I have four separate notebooks keeping story ideas. One of them I’ve had for years, since before I decided that I would pursue writing as a career.
If you’re a writer, you probably have a few notebooks of your own. You know, the ones you jump out of the shower and run to write a short character sketch or plot point in.
Is “double agent” scribbled in the margin? Oh, yes, it is. This random stroke of genius is still awaiting a first draft.
The other three notebooks with unintelligible scribbling I began after I decided that yes, I am going to write these for real!
What Do You Do if Your Notebook Isn’t There?
Is a baby asleep on your chest? Are you in a different country? Whatever the reason you don’t have your notebook, if you’re like me you have your phone.
My favorite way of using my phone as a secondary notebook is screenshots:
Credit to Harold Schechter. This screenshot comes from his ebook version of Hell’s Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men. I highly recommend it.
I’ve done the same with Wikipedia pages and other websites:
See how I highlighted the acronym I’d been looking for before I took the screenshot? This is Wikipedia’s Iris Recognition page. Wikipedia is a great starting point for research.
I choose not to crop the pictures, preferring to have context. I have learned to highlight or underline so that I am not puzzled later.
Organize Your Phone Notebook
Unlike my paper notebooks, which are terrible wrecks of notes, I keep folders inside folders on my phone, and save the screenshots or pictures there.
In many ways, my phone notebook is preferable. I like to type up a description of something or someone, then take a picture, too.
A little cafe inside a local pharmacy. I saved it with a filter, as well, so I could remember the state of mind I was in when I thought, “Hey, this looks like that place I’m trying to flesh out!”
You get the idea. Now you have zero excuses for forgetting little inspirations!
Do you have surreptitious photos of interesting strangers and places on your phone? Put your weirdest in the comments!