Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's in Your Notebook?

Several agents and writing “experts” tell us that we should carry a notebook with us at all times to jot down those random ideas that only occur to us upon waking in the middle of the night or when we’re walking the dog or driving down the road.

I’ve carried a notebook for years. Actually, I’ve carried dozens of notebooks - I haven’t filled dozens of notebooks, mind you, I’ve only carried them around with me. I currently have two notebooks.

Blogger Jogger

One notebook I named “Blogger Jogger” - it is meant for snippets that might trigger future blog posts. The problem is there are as many times when I’m without it as there are when I take it with me. The blog post ideas that I come up with when I’m without the notebook are seem more numerous than the number I come up with when the notebook is close to hand. For some reason, I think those ideas I have when I am notebookless are more interesting than the ones I’ve jotted down. Why is that, do you think?

Awesome Notes

The other notebook is on my iPhone. That app is called Awesome Notes. The thing about this app that I love is that it allows me to create individual folders. So I have a folder called “Blog Ideas,” another called “Book Ideas,” and yet another called “Books to Read,” among others. The idea is to write down those random ideas for future books, future blog posts, and books that I want to read. I also have a folder called “Research” that I write down interesting facts I come across - with the idea that you never know when you’ll need a random fact or two.

The good thing about Awesome Notes is that I always have my iPhone with me. I have found that I have some really good ideas as I drive along the byways and freeways. Unfortunately, I can’t entered them into Awesome Notes without, I’m sure, causing a wreck or two. So as with Blogger Jogger, Awesome Notes is rendered useless.

I have found the notebook idea to be highly effective. What I haven’t been able to figure out is how to remember to take the notebook with me or how to use Awesome Notes while driving.

Recording Devices

My best friend suggested that I use a recorder to make notes. I’ve tried several recording devices over the years, which work better than trying to write something down in impossible situations, but I’m still a hazard when I drive and try to activate the recorder. I guess I could get off the freeway, but that doesn’t occur to me until afterwards. I try to remember the brilliant idea until I get to my destination, but there are way too many distractions, i.e., the idiot who cuts me off because he can’t stand being one car behind or the pedestrian who steps out from between parked cars to jaywalk instead of going the extra 50 feet to the crosswalk. I usually listen to NPR and while I’m trying to remember my own brilliant idea, I’ll hear someone else’s brilliant idea and off I go thinking about what I just heard and there goes my idea flying out the window.

New Invention Needed

Someday, someone will invent, if they haven’t already, a small device that will clip to my blouse, like a iPod Nano, that is voice activated. So when that clever idea comes singing into my mind, I’ll be able to repeat it immediately into the device and save it for all time. Of course, I’ll also capture me singing along with the Goldie Oldie radio station (not a pretty thought, I can assure you), cursing at the stupidity of the driver in front of me, or talking back to one of the guests on the Diane Riem Show on NPR. Yes, I know there are voice activated recorders on the market. I had one once. The issue with them, though, is finding it while I’m driving or, if I remember to put it on the passenger seat, grouping around for it. By the time I found it, the idea was long gone.

What’s Your Solution?

What do you do to remember that absolutely brilliant idea that flits by at the most inconvenient time?

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