NaNoWriMo is just around a couple of corners, which means Preptober is just around the corner, which means it’s Plantember, the month where we plan what we’ll prep. So I thought it was a good time to talk about setting up a writer’s notebook.

a pile of notebooks by a Macbook with the text "Preptober Must: Setting Up a Writer's Notebook"

NaNoWriMo is always a flash in the pan to me. November is a busy month, and even though I no longer have papers to grade and finals to give, it’s still too much. That’s why Preptober is great. Taking a month to prepare to write like a fiend is a good idea.

But sometimes, you have to plan a bit more. Hence, Plantember.

Do I think this phrase will catch on? Absolutely not.

Will I continue to use it? Yep.

Anyway, if you’re thinking of setting up a writer’s notebook for NaNoWriMo, or just for any sort of writing in general, I’ve got your back.

Before I share some resources, though, let’s get one thing straight. There’s no need for your notebook to be clean and perfect. In fact, it won’t be. You’re a feral word herder on your best day, so, like, scale back your expectations.

If you’re interested in a writer’s notebook pdf, I recommend taking a look on Pinterest. But be forewarned that most of the stuff you’ll find there is for younger students. I do give some options for already formatted notebooks you can buy later in the post, if that’s more your style.

And the last thing you need before you hit the ground running is your writer’s notebook cover. I recommend using this Penguin Classics cover generator, printing off your masterpiece, and pasting it on your notebook.

Setting Up a Writer’s Notebook

Now, get ready, gang. Setting up a writer’s notebook is one of my favorite tasks. I have a lot of opinions on it, and by the end of this post, you’re going to have a lot of opinions too.

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001: What Is a Writer’s Notebook?

If you’re new to the concept of writer’s notebooks, start here.

Basically, a writer’s notebook is simply a notebook that a writer uses. So, it can have anything. But this post gives some ideas of how you could use it, as well as why you may or may not need one.

If you’re new to the idea of putting some of your brain on paper, check out this post. You don’t have to use the notebook in a particularly Pinteresty way, but you can use it to keep yourself on track with your writing, or to simply get ideas out of your head.

002: So, What Is a Writer’s Journal?

Some people are planners, and some people are reflectors. If you prefer to reflect, then a writer’s journal is probably your thing.

If you like jotting down notes about how your day went, or how the writing process is going, this is a great way for you to do that. This is also a great way to get your brain on paper, and in many cases, a writer’s journal and a writer’s notebook can basically be the same thing. It’s all in how you use it.

003: How to Start a Writer’s Notebook

If you’re a writer, there’s a non-zero chance that you have heaps of notebooks that you have no idea what to do with. I mean, you should use them for writing, but for whatever reason, writer’s struggle with this.

So, if you have notebook starting analysis paralysis, this post has your back. One of the tips I give in this post is to not overthink it, and I can’t stress how important that is. But there’s some more tips in there, just to help you get started so you can hit the ground running with your notebook.

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004: Writer’s Notebook Ideas: Collections to Keep Your Novels on Track

The devil is in the details, and it’s best to keep those details organized. That’s why you may want to try to create some collections in your writer’s notebook.

This post is chock-full of ideas for things you could use your writer’s notebook for. If you’re super into bullet journaling, then you’ll like this post, and hopefully you’ll be able to see ways a notebook can help your process.

005: Tips for Organizing a Writer’s Notebook

My notebooks are fire hazards filled with Post-Its and dripping ink. That’s why I know about organization. It’s because I know what not to do.

So if you’re struggling to get your notebook together and want some quick and easy tips for organizing it, check out this post.

006: Writer’s Notebook Organization for Even the Most Scatterbrained Writer

Look. Writers can be space cadets. It’s not our fault that our career is built on our ability to daydream.

Even if you think you’re beyond saving, you aren’t. This post will help you think about what you really need from a notebook based on what writing stage you’re in.

007: The 90-Day Novel Planner

Sometimes you don’t want to format your own notebook. Sometimes you want a guide to take you down the path.

That’s what this novel planner is all about.

The 90-Day Novel Planner gives you space to think about your ideal reader, brainstorm titles, create vision boards for your story, get your settings clear in your mind, and outline your story. There’s also space to track your writing progress so you always know where you are in the process.

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Sure, NaNoWriMo is only one month, but if you know you’re going to be taking a bit longer, or you just want the structured outline pages, this is a great planner for any writer.

008: The Pocket Word Count Tracker

I love tracking word count, and I know I’m not the only writer that feels that way.

I designed this word count tracker to help you track your writing sprints for a full year. You can total your daily sprints on the monthly pages, and then tally your monthly totals. There are also pages to help you track any 10,000 word days you attempt.

And the best part? This is a small thing. It easily fits in the pocket of your backpack.

009: Hey Writers! Throw Away Your Old Notebooks.

If you’re like me, you have a whole box of notebooks stashed in a cupboard. Sometimes, there are way too many of them. And sometimes. you need to get rid of them.

This is a post to encourage you to throw out your old notebooks if you need it. Just go for it. Then, you don’t have to worry about who will be going through them if you die suddenly.

(Morbid, I know. But like, I worry about this shit.)

Do You Keep a Writer’s Notebook?

Do you use a notebook to keep yourself on track? Are you going to be setting up a writer’s notebook for NaNoWriMo? Be real…how many Penguin Classics covers have you made?

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