Taking Notes … or not.

wyatt_if_only In my friend Jerry’s blog he talks about taking a notebook with him to write down inspiration. Humorously he mentions taking a pen next time. It made me think about some of my own efforts to record inspiration so I don’t lose it. It has, for me, often been a losing battle, and yet I still find much of my inspirations coming out in my writing as if by magic. I’m pretty sure that much is lost however.

I tend to lose notebooks and pens. I have, on numerous occasions, pledged to carry one with me. I have nearly a whole box full of journals, dream journals, and notebooks where only the first few pages have been written on. All of these were started with the intention of keeping notes for inspiration and practicing my writing. They all ended up in the slush pile of Wyatt’s lost and lonely things. My next plan was equally short-lived: I bought one of those little tape recorders so I could speak into it. Two problems came out of that one: I lost it, and I never transcribed the notes I did take.

I have been told over and over again to keep lists and take notes. I lose my lists or forget to take them with me. I have had some better success with notes for projects I’m working on, but eventually those notes, too, get lost and every time I start a new project it’s like starting from scratch. The only thing that saves me is the computer and not a laptop either. I’m talking about my big old honking pc. I can’t lose it because I can’t move it. Which reminds me I did see a guy bring his pc, monitor, and the whole kit and kaboodle to an internet café a few weeks back. That’s determination for you. Anyway back to me. When it comes to my computer I always know where it is. I can keep track of the notes I keep for myself in their little folders (search if I lose them), and suddenly a whole new world of organization was opened to me.

But what happens when I’m driving in my car or walking through the woods and an idea strikes me? Generally, if it’s any good, I try thinking about it a lot, repeating the words in my mind, and then I hope like hell it’s still floating around in my skull when I get back from my trip so I can jump on the computer and write it. More often than not I forget before I get home, or I have something else to do before I log onto the computer. Actually even the act of firing my programs can lose it for me as I start to read email, read tweets, or begin a discussion with someone online at my community site Pan Historia.

So what do you do to keep track of your inspirations and ideas? What works for you and what have you tried that didn’t work?


About panhistoria

writer, online community creator, and artist View all posts by panhistoria

2 responses to “Taking Notes … or not.

  • Jerry

    Thanks for the mention, dude! Heh, I hope your computer ‘filing system’ is better than mine – my hard drive is littered with Notebook ‘clippings’ all called something useful like untitled.txt, untitled2.txt etc. And it’s true you know – watching your computer fire up and chug into life is as good as a brain-wipe for whatever you’d been memorising to record.

  • panhistoria

    Oh yeah, well I learned that the hard way. I was trying to find stuff and recompile old stories and nothing was clearly marked or labeled. Now I have a very clear naming schema for my writing and I stick to it religiously – as religiously as I stick to always putting my keys in the same two places: hooked to my belt or hanging on the hook by the door.

    Forget one or the other and I’m lost.

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