Write Tight

I’m not a note taker. Nor am I a retainer. However, I carry a paper brain with me to meetings, jot things down, order them, number them, draw lines (with a ruler) through completed (or wishful thinking-completed) items, and look with jealousy at people who have advanced degrees in note taking.

Do Type A folks take notes? Or are note takers Type C? I’m a Type A type. Of course, it could be the coffee. Truthfully, I don’t need coffee; my “normal” is abuzz with energy. I have hiked ten miles of the AT, then wanted to do it again because I hiked so fast I forgot to smell the pine needles. I’ve walked through shopping malls at the double and then felt surprise when I reach the last store.

There must be a term for it. Psychologistmimi will know (don’t tell me)!

Which brings me to my point….

3×5 cards saved me.

Seriously, I dislike taking notes and posting post-its so much that I have let millions, okay, dozens…sigh, a few brilliant ideas for my novel go to waste because I told myself I would remember to write them into the story. I hate forgetting what I promised to remember.

That all changed a month or so ago. I don’t know why. Epiphany? Serendipity? Dumb luck? A really good forehead smack?

Whatever the cause, I bought a box of 3×5 cards at the drugstore and began writing notes on them. One idea or note per card. I put the name of the character to whom the note applied in the upper left-hand corner. I wrote the note below that. Further down, I added the page or chapter (the paragraph too, if applicable). I ordered the cards according to placement within the novel. I check them off as I complete them.

Brilliant! I could sell the idea and become rich!

Before each writing session, I review the cards to refresh my memory. It’s made a difference. Revising passages is faster and thorough. My novel is better for the details I’ve added – or removed. I pay more attention to structure. I no longer knock myself out with really hard forehead smacks.

Writing down ideas made me slooooow doooown and practice patience. I concentrate on my writing. Hurrying, or rushing through my writing caused problems since I had more to edit and correct later. Now, I find myself thinking that the more patient I am, the better the end product will turn out. I want to submit a polished novel to the agents on my list, not a coffee-stained manuscript that looks like I wrote it while camping in a pup tent in a rainstorm on the summit of Old Speck.

Note to self: buy a new tent – one that doesn’t leak!

10 thoughts on “Write Tight

  1. Mike Vee

    Excellent post! I feel like notetaking is a very personal thing because all of our brains work differently. I’ve tried several different methods and have not come one that I’m in love with. Posts like this are important because it exposes people to possibilities of what might work for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kris

    I have a green index sized box FULL of cards with notes on them. I have a story I sort of am working on, but not up here where none of those notes are. The cards are sort of arranged like yours, only more disorganised! It is a great idea–Looking forward to seeing what you end up with. And me? I just bought a new notebook. Lovely college ruled pages all empty and waiting for the touch of a pen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mr. Mel

    I compose an email to myself and add the ideas on the subject as they happen to come along. The beauty of this is I can edit the email as needed then cut an paste to create a complete piece. Less expensive also.

    Liked by 1 person

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