I started my writing journey typing away at the big old computer or the family laptop. I used notebooks when I could not access either of those instruments, or when my computer privileges were revoked because I spent too much time writing on there. Sadly, in the early days, my notebooks were filled with a catalogue of girl names I could use for characters and scribbles and ideas that all died early deaths. I wish I could say that the bulk of my stories started on paper but they didn't. I have always done better writing on a laptop. Notebooks were what I used when I did not have access to my electronic documents. I also did not enjoy typing up what I had written by hand into my Word document. It took too long. Instead, I mostly devoted my notebooks as a place to jot down scene ideas and casts of characters. I never did actual manuscript writing in them.
In recent years, however, the notebook has started to play a more important role in my writing process. I have difficulty outlining on the computer so I do it by longhand in my notebooks. I have also started to transcribe my short stories into my notebooks when I hit a rough spot and work it out in there. I free write my brainstorming sessions in my notebooks. I am finally utilizing them in a more productive manner.
My notebook collection largely consists of the Back to School Sale stock up variety. My family keeps a large stash of those handy for school and other purposes and they are both affordable and practical. I did splurge a few years ago and bought the "Ideas Grow Here" notebook from Target. It holds notes on short stories, session notes from conferences, and some scribbles for Chatterbox. The purple one has held my outlining notes, short story scribbles, and even some blog stuff for the past year, while the black is a new one I pulled out during Camp NaNoWriMo. I also have a brown moleskin type notebook that a friend gave me for Christmas and that I keep in my purse for spurts of inspiration when I am out and about town.
How do you use notebooks in your writing process?