Friday, May 3, 2013

Writing Ideas Stored

     Most of us own a file cabinet to house important papers––tax returns, auto/home/health insurance papers, instructions and warranties, and more. What we file is an individual thing, but we know that a centralized point to contain these matters is an avenue to sanity.
     As a writer, I needed another cabinet. I own two, two-drawer verticals, turquoise in color, set one atop the other in a corner of my writing room. I've had them for y e a r s. Each drawer represents a category of writing and writing interests. One drawer, for example, houses folders of writing devices for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Clippings, conference handouts, and copies downloaded from internet sources on Backstory, Dialogue, Plot; Essay, Memoir; Forms, Meter, Rhythm; and others are here for when I need to buttress an area on which I'm working.
     Another contains the rudiments of blogging, query letters, pitching, editing, and synopsis.
     Another drawer, with alphabetized dividers, houses writing ideas culled from magazines, newspapers, and websites. Here filed, and waiting for their moment in my writing sun, are articles on art conservation, birth order, caving, cemeteries (you never know!), fishing, gargoyles, twins, stained glass windows, kayaks, various hobbies people have, and even umbrellas.
     The cabinet keeps the papers off the floor (most times, and when I take the time to file them), and is ready for when I need to find something interesting to flesh out a character, a scene, or give validity to an area in my writing.


     I also keep notebooks of various sizes and for various purposes. Composition books of classroom flavor work great for collecting my own ideas, and copying words from other sources––even worded license plates. I use the note feature on my iPhone for my daily travels, and when I overhear or see something of interest I "jot"it down. When I arrive home, I transfer it/them to one of these journals. They are each a collection of oddities, and such nice oddities they are! Periodically I flip through these books to remind me of their contents, and also to enjoy what has struck my fancy over time. When I use something from inside one of them for a story or poem, I notate that snippet with the what, where, and when that I've used it.
     Spiral notebooks are for early writing drafts, and they include scratch outs or marginal comments in red pen or pencil. When I'm satisfied with a particular rough draft, I move it onto my computer. I don't intend to hold onto these books, so I'm very casual about how I use them. Spirals allow for ripping out sheets, and after a point there is nothing left. That's good, too.


     Covered journals are my favorite, and as a result I use journals on a daily basis. I flag pages of importance, paper-clip others, and elastic band the book before I set it aside. Some of my journals have graduated toward specific uses: early-morning poems, gratitudes, diary. Others contain a hodgepodge of writing ideas like the composition books above. Pages on all of them reflect loving use––smudges from my fountain pens, annotations, fraying. Some have begun to separate from their  spines, and all the more important are those elastic bands to contain their precious innards. Journals will stay with me forever.


     This is the newbie in my arsenal of stored writing ideas, and it's electronic. As soon as I set up my Pinterest account a few years back, I began to create Boards that reflected my writing interests: favorite authors, poets, book collecting, personal libraries, and many other things related to reading and writing. I pin images, personalities, quotes, faces, and sources to follow up on later. Here, too, are Boards that reflect my interests, all of which can be fodder for my writing. I also upload personal photographs, and have brought them back for use on this Blog. Pinterest has taught me that not all things must be written down. It is the Wunderkind of storing writing ideas!

I would enjoy knowing how do you store writing ideas? In what do you keep these inspirations? And have you found Pinterest  boards to be a useful tool for idea collections? Please share them in the Comments box below.