One year, for Christmas, I received the ideas become things notebook. It was a great gift, and I’ve made good use of it.

a pile of multicolored notebooks with images of the ideas become things notebook and the Ex Libris short story collection super imposed on top with the text "How I Used My Ideas Become Things Notebook"

With such a momentous message on the cover, it’s easy to see why some people would be intimidated to use it. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d share what’s in my ideas become things notebook and how you could use yours if you don’t know where to start.

What’s in My Ideas Become Things Notebook?

My ideas become things notebook sits on a little shelf near the ground behind my desk. Some of the ideas have already become things. But when I’m ready to tackle the rest, it will definitely be sitting on my desk. Here’s how I’ve used the notebook so far.

Outlines for Ex Libris

Back in 2020, I started writing a short story collection. I worked on it during April’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and I thought it would just be a fun little side project while I worked on a novel.

See, the novel I was working on was all-consuming, and it was the first new project I’d touched in a while, having rewritten the same idea for a novel since I was 21 for about 13 years.

It was hard to leave that old story behind. It had so much potential, and there are things from it that I still think about using in a story. But it just wasn’t a story I could write anymore, and it was never going to live up to what I wanted. It’s hard to put down a story, but it’s even harder to write something that you’ve carried through many iterations of yourself.

I was no longer the same writer I was at 21, so I started a supernatural story that I thought would be a lot of fun to work on.

It wasn’t. I finished the first draft of the novel that April, and I have since taken one element of that story and put it in a notebook, trashing the rest.

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But the short stories I was working on alongside the novel? Those are now a published collection, Ex Libris.

Outlines for other short stories

I used the first section of that notebook to outline Ex Libris, and then proceeded to outline a short story collection in every section.

See, the ideas become things notebook has little section dividers with a quote on the page. It’s kind of cheesy, but it’s a good way to divide up a notebook since it allowed me to outline short story collections in every single section with the perfect amount of pages.

At the time, I had some ideas that needed to be put on paper. And I thought I might enjoy consistently writing short stories.

That’s still possible. But after publishing Ex Libris, The Reunion, and A Series of Unfortunate Meet Cutes, all while freelancing, I realized how burnt out I was, and I needed some time to chill.

So, those outlines sit there. Those were ideas that didn’t necessarily become things, regardless of what the notebook cover says.

That doesn’t mean that I can’t go back and write those stories. But it also doesn’t mean that I will.

One thing I’ve learned since the pandemic began is that I need more space to make up my mind than I thought I did.

Blank Space

It should be noted that there’s also a lot of blank space in this notebook. I wish I could say I used the ideas become things journal to fill every last square inch of blank space with great ideas that have since become creative successes.

But that didn’t happen. And that will never happen for anyone.

This has been a hard pill for me to swallow, but the creative brain doesn’t work like a factory. There aren’t workers creating products inside your head at all times. You can’t have an industrialized output. Maybe you have a season where that’s the case.

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But mostly, you need the time off to come up with ideas. You need the space to step back and take a look at the work you’re doing. Sometimes, you just have to stare out a window for a while until your brain resets.

I know that we all like the notion that we can sit down and create at a consistent pace, but that’s not real life.

For the most part, I’m in what I like to call a rebuilding year. I’m figuring out how much blank space I need, and enjoying when I have a few hours of maximum productivity.

I will never be the same person I was in 2018. I’m trying to be okay with that.

For where I am right now, I just need space to think and time alone, and then the words and creative energy start to flow.

How to Use Your Ideas Become Things Notebook

If you have an ideas become things journal sitting around and you aren’t sure how to use it, I have some ideas. As a feral notebook hoarder, I always have good notebook ideas.

001: Outline short stories.

You can easily use your notebook to outline some short stories. I mean, that’s what I did.

If you’re a writer and you want to have some space to play with fiction, short stories are where it’s at. You can publish them if you like what you have in the end, or you can keep them on a hard drive. (That’s where most fiction tends to live.)

002: Create a project plan.

I love using a notebook to plan a project. Whether I’m making an eCourse, a story world, or just trying to plan out my year, a notebook is a great way to lay out all the information I have, and then categorize it accordingly.

Plus, this notebook already has sections, so it’s great for organizing different concepts in one place.

003: Do some vision journaling.

I love to do some vision journaling. Grab your ideas become things notebook and journal through your ideal vision for your career, or your home, or your relationship.

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You could easily use the different sections in the notebook for the different areas of your life. All you need to do is put on some music and let the pen glide across the page as you journal through your vision.

004: Write your best case scenarios.

I’m a worrier on a good day. So sometimes I need to remind myself that the world isn’t ending and the sun will always rise and set as it always has.

To help underscore this idea, I like to write best case scenarios. I spend a lot of time worrying that everything is going to fail, so sometimes I journal through what would happen if everything went right.

This always feels good and everyone should do it.

005: Make a writer’s notebook.

It’s no secret that I have a lot to say on writer’s notebooks. And the ideas become things notebook would be a great writer’s notebook since it has a typewriter on the cover.

If you’d like to make yourself a writer’s notebook, here are a few posts on the finer points of writer’s notebookery:

How Do You Use Your Ideas Become Things Notebook?

How have you put your notebook to good use? Do you know how much blank space you need in your notebooks and in your life? Have you ever looked back at old notebooks to see if you’ve made good on the ideas you’ve had?

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