Deeper Thinking About Notebook Work

This week I had the opportunity to interview author John Claude Bemis. This is is latest book:

The Prince Who Fell from the Sky by John Claude Bemis

I asked him about notebook work and his response led me to a deeper understanding of the importance of notebook work. John said:

I jot ideas down in the notebook, not because I’m worried I’ll forget them, but because there’s something about translating thoughts into writing that helps me deepen and develop my ideas.

It’s one of those things that I knew in my heart, but these simple words resonated in me, made me understand to the core the importance of notebook work. I think sometimes, in writing workshop, notebook work is reduced to a trite assignment. It can turn into a cute sketch or a catchy list. However, when I’m engaged in meaningful notebook work, it does exactly what John describes — it “translates my thoughts into writing that helps me deepen and develop my ideas.”

Over the next few days I’m going to pay particular attention to how my notebook work deepens and develops my ideas. As I reflect on this, I will strengthen my ability to teach students how to ensure their own notebook work is powerful and meaningful. Want to join me? Crack open your notebook and pay attention to your own process.

If you want a little more inspiration, check out more of the conversation with John, as well as a {Discover. Play. Build.} Challenge on Ruth Ayres Writes.

John Claude BemisJohn Claude Bemis is the author of The Clockwork Dark, a fantasy adventure trilogy that takes place in a mythical America. The first book, The Nine Pound Hammer (Random House), was described as “a steampunk collision of heroes, mermaids, pirates, and good old-fashioned Americana” by Booklist and was a New York Public Library Best Children’s Book 2009 for Reading and Sharing.  The trilogy continues with The Wolf Tree and The White City and has been described as “original and fresh” and “a unique way of creating fantasy.”  His new book The Prince Who Fell from the Sky was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month for May 2012.   John lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with his wife and daughter.