The Writer’s Notebook
The writer’s notebook will be an essential tool for you as a writer. When used effectively, the
writer’s notebook will support you throughout the writing process.
Think of your writer’s notebook as a life net. It is a place for you to collect thoughts, ideas, and
experiences in your life. Great and tragic things need not be the only types of experiences you
record – the lightest thoughts can sometimes be the most weighty. Your writer’s notebook will
help you take some of these ‘seed’ ideas and craft them into polished pieces of writing.
Remember, diamonds look like ordinary rocks before they are cut – but with hard work and care
they become the precious stones we admire.
You are expected to write in your writer’s notebook every day – in and out of class. Keep your
journal with you at all times so that you have it when you want to write in it.
Some other points to consider
I recommend you use a spiral bound notebook. There will be times when you do not
have your notebook and you may want to record a thought. You will find yourself
jotting ideas down on napkins, shopping receipts, or an old test. It’s good to have a
place, like a shoebox or a clip attached to your notebook, to put loose material.
The notebook is NOT a diary. Diaries are a type of memoir writing where you record
your life as it unfolds. The writer’s notebook is for you to collect material that you may
write about later.
I will collect your writer’s notebook randomly. I will not give you any advanced notice.
Always keep it with you.
I will read your writer’ notebook thoughtfully. If you do not want me to read an entry,
fold the page. When I see a folded page, I will skip over it.
Your notebook will be graded according to the rubric below.
See the other side of this sheet for the Writer’s Notebook rubric.
eading & The Writer’s Notebook
In reviewing you writer’s notebook, your teacher will look for the following kinds of entries:
1. Seed Idea Entries - Your WN should have many entries where you gather ideas for possible topics of
writing. These are called seed ideas. These entries should be heavier at the beginning of your WN.
2. Making Meaning Entries – Once you have collected a variety of seed ideas, you should pick one seed idea
and write multiple entries to find out what is meaningful about the topic.
3. Writing Process – Overtime your entries should go back and forth between entries that gather ideas, entries
that develop a specific idea, and entries that begin to draft early stages of writing.
Distinguished Advanced Meets Not Yet
A writer’s notebook
At least half of the
that does not meet
entries in a writer’s
expectations is written
A distinguished An advanced writer’s notebook that meets
like a diary or journal.
writer’s notebook notebook is one where expectations can be
You record things that
is one where all most entries can be used as models for
happen in your life but
entries can be used as a model for other writers. Such
very few entries
used as models for other writers. notebooks go beyond
attempt to understand
other writers. typical journal/diary
why any of these
events are meaningful.
Develops and uses
Uses a wide range of
own creative Uses various Limited use of
creative strategies to
strategies to strategies to collect strategies to collect
collect and gather
collect and gather and gather seed ideas. and gather seed ideas.
Making Meaning of
Entries go beyond The writer’s notebook Most entries focus on
exploration to offer contains a balance of gathering seed ideas.
explore the meaning
discoveries of entries that 1) gather Very few entries
and importance of
meaning and new ideas and 2) those that attempt to develop the
knowledge. develop them. meaning of seed ideas.
Awareness of how your Entries show little
Evidence of the Writing
writing process works awareness of how the
– particularly in the writing process works
constant use of Clear understanding of
stages of gathering – particularly in the
your writing how your writing
and pre-writing. In stages of gathering
process works process works –
other words, you can and pre-writing. It is
through the stages particularly in the
trace the development difficult to trace the
of gathering, pre- stages of gathering
of multiple seed ideas development of
writing and and pre-writing.
from seed stage to the multiple seed ideas
beginnings of an early from seed stage early
draft. draft stages.
Revised - August 27, 2011