Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Life of a Writer--Keeping Track of Your Ideas ~By Suzy Leopold

Another outstanding writing event took place during the month of January. I’m quite certain many of you participated in Storystorm with Tara Lazar. As always, there were excellent posts for writers to learn and grow from.
Storystorm 2018
Now, what are your plans for the ideas you generated and wrote down?

Ideas are what keep a writer moving forward. Whether you have too many ideas or not enough, keeping track of ideas in an organized fashion will support you and your writing goals. Putting them altogether in one place becomes a depository of ideas.

Perhaps you jotted down tidbits on scraps of paper, scribbled on a receipt, note cards, or even a paper napkin. Better yet, you may have typed your thoughts into a document on your computer. Did you write your inspiring *light bulb* ideas in a journal?  You’re ahead of the game if you kept your ideas in one place. Whatever tool you used, be affirmed in knowing you are moving in the right direction.

If you need some organization for your ideas, it’s time. It is time to gather all of your incredible ideas and keep them in one place. 

The human brain can’t possibly remember them all. Perhaps you are like me . . . I can’t remember most ideas since they seem to disappear into thin air as fast as they appear.

Created by Suzy
Any type or size of journal will work. Composition notebooks work best for me. Gather all of the odds and ends and pieces of paper you used to jot down your thoughts: Post-it® notes, index cards, your scribble scrabbles, receipts, and envelopes, etc. There is no need to rewrite your many ideas. Use a glue stick to adhere your collection of bits and pieces of paper inside a notebook.
Journals
Recording and tracking your ideas, are excellent organizational tools for a writer. Your ideas are ready and handy for when you need them. Over time you can refer to each one and expand on the idea as you develop it further. Are some of the shiny ideas standing out more than others? Perhaps some ideas are demanding, "Write me!"

As you weed through what you scribed during the Storystorm challenge, consider each idea thoughtfully. Carefully examine each idea and whittle down the list. Evaluate and determine which ideas have a strong picture book potential.

What makes a good idea? That's a challenging question. While no idea is ever wasted, a writer needs to consider the shiny ideas first. You need to weed through each one. Which ideas do you want to consider developing further? 

Here's my list of suggestions:

1. Choose an idea and write a pitch or a tweet.
2. Set a timer for 30 minutes and write a sloppy copy.
3. Brainstorm a few ideas with a critique partner.
4. Draft an outline to see where the idea takes you.
5. Select an idea and create a character map.
6. Ask yourself questions. Does the idea lend itself to a clear theme?
7. Do you feel you can expand on the catchy title idea? 
8. Search on Amazon. Do you see another writer who wrote about your idea? Don't be discouraged. Set out to write a story with a new spin, told in a way that only your can do. 
9. Write a draft, followed by several rewrites. From there take time to reconfigure and reconsider before sharing your manuscript with a critique partner or group. 
10. Finally, ask yourself, "Am I passionate about this idea?" Then you must write it.

After you have organized your Storystorm ideas in your Notebook of Ideas and prioritized which ideas have a strong potential to become manuscripts, keep on going. 

The journal can be used for future ideas throughout the year— an ongoing list to inspire you. 

Hang onto your inspiration. Create a depository of writing ideas.

Share in the comments below your suggestions for keeping track of your writing ideas.

33 comments:

  1. Great ideas on how to organize those thoughts. Thanks, Suzy!

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    1. And thank you, Anne. May your Storystorm ideas become polished stories.

      Suzy

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  2. Suzy, thanks for the list of points to consider. That's most helpful. You make the organization part fun.

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    1. As you know, Sherri, with a little bit of organization, the fun will follow. Continue to enjoy a writer's journey.

      Suzy

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  3. What a helpful list of suggestions, Suzy. Thanks!

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  4. Love the list of how to do something with those ideas! And, of course, your wonderful creative journals!

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    1. It's time to move those ideas on into manuscripts, Kathy. I'm cheering you on with your stories, just as you do for so many.

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  5. Great ideas Suzy. I have an "idea jar" with scraps of paper on which I've written story starters, favorite bits of dialogue, settings and memorable quotes from things I've read. When I am blocked on a project, I pick something from the jar and see what happens.

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    1. Your idea jar is sure to spur creativity, Darlene. Thank you for sharing your tip.

      Perhaps you read Adam Lehrhaupt's post on Storystorm today. He, too, suggests an idea jar.

      Suzy

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  6. Great ideas! I have a journal that I used the last 2 years for Storystorm. Now it's my idea bank book!

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    1. Your ideas are already organized in your Idea Bank Books--excellent! All the best as the ideas become drafts followed by polished manuscripts.

      Suzy

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  7. Great ideas Suzy! I make decorated composition notebooks for my ideas as well! I start with Storystorm in January then use it all year.

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  8. Thanks for your suggestions on how to go forward with our month of Storystorm ideas.

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    1. Thank you, Claire, for reading the GROG Blog today. All the best with your Storystorm ideas as you read, write, and create stories that sing.

      Suzy

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  9. Suzy, great tips for organizing those ideas! Thank you :)

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    1. Thank you, Charlotte. My pleasure to share tips and ideas with writerly friends.

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  10. Great tips. Thosr questions will really help pin down which ideas are worth pursuing. Thanks Suzy!

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  11. Great tips. Those questions will really help pin down which ideas are worth pursuing. Thanks Suzy!

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    1. You are sure to find many ideas worth pursuing, Keila, as you consider each one. And before you know it, ReFoReMo will be here as we study mentor texts together during the month of March.

      Suzy

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  12. I love your notebooks - and the idea of an "idea collection" book for the best ideas with the most promise. Great post, Suzy!

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    1. You are appreciated, Sue. Over the years, I have created hundreds of journals--some to keep, but most to give away.

      Sue

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    1. Thank you, Mona. Your support of the GROG Blog is always appreciated.

      Suzy

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  14. Thanks for these suggestions, Suzy! I have separate Google folders for last year's and this year's StoryStorm. Each folder contains one document for each idea and a relevant title that lets me know what each "idea" is about. And if there's a visual, I take a pic with my phone, upload it, and add it to the document. I like your suggestions for how to build those stories out or not, depending on their viability.

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    1. Excellent tips, Jilanne. You are organized and ready to go.

      Suzy

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    1. Your compliment is appreciated. Thank you, Anita.

      Suzy

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  16. Great ideas, Suzy - and perfect timing after StoryStorm in January :)

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  17. Give your child the gift of reading and imagination, and help them find their purpose in life by author Ronald Destra.......

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    1. Thank you, Ronald, for stopping by the GROG Blog. I agree with your thoughts . . . Reading is a gift.

      Suzy

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  18. Great! I like the idea of checking it out on Amazon - for the idea that may be out there. Thanks.

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