Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tuesday Writing Tip # 3: Write Everything Down

All writers know the importance of keeping a notebook and pen (or at least a pen and a napkin!) handy all the time. And if they don't know that, they'll learn it soon enough. But what types of things is the notebook for?


Maybe an unusual name that you hear on the news intrigues you. That would be a great character name! you think to yourself. Write it down! You never know when you will get to use that awesome name in a story. But if you don't write it down, there's a good chance it will feel neglected and sneak away from its spot in your brain, leaving you thinking Gosh, I wish I could remember that great name I thought of the other day!

Jot down simple plot ideas that occur to you out of nowhere. A really poetic line that comes to you as you're walking to your car. A random scene in a fantasy story. Questions you think of (or that someone asks you) that could possibly lead to stories. And don't forget about funny or odd things that occur around you. Like that hilarious thing your son, daughter, or some other kid said or did the other day.

So much that happens around us is food for our writer brain. So be like a squirrel and store up all those goodies to use when the time comes.

P.S. This is good advice for non-writers too, especially mothers. You know this if you've ever thought something like: What did he say the other day that made me laugh so hard?


  1. I have an awesome new Smurf notebook, but come to think of it, it's MIA. Must find it tomorrow!
    I also keep a digital voice recorder in my purse.
    And you are so right - not just for writers!

  2. Anonymous10:58 AM

    I used to kid myself that I'd remember something if I didn't write it down--not. Learned my lesson!

  3. Anonymous12:33 PM

    Your P.S. is so true! There are so many times that I could have kicked myself for not writing down something the kids that was "unforgettable".

    Speaking of names... did I tell you that I thought you came up with a great name for your feline character you mentioned a while back? Well, you did. :o)

  4. My husband and I ARE kicking ourselves for not writing down all the cute things our kids have said!

  5. I've been there so many times, it's shameful! :-)

    PJ--Someone mentioned the idea of the voice recorder to me. I'll have to consider that! Smurfs--cute. I usually get the colorful "composition" notebooks.

    Chris--thanks for stopping by!

    Angie--Thanks! I like his name too.

    Corey--You should really take my advice because you get such cute ideas from your kiddos.

  6. I am more the pen and napkin kind of writer, even thought I often give out this same advice... My WIP was a three napkin sudden inspiration as I was driving around a circle (NJ roads... what can I say...).

    This is the second time in one night... my word identification word is a real word. Earlier it was guess. Now it is mating. Mating! What does this all mean?????? I don't want to mate! I'm happy with two kids...

  7. Sheri, a napkin's better than nuttin!

    Can't help you with the word verification mystery. Good luck with that! ;-)


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