Guest Post – M. K. Theodoratus
Posted by authorcamilson
Guest Post – M. K. Theodoratus
Saved By My Paper Blizzard
Paper makes it possible for me to be a writer. I’m so old I can remember when gurus promised the world that computers would rid it of paper. They made the pronouncements without considering my addiction to sticky-notes.
Yeah, I’d be lost without those little squares of paper with the gluey-stuff down one edge. They’re my idea-saver. Without them, I could never be a writer.
Losing ideas is a common gripe among the writers I know. My critique partners often complained about the “idea that got away”. They’d give up on something that wouldn’t work, thinking the idea or solution would come back when they’re doing something else. The missing piece would, eventually, pop into their heads at the most inconvenient times. After a firm resolve to remember the idea, they’d lose it before they got the idea into the manuscript.
I’m no different. For years, great ideas would flash between my ears only to get lost in the ether. Since I wrote fiction mainly to amuse myself, it didn’t matter. I just jotted down whatever popped into my head, wondering what would happen next. Maybe it’s just as well most of those sheets of paper are lost.
Then, I got more serious about writing fiction. I started working with critique groups that expected me to write something coherent. My sense of duty got in the way of my laziness. I felt obligated not to waste my partners’ time.
First, I jotted new insights or plot developments down on any handy piece of paper, only to lose most of them. Worse, there usually was never a piece of paper or a pen in sight when I needed them. Of course, I never remembered the idea beyond a couple nano-seconds. Fortunately, 3M came to the rescue with their Post-Its.
3M didn’t solve my problem, though. The sticky pads sit at my elbow at the kitchen table. Lay in the clutter by my comfy chair in front of the TV. Are buried under the clutter around my computer. Lurk in my wallet and car. The ideas get written down, but the sticky notes don’t do any good unless they’re organized.
I solved that problem two ways:
- I classify them at the top, like the book and character they pertain to.
- I enter them into my computer…eventually. Each of my projects gets a folder on my desktop. Ideas get written in a document and filed. If I’m not getting any new ideas about a project, I file the folder in another folder called “Inactive”.
It may not be neat and tidy, but it helps me keep things organized and accessible.
One good thing about the pile of sticky notes, they tend not to go anywhere. They stick together in a clump.
I know there must be some neater way of salvaging those lost inspirations, but I haven’t found it. Doubt if I’ll ever discover it. So, I make do with a salvage system that that works for me.
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