take note

The problem with flashes of inspiration is that, like lightning, they’re exciting, but too often and quickly forgotten.
~ bobbi

We’ve all been there, I’m sure.

You have a brilliant idea, remember something to add to the shopping list or think you should really book your car in for a service. You’ve just worked out how to get your hero from point A to point B whilst avoiding the giant snapping jaws of doom. A new idea for a blogpost presents itself. Sparks of inspiration.

You’ll remember it later, of course, because right now you’re at work or out shopping or just about to fall asleep.

People will say ‘oh, keep a pen and paper by your bed’ or (usually with a slightly smug air) ‘I always carry a notebook with me.’

As if that’s helpful. If I keep a pen and paper by my bed I’ll come to it days later to find that my daughter has discovered it and now it’s full of elaborate drawings of pandas or lists of people I’ve never heard of with slightly ominous ticks against their names. Usually in a rainbow of colours, and smattered with stickers.

Same with carrying a notebook. I’ll carry one with me for a while but inevitably I’ll need to put it down for some reason, immediately forget to pick it up again and well, that’s the end of that. I’ve got half a dozen perfectly lovely notebooks (mmm, Moleskine) and a selection of pens and pencils, but they get put down, they get forgotten, they get claimed by my darling daughter and filled with her joyous scribbles.

Just use your phone, I hear you cry.

Well, yes. I do, sometimes.

I’ve tried all sorts of note-taking apps – Evernote, Springpad, Google Keep, the list is ever-growing and never-ending. But I find writing on my phone slightly awkward – even with a great keyboard such as Swiftkey you’ve still got to actually fire up the phone, find the app, open it, transcribe your epiphany and save it.

That said, I find Google Keep really is pretty good – you can snap a photo with the phone camera, tag it and set a reminder. Useful stuff. But for capturing story ideas and plot snippets? Not so much.

So, dear reader. I’m throwing it over to you.

How do you keep track of your notes and ideas? Do you use your phone? A notebook and pen? Carve symbols into the walls?

Tell me your secrets. I’ll make notes, just as soon as I can find that pencil…

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