This summer’s RWA conference wasn’t the best for me (see this post for reasons why). What’s worse was what I discovered after I got home. My black Moleskine, which contained every little tidbit of information, ideas, notes, practice log lines, minutiae from my trip to England this past May, all the “Heyer-isms” I’d written down after listening to hundreds of hours of her books, advice from fellow writers I’d gleaned at our local RWA chapter meetings…in other words, my entire writing life – was missing.
I’d never felt so sick in my life.
But there’s a happy ending to my sad story. A week ago, I got an email from someone at RWA telling me they were finally going through the lost-and-found box from the conference this summer and found my notebook (in which, thankfully, I’d put my contact info). They dropped it in the mail that day and I got it back on Saturday.
Cue the massive relieve and overwhelming joy!
See, I’m getting older. (Hang on, I need to wait for the other Eight Ladies to stop laughing – or snorting – as they read this. I’m the youngest in the group and it wouldn’t be the first time they laughed at my references to old age.) But I am getting older and I remember less and less. It’s become a requirement for me to write things down lest I forget them, even when I’m in the shower (thank you Jennifer O’Brien for introducing me to AquaNotes!).
And I write down a lot of things.
Here’s a sample from some random pages:
- Rococo design clue: look at the chairs – the seat is the same size as the back. Lots of gold and twisty bits
- Look into the legality of the marriage thing before age 21. Could really mess up my story
- Ian Fleming – 007 is the bus route from London to Dover
- Sailors did NOT like women on board – very unlucky
- In dialogue – cut out the definitive “yes/no” and make it more of a lead
I have also jotted down future story ideas, about 12 pages of varying iterations of log lines for Three Proposals, and lots of notes from my England trip, including ideas for different scenes in 3P and the other books I have planned.
My husband thinks I’m insane for keeping information so important on something so easy to lose. He’s a digital junkie – hates paper. But I’m not a good note-taker on the computer. Or iPad. It’s not creative enough for me. When I’m musing about something, I find I work much better doodling with my favorite type of pen and lots of blank pages. Not to mention when I’m out and about, stowing an iPad or laptop is just plain impractical. I don’t want to carry around a laptop bag everywhere I go. It’s bad enough all the crap I carry around for my little kids.
So I stick to my Moleskine (I did buy another one to replace the first – this one in a bright purple so it would be easier to spot – but I’ll save it for when my current one is full).
Jilly is also a devoted Moleskine user. It’s not a bad idea to keep a notebook handy so you can write down great ideas. I’ve had several ideas fly out the car window or slide down the drain because I didn’t have anything to write with or on. And I’ll never forget hearing Jude Devereaux talk at an RWA conference about her great idea – so wonderful that she thought she couldn’t possibly forget it, but she did. She admonished us to write down everything.
So do you keep a notebook handy? Or are you more technological? What’s your strategy for keeping track of ideas?
As a postscript, to the person who turned in my notebook, I am forever grateful to you! Thank you for your random act of kindness. I promise to pay it forward.