Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Things That I Will Probably Never Get Round to Doing #3: Back of Envelope Notebook

As a writer (a statement which, eight years on, still feels weird to make) I have a lot of notebooks. People often buy them for me, perhaps in the same way that if all I know about a cousin-in-law is that he likes motorbikes, then he is guaranteed to always get motorbike-related things up to the value of £10 for Christmas. Also I once even bought a notebook for myself, so I've probably got six or seven now.

But despite owning all these notebooks, I don't use them to write down every half-formed idea that I have, because I often don't think that the poor half-formed idea is good enough for the pristine white pages. This is pretty silly, as lots of seemingly rubbish half-formed ideas I've had have gone on to become a bit less rubbish when fully-formed. Of course, many more have turned out to be a lot more rubbish, but it's hard to tell at the initial stage. The best strategy is surely to keep the creative floodgates as open as possible, and quality control can easily come later - like John West's salmon, it's the ones you throw away that make the ones you keep the best. (Note to self: check I'm not mixing him up with Fred West.)

Who knows what gems my subconscious has come up with that I have rejected because I don't think they're good enough to be recorded in a notebook which only I will ever read? It's not like I'm trying to save paper as I already have enough notebooks to keep me going for several more years even if I write down every single thought that I ever have (note to cousins-in-law: I also like Lindt Chilli Chocolate, Leffe Blonde beer and Viz). I am, however, happy enough to jot things down on backs of envelopes, which then inevitably get lost or thrown away, so I may as well not have written them down at all.

I reckon I'm not the only person who thinks like this, so my idea is to make and sell notebooks where all the pages are pre-printed to look like the backs of envelopes. That way I'd be more likely to jot down more half-formed ideas and hopefully keep this rather odd career going for another eight years. To corner the green market, the pages could actually just be old envelopes bound together - a great business opportunity as the raw materials are delivered straight to my door every day. The business is even scalable - every time I got a big new order from Ryman I would just need to tick a few more "Please send me offers from carefully selected third parties" boxes.

But I'm a bit busy.