Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Archiving and Idea Storage

It's possible I'm just a product of my twenty-first century upbringing, but when I'm struck with inspiration or a story idea I find myself jotting it down in an email to myself rather than scrounging for a pad of paper and a pen. I have a whole folder in my email service full of one-sentence emails I've written to myself.

Sometimes I wake up from a particularly vivid dream and grope for the phone on my nightstand so I can write the idea down in an email before I forget. Sometimes I'm taking my kids to classes and think of something cool in the car that I simply must write down in an email before I forget, so I pull over and send myself a quick email in the parking lot of a Jiffy Lube.

I'm assuming this is a new habit for writers brought about my smart phones and unlimited email storage. I can imagine writers as few as twenty years ago probably carried little notepads around everywhere they went so no idea ever got left behind.

To be honest, I like brainstorming on a pad of paper best. I like to sit down with my husband and a notepad, talking through story ideas and writing down the salient points. In a lot of ways, I think computers will never truly replace the feel of a pen racing across paper.

However, there's something comforting about knowing my ideas are available anytime and anywhere I have Internet access. I also email copies of my works in progress to myself, so my drafts are always safe and available even if my hard drive throws a fit.

How do you keep track of your ideas? Where do your archives live?

5 comments:

Big Mike said...

I fought the Iphone until my wife hammered me into buying one, and finally I gave in (as usually). Now, it is my go to world, especially since the loss of short term memory from chemo. I use the "Note" app for everything, work to do, gocery list, schedule app, and of course writing/scene ideas.

I also use my laptop to store an interesting guy/girl name I come across in day to day life for an eventual character, or I'll meet someone that has to be in a story and jot down their attributes for a future time, or if I decide a scene/paragraph in a WIP doesn't work there yets to good to just toss away, I save in a file for some new story. And I do come back to that list and use ideas/excerpts when they fit.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

TKToppin said...

Admittedly, I do a little bit of both. I've endless scraps of paper wedged together with paperclips or stuck into pages of a notebook, as well as endless ramdon emails to myself. The only problem with digital notes, I tend to forget where I saved them. Hehe....

Helen Henderson said...

I am not a product of the 21st century, but will admit involvement with computers since before the world wide net took wing. (Please don't do the math to calculate an age .)

Paper and pen still record scenes and the muse's whisperings. The small notebook I learned to carry during my correspondent days keeps me company whether in purse or backpack.

On the flip side, the OneNote program organizes research, character names, and images for world settings. MS Word records possible storylines as well as whatever bubbles up for the current work-in-progress.

You don't have to be either technology or old school. Just as different techniques, whether plotter, pantser, or explorer works, so do the tools we use. Helen

Helen Henderson
Stories that take you to the stars, the Old West, or worlds of imagination.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Using the iPhone like that is very new to me. But, I do write in my files when I get an idea to be pursued later.

In the olden days, note I didn't say back in the day, I could write in the dark. I had the "lessons" in art school art history class when the screen flashed a famous painting and a short lecture followed -- all in the dark. We manage in our times and embrace the new technology in yours.

Annabel Aidan said...

I keep an "idea notebook" in my purse, and various pens and paper with me wherever I am. I have to handwrite it first -- if I note it electronically first, my subconscious mind believes it is "done" and I never actually write it. If I write it by hand, it is the seed planted to grow.