The SCRIB… How Scribbling Every Morning Helps Every Thing

Halloo Hallay oh glorious day.
I’m finally getting around to beginning to answer some things in the brand new… ASK PAM thing-a-ma-bob.

I’ve been hearing from some of you via the contact page.
Thanks for writing by the way. It’s always great to hear from folks.
And I’ve been replying via email, but there are a few questions that have repeated and so… TA DA…. a brand new category where I will post about some common topics, or answer questions about my work, or how I work or what I think of the price of dog treats in Kalamazoo, or… whatevs.

Hey Abbey, Cyn and Drew….
This one’s for you.

The question(s) were:Pam Bustin 2008

  • What is the SCRIB/ the Morning SCRIBBLE that you keep mentioning?
  • Do you do it every morning?
  • Do you write it by hand or on the computer? Why?
  • How long have you been doing it?
  • What kind of stuff do you write about?
  • How long do you write?
  • How does it help you with your work as a writer?

The answers are… mostly simple.

What is the Scrib?

The SCRIB is indeed my “morning scribble”.
I get up.
Stoke the fire.
Make coffee.
And take a steaming cup back to my bunky studio — where I scribble in a big blank book for about an hour.

Every day?

Yes. I do it every day.

OK, ALMOST every day.

I can be side-tracked by early appointments, or an early shift at a job, or being in a strange place, or…. well… let us admit that I CAN be distracted from the morning scribble but I have come to the firm belief that such distraction always leads to a cranky/cloudy/discombobulated Pam and she is no good for anything and so… most days, I do the damned scribble come heck or high water.

Hand written?

Yes. I do it by hand in a big blank journal – comme ça.

my current scribblebook
My current SCRIBble Book

I used to use a variety of books but I’ve settled on these journals. I like the big size and the blank pages. No lines for me, in case I want to doodle. Also – my handwriting changes size and shape depending on my mood and I like the freedom these journals provide.

I used to carry these big books around with me, but now I carry a smaller “writer notebook” and keep the big journals for morning scribbles and any hand written drafts of current work.

Why hand written?

I could just be old school… but I truly believe that I write differently when I write by hand than I do when I type.

I used to write ALL my first drafts by hand. Totally by hand.

Now I work more on the computer. But I still do a lot of writing by hand. Especially if I get… stuck… on something. If I need a character to break out and tell me/show me something, I let them loose in the Scrib. They feel … freer in there than they do in the pages of the manuscript.

I don’t know why this is. I just know that’s how it feels for me.

How long have you been doing this?

I’ve been doing the Scrib for… at least 20 years.

How long do you scribble?

These days I go for about an hour.

I’ve done it by page length – 3 pages is good (like Julia Cameron recommends for her MORNING PAGES in The Artist’s Way).
I’ve also done it by TIME – 1/2 hr is long enough, but I like an hour.

WHAT do you write?

Anything and everything – which I know doesn’t sound helpful, but it’s true.

I suppose, if one was to read the Scrib, one would see… the inside of my brain. My current/passing obsessions. Bits of work from whatever writing project I’m working on. Stabs at atrocious poetry that no other eyes than mine shall ever see. Whining. Whimpering. Ranting. All that good and necessary stuff.

It isn’t really a diary… I don’t necessarily talk about the day to day. But I might do just that.

The Scrib is… simply that – my scribblings… whatever comes up.

If it starts to become a “to do” list, I stop myself. Sometimes I have to have another scratchpad beside me to list the to dos on so they won’t overtake the Scrib. That isn’t REALLY what it is for.


What is it for? Do you do WORK in the Scrib?

And YES – I do keep the seemingly meaningless Scribble and bits of current work in the same book.

I used to have separate notebooks for every thing. Now it all goes in the same place and then I put the “work-work” into Tippy the Typer. that’s where it all gets separated into different files.

and this could be VERY important for folks starting to do a morning scribble….

I am coming to believe that I must protect the Scrib from mySELF – from my rampant need to be “productive” And from the idea that the only writing that COUNTS is the stuff that goes out into the world. That is just so much BullDoody.

The Scrib is integral to my sanity… and it is also integral to my…process. Oh that word makes me blush. i’m not sure why. Sounds so artyfarty hippyDip. My artistic process. My practice. YOIP!

Well I do have a practice. So there.
We all do.
It isn’t arty farty it is simply… what works for us. The way we work.

That isn’t embarrassing at all.

The Scrib helps me live my life and do my work.
It isn’t just another place to WORK. It needs to stay all loosy-goosy. I need to be able to bemoan my hideous hair or wax whiny or … soar. The Scrib holds all of that. That’s the secret formula. That’s the charm.

It is a rather magical tool — for me at least.
It is a practice ground.
A rough draft.
A sorting place.
A weeping wall.
The place where I unsnarl things.
Or snarl things up.
Or play amongst the cobwebs.

And finding the Scrib and dedicating time to it everyday was my first step towards truly growing as a writer.

It’s a discipline.
It’s a solace.
It is me, alone with my self.

I hope you have a place like that.

Stay warm, friends.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks again to Abbey, Cyn and Drew for your questions. Good luck with your own scribbles!

Go easy -p

12 Comments on “The SCRIB… How Scribbling Every Morning Helps Every Thing

  1. I have been doing for my freewriting for about a month now. As I am highly motivated by prizes, and they have web badges, It works for me. Big time.

    • Hey Melinda
      Thanks for stopping by. Verrrrry cool that you are doing the 750 words a day.

      I popped over to your blog and it looks like you’ve been going strong since NaNoWriMo – that’s awesome.

      I do my Scribble each morning and then I do my Writing Hours – they are more… focused time. Where I work on my Novel in Progress.

      Thanks so much for your comment. I enjoy hearing what motivates others to get the words on the page.

      I’ll pop over and check out the site you mention.

      go easy -p

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Finding My Bearings Now

A post-dramatic approach to breast cancer

Starting Over

Because there's never enough time to do it right the first time but there's always enough time to do it over

Ailish Sinclair

Stories and photos from Scotland

Cathy Standiford

Historical fiction, poetry, essays

Finding My Bearings Now

A post-dramatic approach to breast cancer

Starting Over

Because there's never enough time to do it right the first time but there's always enough time to do it over

Ailish Sinclair

Stories and photos from Scotland

Cathy Standiford

Historical fiction, poetry, essays

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