Staying Organized

A friend and I had breakfast at Chips Restaurant with a writer who was not familiar with Connecticut. We talked about books, libraries, writing and our state. I mentioned that Connecticut is known not only as the Constitution State but also as the Nutmeg State. He said he didn’t know that and reached into the back pocket of his jeans. He pulled out a small pad and a short pencil and wrote down the words nutmeg state.

As our conversation continued, he added a few other words to the page. I asked him about the pad and he said that he always carried one with him. This was where he collected tidbits of information, ideas and words—anything that caught his attention. It was evident from the soft curve of the pad that he carried in his back pocket often.

What struck me was that he wrote the words down immediately.

How do you keep track of your creative ideas?

I’ll admit that I don’t have an organized system. This post is as much for me as anyone else. Far too often I think: Of course I will remember this, it’s too good an idea/thought/word to forget. The kind of idea that sparks an interest. Sometimes I even repeat words over in my head (or out loud if I’m alone) to help me remember. Yet, when I try to pull the words up again, I can’t. I’ve forgotten what they were.

My other method is to write ideas down, especially if I am listening to a talk or an interview, of something that I want to look up later. Usually, I jot them on anything I have available including scraps of paper, a napkin (my favorite) or an email to myself with the words in the subject. I recently wrote on the white lid of my coffee cup. Then, the cup got tossed into the garbage as well as the words that had caught my attention.

The key is to consistently record your ideas. The method that works for you is the right method for you. Here are some ideas:

  • Carry a notebook – any size;
  • Use 3×5 index cards;images
  • Send yourself an email with the words in the subject line;
  • Record a voice memo;
  • Keep your scraps/napkins together in a file;
  • Keep a list on your computer;
  • Use a waterproof notepad in the shower.

Please share what method works for you. Perhaps it will inspire someone to get organized.

Three recent ideas that caught my attention: memory palace, atomic veterans, and Chinese takeout boxes into plates. I wrote them in a notebook and the notebook is sitting on the table beside me. They were very easy to remember!

Keep creating, word by word.—Donna Woods Orazio

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on June 1, 2016 at 2:33 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Donna, I know what you mean about thinking of good words or ideas for stories or essays. I carry a little notebook with me in my purse, which I use for writing ideas, to do items, books or recipes I come across I want to investigate, etc. I seem to get most of my “good” ideas while I’m driving, which makes it difficult if I can’t pull over or write a few words at a stop light. I also tell myself I’ll remember the ideas later, but I rarely do remember the exact words. And then the original inspirational spirit seems gone too. There was a poet I heard at a local university here in Ohio a few years ago who said he carried around a notebook everywhere he went, so he could use words for his poems later. I wonder if it’s the same person you met?

  2. A friend from a college — who constantly writes poetry and makes videos — carries a “chap book” with him at all times. I ought to do the same.


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