What goes on in a writer’s mind?

It’s well known that for many writers a Moleskine notebook is an essential tool for capturing ideas and thoughts, which may go on to become novels, articles and important texts. Most readers don’t get to see this part of the writing process; often only privy to the published ending. But as this first stage of creativity is the most important, we unearthed a few notebooks from our Detour archive to share with you. Read the descriptions below and watch the videos to see just how precious handwritten words can be.
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Han Han
Chinese writer and blogger Han Han might have had several works censored by Chinese authorities, but his unique way of thinking has made him one of the most-read writers in modern China. And as a rally champion, it’s obviously not just his mind that’s racing. His Moleskine notebook is full of detailed notes, joined together by arrows and lines, showing just how intricate his thought process is.

MC Yan
Sometimes writing travels off the page and turns into music. Urban poet MC Yan counts both modern hip hop beats and traditional Chinese poetry amongst his influences. His Moleskine notebook has always been his on-the-go “thinking tool”, faithfully storing the ideas that come to him when he’s walking the streets. Having experienced life in both China and the west, Syan writes both horizontally from left to right, or vertically from right to left, when writing in Chinese characters.

For his contribution to Detour, MC Yan explores the interaction between the notebook and its filmed form, playing with the way a thought is written and could be read, and the order and disorder its pages convey.

Javier Marías Franco
Spanish writer and translator Javier Marías Franco filled a Japanese Album with notes and texts which, when fully opened out, gives the effect of a long scroll punctuated with word after word of prose.

Dave Eggers
It would be wrong to label Pulitzer prize finalist Dave Eggers just as a writer; he is also a philanthropist, lecturer and publisher and has been branded an “education activist” by TED. His notebook is filled with line drawings accompanied by short captions; snippets of thoughts and little observations jotted down day by day.