"If a story is in you, it has got to come out."
"If a story is in you, it has got to come out."
5 Tools to Help Fill Your Creative Well
Many years ago, when I first started thinking that writing was something that I wanted to do, I came across from some highly reputable author that basically said, writing ideas down is crap, anything work keeping will come to you when you need it. So, I glanced over at my six or seven half-filled notebooks that I had used to log ideas, dreams, scraps of information that I though were intriguing, and I felt ashamed. Maybe this wasn't the right path for me. Maybe I was nothing but a wannabe because I felt I needed to write those things down. And so, for many years, that mindset really affected my process and made me feel inferior.
But not any more!
Just the other day, I was listening to an author speak and she talked about filling up your "creative well." Finally! Here was someone who was discussing the very thing I was telling myself not to do! It was a revelation. I didn't feel like I needed to hide my notes in the shadows any more, and I felt justified in taking notes on my phones or taking pictures of beautiful things I'd love to write about. It was great. I decided that it was time for me to finally come to terms with my need to do this and I wanted to create this post with a few ways that I have come across in order to fill my own "well." Below are five different methods I use to note story ideas or scraps that I want to be able to save for later.
(That being said, it is not reasonable to believe that most or any of the things that you save are things that you will actually use. The whole point of filling the well is to create a starting point for your ideas and to gather information that you find important, so that when the muse is absent, maybe you can dip your bucket into the well you've created on your own. All of the tools listed below are simply places that you can record your fleeting moments of genius so that you can refer to them later.)
2. Notes on your phone
Whether you're an Android or Apple user, your phone should come stock with some sort of note taking app. This is a nice way to take notes on the go, because most people always have their phones with them. Also, it can be a great way for you to snap a photo of something on the go and save it with a quick note to elaborate later. What is also convenient is your ability to create lists, use voice recordings to type in notes, and share notes with others.
3. Note Taking apps
If you're just not satisfied with your phone note app, you can use a variety of after market apps to keep your creative notes organized. Apps like Dropbox, Evernote, OneNote, and Google Drive are great, cloud-based (it saves your notes online) apps that allow you to take notes, including pictures and articles, and then save them to your account. The great thing about these apps? You can access them anywhere you can get internet, so on your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. This way, you can access them whenever you need to, anywhere you need to.
The pictures below are from a couple of these apps (right-OneNote; left- Evernote).
I've personally used both and loved OneNote because it is basically a digital notebook, so I create the tabs, the pages, can add charts, pictures, links, etc. wherever I want. And the best part: no saving! Everything is automatically saved for me and I can open up notes I took at work or on the go on my PC at home. I actually used OneNote for my NaNoWriMo work last year because it was so easy to keep chapters organized and move them around when I wanted to.
The only downside is that some of them charge money for extra storage, so make sure to do your research before falling in love with one.
Pinterest is a great way to "pin" all sorts of things. I use it all the time and have a private board that is dedicated just to story kernels-or the things that I see or read that make stories start to form in my head. Why private? Because I have family members, friends, and colleagues who follow my boards and the last thing I need for them to see is me pinning how to shoot people and not kill them or why, after being married for five years, I'm pinning wedding dresses or such. It's a great way to avoid uncomfortable and odd questions regarding my life choices.
The cool thing about Pinterest is what I like to call the "rabbit hole" effect. When you see a pin that you like, you can scroll down to see similar items, which can lead to more similar items, and then more similar items, until you're not really sure at how you ended up looking at words to describe different types of drugs on the streets, but you pin it anyways, just in case you make a character a junkie or something.
Again, since it is technology, it is easy to access from multiple places, and no need to save! Oh and it's completely free!