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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Keeping Track of Writing Ideas

Lately, I've just been a swirl of ideas; all jumbling around in my brain. I've taken to writing them down in a notebook. But there are many times when I get these brilliant thoughts, and of course I'm unable to write anything down. Like when I'm driving, or in the grocery store, or have my hands all slimy from one of the kid's art project. And by the time I have access to pen and paper, I've lost part of the essence of the idea.

I've been thinking about getting a mini cassette recorder. Maybe that will help. What do you do to keep track of your ideas?


PJ Hoover said...

Hi HipWriterMama,

I recently got a digital dictaphone, and I love it! It's great for when driving, when exercising, or any other time. Also, in addition to writing ideas, it's useful for grocery lists :)
Here's the one I have:
Olympus DS-40 Digital Voice Recorder by Olympus

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Ah, yes. Sometimes I just call up Bede and say, "I've got this idea." He'll do the same, too. However, when I really am stuck, I'll try to do some associations (like when driving) so that when I think of where I've been, the ideas come back. This kind of memorization is called logos, I think. I don't use it for memorization as much as I use it for mental shorthand.

PJ Hoover said...

Cool idea, Alkelda! I'll have to employ this technique for placed I can't bring the dictaphone.

HipWriterMama said...

Thanks for a fun idea. I do this with the kids for my grocery list, and I thought we were just playing a fun game! Wahoo! Now I just have to apply it to myself.

Ooh! A digital voicerecorder! Is it easy to use and easy to download? Wouldn't it be great if there was an easy affordable technical solution that would download the voicerecorder into printed word?

PJ Hoover said...

It does download to the computer, though I normally type notes in myself while listening to help refresh my mind. I think it downloads into .wav files.

P.S. I think you can buy voice recorder attachments for IPODs in case you have one, but I've heard the quality isn't that great.

Jennifer said...

I use notebooks. I have a few all over the house and carry a small one in my purse. I DO jot notes while I'm driving. . . . :0

HipWriterMama said...

No ipod. That's okay. The digital Olympus sounds rather neat. Thanks again for the recommendation.

Amazing the things we do for what we love to do, isn't it?

Emily said...

My ideas usually end up on whatever scrap is closest...old receipts, torn bill envelopes, kleenex...

HipWriterMama said...

Hurray to great ideas! Now do you keep all these notes in a special place so as not to lose them?

That would be my problem. I'm not sure I'd be able to find everything. Not organized enough.

NYC Teacher said...

I keep a "Things I Can Write About" List in my writer's notebook. See http://mentortexts.blogspot.com/search/label/TICWA. My kids do the same thing in their writer's notebooks. Nothing too long, but enough to jog one's memory later.

Good luck with this!

cloudscome said...

I use scraps of paper too. It reminds me of Emily Dickinson so that makes me not feel too bad about it. LOL

I try to use my Palm to keep notes but that takes more effort. I think a voice recorder would take more effort too because then you have to remember to go back and listen to it and type up the notes... no? Sticky notes work pretty well for me, and mental notes like Akelda said. As a matter of fact, I have a sticky note on my desk at work with a list of things to blog about this week...

HipWriterMama said...

NYC Teacher-
Love it. Just checked it out and your kids sound so sweet. I had to laugh about the Booger Wall. Gross! Yick! But it was funny.

Sticky notes is a good idea too. Can stick anywhere for a quick reminder. Which reminds me I have a bunch of fun colored sticky notes hiding in a drawer somewhere. Thanks!

Robin Brande said...

Can't help you with the times you have slimy hands, but for the other times you're away from home, use your cell phone to call yourself and leave long dictation on your answering machine. I do that all the time when I'm out on a walk, because I've learned I won't remember exactly how that clever turn of phrase went by the time I'm home. Sometimes on one walk or one trip of errands I might have to leave myself four or five messages, but it's so nice to come home to all that work already done for me!

HipWriterMama said...

That's a great idea! I always love getting messages--as long as they're the good kind. Now I'll feel popular when I hear, "There are 4 new messages."

nowheymama said...

I always liked Anne Lamott's index card idea - having index cards everywhere (car, purse, by the computer) to jot things down. I tend more toward the back-of-an-envelope-or-old-receipt method, myself.