© 2015 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
From the first article of this series, on The Effective Author, I have been urging you to take notes. Notes are the lifeblood of your writing! So in what form have you been taking them? Did you email yourself, scribble on a napkin, or just hope you would remember? It’s time to harness the chaos and creative power of your notes.
A famous psychiatrist once said that he wrote an entire book based on what he called “napkin notes”. He said, for a year, every time he had an idea for his book, he would pen it on any nearby piece of paper. When he got home, he would empty his pockets and dump all the notes in a drawer. At the end of the ear, he duped the drawer and organized the notes into a book.
Notes on paper are still a wonderful way to take and keep notes, for some people. Especially if you like to sketch out the order or relationships of concepts. However, paper notes can get spilled on, they can blow off your table or desk, and they can easily get lost. Although you may like one single bound notebook.
John Varvatos said this:
A part of my kind of design and inspiration ethos is that I carry around a leather notebook and I sketch in it, doodle in it, write notes in it, and I put pictures in it.
If you are with Varvatos, by all means keep your system. But remember, he has to manually insert the pictures and any clippings he will refer to. Then he has to keyboard into the computer any text he wants to use in a document, then scan the pictures. What a mess.
Paper notes are really hard to put in order, unless you date them and always write on the identical type and size of flat paper. I used to have napkin notes, like the psychiatrist, and I relied on any of a dozen little spiral notepads, a few types of post-it pads, and quarter-sheets of printer paper.
Gradually, I got rid of every other size of paper, for notes, and started using only the printer scrap, cut in quarters with a paper cutter. However, I still had notes on meditation, on car mileage, on Things to Do, and on various articles and books. On the fly, when I had ideas on any of these, it wasn’t practical to keep the mileage records on blue paper, the book notes on pink, and meditation notes on purple. So I was drowning in quarter sheets of paper. At least I dated almost every little piece.
For a while, I started emailing myself from my phone to my laptop, with important information, books needed, dates of events, and so on. That was helpful. But then, how to retrieve them so they can actually be used? This has been my biggest challenge as a writer: notes are either organized or useless. NEXT TIME we cover my latest solution, which has saved my notes collection, my time, and my sanity. Until next time, start gathering all your notes in a central place, and get rid of all the odd-sized notepads. I want you to be a completely Effective Author! Questions?
- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert and award-winning author. She also is an ordained minister and has a natural healing practice. Among her books are: Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br),and Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition(http://tinyurl.com/mqg3uvc ). Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com.