There are a few essential tools in every Writer’s arsenal: the pen or pencil, the laptop or typewriter, the ever-present red pen. There’s one tool you may have been neglecting, and which will make your writing life so much simpler. An Idea Notebook. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical notebook: you could use programs like Evernote or Sticky Notes on your laptop or your One Note program on your Microsoft tablet. Whatever you choose, keeping all your ideas in one place makes it much easier to find them later.
How many times have you had an idea that slipped away before you could jot it down? I did exactly this recently when I had an idea for two separate and related blog posts while riding in the car. I had left my idea notebook at home and by the time I got there I had no earthly idea what those ideas had been. Writing the idea down allows you to look at it later and remind yourself what you were thinking about and what you wanted to do with that idea. (So long as you don’t write and drive at the same time.)
It isn’t enough though, to just jot the idea down any old place. The numerous sticky notes cluttering my drawers can attest to that. That is why having a catch-all place or a “notebook” is so key to success: you don’t have to rifle through drawers or under your bed, you just have to find your notebook. I would also recommend dividing it into sections or categories, that way you can find specific ideas easier. I have a separate section for each book I want to work on, a section for blog post ideas, a section for random ideas, etc. This organization makes it so that, when I’m stuck, I can go back through my ideas for inspiration.
So whether it’s a notebook and a pen tucked into your wallet or an app on your smart phone, keep your ideas with you. You never know when you’ll need them.