Nothing feels like writing as much as running a pen with some heft and smooth flowing ink over a well-toothed paper in a book that smells a little old world. I am a keeper of notebooks. I've got loads of them - some fancy for nobler thoughts and outstanding quotes from other sources, some small enough to keep in my pocket, and a handful of those traditional spiral-bound 8x11" pads with glossy pictures of pop stars or Star Wars characters emblazoned across the front.
When I was attending Brown a couple of years ago (a Return to Undergrad program) I started carrying smaller books that were easy to transport in my day-bag and easy to leaf thru during my bus-rides to and from campus to prepare for class or review before a test. They were small enough to stow in a pocket, and didn't take up a lot of room on cafeteria counter tops. I learned a lot about economy of note taking by keeping a smaller book.
Some courses (especially the cog-sci classes I was taking) required more notes than others. For these classes I got into the habit of transferring the most important material and formulas to a smaller notebook that would eventually become my bus-ride-study-journal as exams approached.
As a playwright I grab small notebooks as I head out the door almost everywhere I go. I can never tell when I'll need to write something down - an idea, a scrap of dialogue, a description, an important e-mail, a name...
Notebook carrying is an important habit to nurture. Of course, now a phone can house your notes too, or an ipad. Anyway it works for you, make note-taking a habit.
A couple weeks ago I pulled out a notebook that I filled a half decade ago, just before my 3-year excursion returning to college. Without this record I never would have realized how much I had going on before I left for school. At the time I had no idea how much I was doing, or how some of the thoughts that I had jotted down all those years ago had grown into much larger ideas, or how the plays I had only imagined had been written, or how I had really gone back to school and earned a degree.
I rewrote some of those old notes into my new fancy book. Now they are revived, all thanks to scratching ink on some pages. Writing by hand. It's an exercise that feels great. And it turns out that sometimes some remarkable things fall out of the end of a pen.