Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Journal Keeping For Writing Ideas

I keep a notebook in my purse, my car and next to my bed. I should probably go high tech, but sense I don't own an iphone or ipod my little notebook works just fine. In fact, my ten year old had to just edit my spelling of iphone. I wanted to say i-phone, she shook her head and pushed my hands away to fix my errant ways!

Anyway, you may ask why I do this and I'll tell you. The best ideas for my writing always come to me when I'm juggling a phone, a child and the groceries. Something snaps, and I think , "Wow, that would be a great plot." I used to be able to remember what great idea came into my head until I had a pen and paper or the computer to jot it down. Not so any more my friends. These days I can barely remember where I stashed the car keys as my toddler bolts out of the car in the parking lot. I've learned to have pen and paper handy at all times.

What is my notebook full of you might ask? Well, I'll tell you:) I have favorite quotes, description of places, plot ideas, and character profiles. One night I had this amazing dream. I woke up and realized it was just the start to a story. I stared up at my ceiling for a good hour as the rest of the story came to me. I didn't dare go back to sleep until I had written down an outline of my dream story. I got up stubbed by toe on the end of the bed, hopped around in silent agony, as to not wake my husband and quietly went in search of pen and paper. Minutes later my husband awoke to the crashing sound of the kitchen drawer dropping on the floor. I learned two things. Never go wandering around your house in the dark. And keep pen and paper on the bedside table.

I love my notebooks, because they are little snippets of not just writing ideas, but of the life around me. Sometimes thumbing through them I have vivid images of the day I wrote a certain quote down. Or I recognize the sticky smudge from a lollipop on a page my daughter left as we waited at the doctors office.

Do you have a system for keeping your thoughts and ideas organized? I'd love to hear.


Anonymous said...

I am completely with you! It seems as though my best ideas come when I'm in the shower or doing the dishes! I affectionately refer to my notebook as my brain. If I am finding ideas on the computer, I keep a draft email saved with a rolling list of links and thoughts... but there is something about pencil and paper. :)

Jody Hedlund said...

I just read another post about keeping a journal! Maybe God is trying to send me a message this morning! I love the idea. For now, I jot notes down on scraps of paper and stash them in a big envelope.

Kara said...

Praire Lily I like that idea of having links saved on a page on your computer. I'll have to do that too!

God works in myserious ways;) My biggest fear is someday I might not be able to find my notebook! But so far so good:)

Pat's Place said...

Great idea! I just heard a friend tell about getting an idea for a painting in a dream and got up and painted the thing in just three days. She entered it into a juried show and was picked to have it hang in an art show. Why don't my ideas come like that?

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Oh, I've got stacks of notebooks with story ideas in them. But I try to squash any attempts to create a new story once I get into bed...I'd never get any sleep if I didn't! :)

Warren Baldwin said...

This is a great idea, Kara. One of my homiletics professors used to say, "Writing maketh and exact man (or woman)." That had a couple of applications, one of them being write down an idea AS SOON as it comes to you, or you will lose it.

The other night I wrote a full article in my head while lying in bed. Too tired to get up and write at least part of it down, I trusted it to memory. Big mistake.

I write many of my ideas down on receipts in my wallet. Not very professional but it works!

Note: I notice Emily Ann Benedict is following your blog now. She is a good writer. I just reviewed her book on my blog if you'd like to read it.

Warren Baldwin said...

Ok Kara, I feel out of the loop now. You've already read the review and even commented on Emily Ann's blog. I'm behind!

Kara said...

Warren I found Emily through your book review. I bet she saw my comment on your post and then she came to my site, so thank you!

Domestically Sassy said...

I wish I had a system for all my random thoughts and ideas..I use a lot of post it notes. Someday I'll put my iPhone to good use and get organized. ;)

Jessica Nelson said...

Oh no, LOL, I laughed when that drawer crashed down. Poor you!
My way of keeping up with ideas is really ineffective. I need to start keeping paper and pen near me too. Thanks for the reminder!