We've made it to the fourth and final exercise in the Writer’s Habit Series! I've been so encouraged to hear your feedback on these exercises and would love to hear your final thoughts as we bring this series to a close. Our final writing exercise is not so much a writing exercise as it is a firm nudge towards getting your thoughts organized. If you missed out on any of the prior exercise you can check them out here:
Writing Exercise No.1 - Why Write
Writing Exercise No.2 - Look Outward
Writing Exercise No.3 - Get Serious About Writing
The last leg of our Spanish adventure brought us from the Mediterranean to the metropolitan streets of Madrid. With an entire metropolis to see in a mere two days we didn't waste anytime and awoke early and returned late to our apartment. My writing took a brief hiatus during this leg but I wasn't concerned. Along the way I recorded the important moments of each day in my Moleskin notebook, making sure to list names, dates, locations, and activities. Upon returning home from Spain in early June I returned to my notebook, found my lists, and proceeded to write about our adventures. In the post vacation haze not a detail was missed.
That brings me to our final writing exercise, maintaining an idea bank. If you're a creative like myself, you know that ideas come at all times of day. Driving in the car, as you're falling asleep at night, in the middle of the night; day or night ideas are entering our minds and if not recorded their often forgotten in the shuffle of our days. Never again will you sit down and say “I have nothing to write about”, but rather you'll return to your idea bank, select an idea, and get writing. Here’s a few tried and true ways I've found to develop my idea bank:
// Moleskin Notebook
My Moleskin notebook travels with me to work, on road trips, and stays on my nightstand or desk when at home. I hold a certain affinity to my old fashioned tools. I prefer the graph paper Moleskin that allows me to list ideas and sketch mock-ups or images of projects I'm currently working on. This is my loose and free idea bank. It’s my "writing topics" idea bank and the first source I turn to when I sit down to write.
Entirely opposite of my previous idea bank, Evernote is an excellent web/app based tool for organizing and storing ideas. The benefit of Evernote is the ability to label, organize and easily search for ideas using keywords. It also works across all systems and what you enter into Evernote on your phone will be ready for writing on your computer when you open the desktop version or website. I suggest dating, labeling, and creating separate folders to organize your ideas. I personally utilize Evernote for clipping images, articles, and writing online that become an "inspiration" idea bank when I'm feeling creatively dry. Download the Evernote Web Clipper and you're ready to create your own inspiration idea bank.
// Idea Bank Email Account
Did you know can have as many gmail accounts as you'd like? I personally have four, one for work, one for personal, one for blogging, and the fourth is my idea bank email account. I utilize this email for all of my newsletter and blog subscriptions, for any twitter articles I want to refer to later, and for emailing writing ideas to myself when on the go. I check this email weekly, not daily, and instead of my personal or blogging email becoming bogged down with subscribed emails, I have them stored in one place for future reference. I'll be sharing my favorite newsletters for writing later this week so stay tuned.
What tools do you utilize to organize your ideas?