WHERE DO YOU PUT AN IDEA?
Writing is all about ideas—developing them (which may take years or decades) and then transferring them into written words (the really tricky part). Overall, the emergence and development of ideas is rarely a smooth process.
Ideas, especially when they emerge, are rarely fully formed—and have absolutely no discipline. They also have the disconcerting habit of vanishing before they can be corralled—or of evolving subtlety so that you retain some of the concept, but the part that made the idea special has been lost.
There are rare exceptions to this, of course—sometimes ideas emerge fully formed and are obligingly tractable—but most ideas are fragments of a greater whole (whose totality is probably unclear) and are not well behaved. In fact they can be downright squirrelly.
From a writer’s point of view, the questions are what to do with ideas while they gestate—and how to find them again. The latter is crucial. Filing is vastly easier than finding.
Personally, I now keep all my electronic clippings and notes in Evernote—an excellent program in many ways though I still prefer askSam’s search mechanism. As for the fragments that often evolve into ideas, I have decided to restart my journal despite years of failure trying to maintain one.
Wish me luck!
PHOTO: It’s my belief that one way or another, hybrid electric and electric aircraft are coming. The photo is of one of the pioneers, the eSpyder—and it is entirely electric.