Ideas can come from anywhere. A piece of overheard conversation might make a perfect line of dialogue, or a story in the news can act as a springboard for a plot.
When an idea emerges it may only be a premise, an opening image, a starting point that may need more time before we begin working on it. And so we must remember these ideas to use them or build on them later. How does a writer keep track of them all?
I’ve always been a note-taker. I have notebooks upon notebooks filled with lists and notes. The trouble is keeping track of them all and remembering in which notebook I jotted a particular thought.
The modern version of the notebook is the app Evernote. Unlike my collection of notebooks, which I don’t have on me at all times, I always have my phone with me. I’ve started using this app and have created “Notes” for character names and story ideas.
There are more visual options for keeping ideas, like scrapbooks, collages, bulletin boards or virtual pinboards such as Pinterest. I have boards on Pinterest where I pin photos that inspire my characters and settings.
Anne Lamott recommends index cards: “I fold an index card lengthwise in half, stick it in my back pocket along with a pen, and head out, knowing that if I have an idea, or see something lovely or strange or for any reason worth remembering, I will be able to jot down a couple of words to remind me of it.” I’ve used this method too, stashing index cards in my wallet or glove compartment.
I don’t have a singular, organized method for collecting and saving those moments of insight, but I’ll continue to use any method at my disposal to keep those potentially useful ideas from slipping away.
How do you collect your ideas?
I joined Pinterest about two years ago, shortly after my now husband and I got engaged. It was all I kept hearing about from friends: the recipes, the crafts, the wedding ideas! If you’re not on Pinterest, I’m sure you’ve heard about it, but it does have a practical purpose in that all your ideas and webpages you want to save can be organized all in one place.
I got dozens of wedding shower, ceremony and reception ideas from Pinterest, and yes, it is as addicting as everyone said it would be! Now that my wedding planning days are over, I still pin recipes and photos of home decor that is downright enviable. But Pinterest isn’t just for weddings and crafts anymore.
It seems, at least to me, that the possibilities with Pinterest are endless!
Here are a few ways I’ve been using Pinterest.
As a Writer
- Writing Inspiration – I’ve always wanted an office with bulletin board to pin things that would inspire me. Since I still don’t have an office, I created a virtual pinboard on Pinterest for Writing Inspiration. I collect literary quotes and anything that inspires my muse.
- Storyboarding – In November, when I was starting a new project for NaNoWriMo, I created a virtual pinboard. I mostly just pinned photos that inspired my characters, but there is no limit to the ideas you could pin: images of settings for your novel, the houses your characters might live in and pictures of their hometowns… and anything else related to your work-in-progress!
As a Reader
- What I’m Reading – I pin pictures of books I’m reading to share with others.
- Bookish Things – I have a love of all things books. I dedicated a whole board to photos of reading nooks, ideas for my future library and other nerdy book-related things.
As a Blogger
- I pin my blog posts to Pinterest. I don’t have a specific board dedicated to my blog, I just pin to whichever board is appropriate. Because Pinterest is visual, the trick is to have a picture in each post that you can pin.
I have lots of boards that aren’t related to writing, reading, or my blog. I use Pinterest for recipes and entertaining ideas, feel-good stories and quotes, and with the new advent of secret board I use it to pin gift ideas as well.
Are you a writer, reader or blogger on Pinterest? If so, I’d love to follow you to see what you’re pinning! Feel free to follow me, short0ne22.