Last week we talked about a couple of ways in which you can capture your ideas as quickly as your highly developed imaginative minds can churn them out. Now we are going to talk about different methods of corralling those unruly puppies in your home office. Each of these systems will help you track both general writing ideas and specific works in progress.
1. The Notebook System
This system is perhaps the simplest way of keeping track of your ideas. All you need for this system are stacks of notebooks, a marker pen and empty space on your bookshelf. This was my system years ago before I got my first computer.
All I did was label each notebook with the aspect of writing that it concentrated on. For example, one notebook could be labeled “Characters”, another “Plots” and so on and so forth. Then it became a matter of transferring the notes from their temporary home in my pocket to their permanent home in the office.
One disadvantage of this system is that when I wanted to find something I had to flip through pages and pages of written text which, inevitably, took forever because I would get distracted from what I was looking for by thoughts of all that I could with the other ideas I was flipping past. Therefore if you have a computer, as I and most people do, I recommend the electronic version of this system.
As a writer I often find inspiration in the most unlikely places and, more specifically, at the most inconvenient times. I love my muse but sometimes she can be a flake. She will spark my creativity when I’m standing in line at the supermarket, or at work trying not to go insane or driving in my car swerving to avoid little old ladies that appear out of no where. (Where’d you learn how to drive grandma? Sears?)
Hardly ever am I inspired in a place where I can actually sit down and explore the ideas that come to mind. So today we are going to talk about different methods of capturing lightening in a bottle while the storm is raging or, in layman’s terms, recording those ideas the moment the light bulb goes off.
There are many areas of a character’s life that you can exploit to torment them and I think that perhaps the most favorite of them (mine at least) is their place of employment. But there are jobs and then there are JOBS. Below is a list of unusual jobs that your character could have the (mis)fortune of being paid to do. One or two you may have to work at building a story around but most of these just invite a rich and humorous exploration.
So I’ve been trying to get a handle on all of this SEO business and making sure that my website is pretty enough (read optimized) to attract the major search engine robots. So far, only Google is showing me any sort of traffic love and I’m beginning to feel like even that is nothing more than a mercy flirt.
I finally got around to visiting all of the links I’ve saved in my bookmarks folder. I swear the list is a mile long. Really. Anyway, amongst the links to guaranteed time wasters (online video games), new design resources and tutorials, is this gem from the Positivity blog. Why Some People Almost Always are Successful is a must read for anyone attempting to pursue their dreams. I will certainly be adding this to the notable articles list in the sidebar.
Go read the article. Now!
Now I know you were expecting some hip music score to help you unwind this Monday evening but instead I’m going to do something a little different today. Yeah, I know. Why can’t just stick to doing one thing well? Have to always be jumping around trying this and that. Blame it on my ADD. Wait, I don’t have that…
Anyway, today I bounced on over to Odeo and found a nice mp3 that gives a few tips on getting the most out of your work day. Now these tips are pretty simple and you may have already heard them before but some things just bear repeating. Especially if you haven’t implemented any of them yet and are still struggling to get things done. I, personally, can vouch for tip number one which is to organize your work area. This goes a long way towards clearing your mind. When your desk or closet or kitchen table is cluttered, so are you because everything on that surface or in that area represents something that needs to be done and you become constantly distracted by that fact. So much so that you are unable to focus on the task at hand and you end up spending all day just getting ONE thing done.
Organized space = Organized mind = Increased productivity. Enjoy 🙂
A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor.
– Ring Lardner
This quote was on my Google homepage and I just had to post it. Oh and just so you didn’t know, in the US of A the Forever Stamp is now on sale for $0.41 per stamp. Buying this stamp is supposed to help guard against future rate increases as it good for, well, forever. Even if the price of stamps increases, as it going to on May 14 (yay!), you can still use the stamp without worrying about paying the difference.
So of course I suggest that every writer rush down to the post office right now and buy a lifetime supply of these stamps. So when your manuscript gets rejected and the editor sends back a scathing letter insulting you, your writing and your dog, you can at least feel good about the fact that you saved some money 🙂