Ideas galore: how to get through the flow.

There’s an easy way to file away ideas and thoughts. It’s not by filing ideas and thoughts for different genres into different notebooks, but simply keeping a notebook for everything that comes to mind.

I’d been doing it the other way, though, but realized the put everything in one place approach is better.

I’ve been keeping my Bible reading notes in one exercise book. This was for the purpose of jotting the ideas I get from reading the Bible which could become devotions, meditations and reflections.

When other ideas came to mind, say a story idea that jumped into my head, I had to find a different notebook, or piece of paper, to jot the idea down.

But it would be quicker just writing the idea in my devotional notebook because that was handy. I don’t like mixing various ideas around in a notebook intended for one thing, though.

It makes much better sense to include everything in one notebook, doesn’t it?

So, all one has to do is headline each notebook entry for what kind of idea it is: be it devotional, story, article, poem, etc.

And if one is the run, one may keep a recorder, or something like it, for easy recording when ideas come to mind. Keep the ideas in one place on the recorder and indicate what each idea is, whether story, article, poem, etc.

Much better. All in one place and headlined for easy reference. All one needs now is a good notebook and/or a digital recorder. Digital recorders hold more information so spending on one is probably cheaper in the long run than buying notebook after notebook. May be just invest in a simple digital recorder for notetaking, if one likes, or if that’s easier when on the run. Or write it down, if that’s preferable.

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A useful word among the useless ones

There are one or two useful things that came my way, but that does not mean the sender of such advice has got it together. I reckon there’s quite a few chinks there, but there’s that one piece of God-send that is going to be useful. So, it can help–in writing, and anything else where the cap fits.

A little mystery is good

Is it good to tell others everything about your writing? Sometimes, it’s not. One may face people who wish they could get your job. Why stoke their flames by saying you’re doing this and that?

Otherwise, one may select what one tells others.

It’s a good thing to remember the proverb of concealing what one knows. Not only in terms of facts and subjects, but in what one does with their time and how this applies to writing.

A little mystery where appropriate can give a colour to your profile, whereas saying everything you know lacks discretion.

“A seething mass of anxiety” as they say

Waiting can be excruciating, but waiting is not just standing there, doing nothing, thinking nothing, feeling nothing.

When we feel something negative as we wait, that can make waiting worse. When we don’t care, that can make waiting better.

Actually, anticipation is the crux of waiting, for good or ill. We don’t wait emptily. We are a seething mass of anxiety while we wait. Or we don’t care. Better to not care, if possible.

This is like waiting in the writing game.

Writing regularly

One of the rules of the writing life is to keep on writing.

One reason for this is as follows. If the writer submitted only one piece, say, every two or three months, then there is a lot of waiting involved, to find out if your piece is accepted.

But submitting regularly means there are more pieces being considered, so less time waiting to hear back. You should hear back at a more regular pace.

At least in theory, because sometimes there can be huge waiting times.

 

Writing it down and weighing it up

If you want to write anything for publication or pleasure may as well get yourself a notebook or exercise book depending on how mobile you are during the day.

Using a notebook, Dictaphone, or mobile phone somehow, may be good for people on the move. For writer’s in one place most of the time, all of those ways are good, but a writer in one place may use an exercise book effectively.

The idea is to write, jot, or note down what comes to mind, your inspirations, your thoughts, that may become stories, poems, articles, and so on.

But not every idea is worth its weight in gold.

When I’m in a critical frame of mind, there are ideas I see in my external environment, or whatever ideas I’m engaging with, that I may dismiss.

But if I reviewed the product I would give it a chance. At the end of engaging a product I may ask if the idea stacked up.

Even asking that question is slanted on the negative. If one has to ask it, what does that say about the product?

The lesson of that is some ideas are always going to be poor and some are going to be good.

Opportunity knocks

When I did a writing course, the tutor said to the class to ask the publisher for writer’s guidelines before one sent them a story. Don’t write the story and send it without reading the guidelines first, in other words. So, that’s what I did this week.

There are no online guidelines to access with the publisher I am interested in writing for so I sent them an email. An editor came back to me by email a few days later with some positive feedback. He would be interested in seeing some samples of my devotional writing. Opportunity knocks.

Looking closer

On the writing journey, there is at least one thing a writer can do to improve their work. It is to look closer at how they are putting something. Instinct to write is compelling, and then excitedly submit the work. The piece sounds okay or good, but look closer. Thinking twice can improve the piece no ends. Looking for ways to make the piece more interesting and compelling.

A time to cast away

A few months ago I wrote several devotions. They were intended for a publication I had in mind. After I wrote them, I waited. One may wait. How the writing sounds one moment may sound completely different two months later. Which means in two or three months (or a matter of weeks in other cases) that writing may be taken to the cleaners or it’s perfect as it is.

A good thing about waiting is that one can see the writing with fresh eyes later on. I hadn’t rushed ahead and submitted the writing straight away. And I realized, after letting the writing “marinate” for months later, that these devotions should be cast aside, put almost in the recycle bin, but not quite, because that would be disrespectful. So, I placed the devotions in another folder, to never see the light of day again.