at least one physical notebook per major project. (I used to keep several 5 subject notebooks – but those were the days before OneNote and Scrivener.) The notebook is used for outlining, brainstorming, days when I want to write slower to work through what I need to say, character sheets, backstory exploration. And the pockets are perfect for tucking pictures and scrap paper.

For large projects such as anything happening in my StarStones universe, I keep multiple notebooks just for worldbuilding.

spiral notebook photo

Notebooks and Green Pen by Leslie Richards



These notebooks are filled to the brim with all the junk that ties one down first thing in the morning, getting it out of the way so the creativity can be present. Mine have developed from 3 hand-written journal pages to 3 pages of freewriting off of prompts, in worlds that haven’t yet decided they want full-length stories, or just something shiny my muse wants a taste of, so it won’t distract me later when we’re working on current projects.  Basically: morning pages are now less about catharsis and more about playtime, and it’s awesome.  I highly recommend getting a notebook just for off-project scribbling.

(For more information about the original incarnation of Morning Pages, please see!)


What are you hand-writing in this year?

About Cera Daniels

My muse has found a home in paranormal, steampunk, and science fiction romance, and that's where we spend the wee hours of morning and the moonlit hours of evening. I've collected a delicious harem of menfolk for my tales (So many vigilantes, superheros, rogues, assassins, and sky pirates...*drools*), along with some seriously feisty ladies ready to shake up their worlds. I hope you're ready to see them unleashed!